Contrasting social and non-social sources of predictability in human mobility

Zexun Chen, Sean Kelty, Alexandre G. Evsukoff, Brooke Foucault Welles, James Bagrow, Ronaldo Menezes*, Gourab Ghoshal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Social structures influence human behavior, including their movement patterns. Indeed, latent information about an individual’s movement can be present in the mobility patterns of both acquaintances and strangers. We develop a “colocation” network to distinguish the mobility patterns of an ego’s social ties from those not socially connected to the ego but who arrive at a location at a similar time as the ego. Using entropic measures, we analyze and bound the predictive information of an individual’s mobility pattern and its flow to both types of ties. While the former generically provide more information, replacing up to 94% of an ego’s predictability, significant information is also present in the aggregation of unknown colocators, that contain up to 85% of an ego’s predictive information. Such information flow raises privacy concerns: individuals sharing data via mobile applications may be providing actionable information on themselves as well as others whose data are absent.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1922
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date8 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Contrasting social and non-social sources of predictability in human mobility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this