Social homophily is the tendency of individuals to interact with similar others or build relationships and bonds. Similarity may relate to characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or level of education. In summary, the phenomenon is often associated with the motto " Equal and a feather flock together. "
Paul F. Lazarsfeld categorized the dimensions of homophily in status homophily and value homophily. Status homophily describes relatively stable and rather obvious characteristics or dimensions such as ethnicity, gender, age or social class. Value homophily other hand, refers to modifiable and less obvious dimensions such as attitudes, beliefs and desires.
Another important categorization for measuring homophily was introduced by McPherson. They differ between baseline homophily and inbreeding homophily -. Baseline homophily is a measure of the similarity of a group that is expected by chance without the help of the members of the group. A classic example is the homogeneous age distribution of school children in a class. The Inbreeding - homophilia is a measure that describes how large the similarity of groups is in excess of the expected random similarity.
Pros and Cons
The formation of homophilic groups leads to a facilitated communication within the group, as well as facilitated coordination of actions and activities. At the same time, however, the occurrence of adverse group processes such as group thinking is promoted and there is a selective gain of information.
Social homophily in the network research
Currently the concept of homophily gains, especially in the network research importance. Perceived similarity affects the perceived attractiveness and the resulting similarity selection leads to the formation of homophilic network pattern.