Navigation Links
Cell Phone Study Suggests People Are Losing Their Wanderlust
Date:6/4/2008

Many spend most of their time going to a few key locations, such as work and home

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Using cell phone records to track movement, a new study suggests that people are creatures of habit, spending most of their time going to -- and remaining at -- a few key locations, such as work and home.

The researchers said their novel approach to analyzing human mobility appears to be more accurate, easier, and cheaper than prior efforts based on tracking, for example, the movement of money. And, they added, the cell phone model could prove helpful to epidemiologists seeking to improve planning for emergency responses to natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

"Mobility patterns are very important to quantify, because they affect everything from epidemic forecasting to urban road planning," said study lead author Marta C. Gonzalez, a professor at Northeastern University's Center for Complex Network Research. "But despite a big interest, there's been a lack of data, because it's very hard to track movement."

Gonzalez and her colleagues published their findings in the June 5 issue of the journal Nature.

They said their observation of repetitive and controlled mobility departs somewhat from a traditional paradigm regarding more random animal movement, known as the "Levy flight" pattern. This model was based on typical food searching behavior, which mostly consisted of non-repetitive, short-distance foraging, interspersed with the occasional longer trip.

For the study, the researchers analyzed cell phone transmitter tower logs, which track mobility within a defined tower zone. The average tower zone was about two square miles, although more than 30 percent of the zones covered an area of less than one square mile.

Information was collected on the movements of approximately 100,000 randomly selected people over a six-month period.

Gonzalez and her team found that most mobile phone users traveled only short distances, although a few consistently moved across distances of hundreds of miles. Also, regardless of whether a person routinely traveled to just five locations or 50, most devoted about 70 percent of their time to just two repeatedly visited destinations.

"Because we only have information as to tower zones, we can't say for certain exactly which location people are going to," Gonzalez said. "But we assume, of course, that the two preferred locations are a person's place of work and their home."

Karen L. Kramer, an associate professor at Harvard University's department of biological anthropology, said that, despite the study's findings that people today are creatures of habit, flexibility in movement has always been central to human mobility and, in turn, human survival.

"As humans, we have always monitored our changing resources and moved about accordingly," she said. "Humans are really good at this, and the ability to do this well -- to adapt our movements to a changing environment -- is really critical to the human success story, because mobility serves as a means to gather vital information about the world. It's our security net."

She acknowledged, however, that as modern "hunter-gatherers" have abandoned the daily tracking of watering holes and food sources, gathering points may have become more localized and reliable.

"If we're living in a city, we go to a job so we can get money to buy food, and then, we go to the store to buy the food, and then, we bring the food home to eat," she said. "So, we're still, essentially, hunters and gatherers. But, of course, if the resources are concentrated, then mobility will be as well."

More information

To learn more about human mobility, visit The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.



SOURCES: Marta C. Gonzalez, Ph.D., department of physics and Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University, Boston; Karen L. Kramer, Ph.D., associate professor, department biological anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; June 5, 2008, Nature


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Slowed Brain-Activity in Frequent Mobile Phone Users
2. New report on mobile phone research published
3. ReCellular Named Exclusive Cell Phone Recycling Partner for Consumer Cellular
4. Hospitals Say New Cordless Phone Helps Communication With Patients Who Speak Diverse Languages
5. PhoneTree Announces New Patient Messaging Product and Pricing Options
6. Sentry Telecare Establishes Partnering Program to Market Telephone Check-in and Personal Emergency Response Service
7. Blue Cross Stop Smoking Phone Coaching Enrollments Jumped in October
8. Cell Phones Put Traffic on Hold
9. Report Urges More Research Into Cell Phones
10. Telephone Nursing an Important Component of Managed Healthcare
11. VIDEO from Medialink and Siemens: Doctors Trade in their Stethoscopes for Microphones
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl ... this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in ... like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile coaching services ... by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise Agile Transformation ... Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS programs. Coveros ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States and the loss of ... William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have six children, ten grandchildren, ... Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and carrier pilot, he spent ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 ... characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... products to meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From ... probiotic experts and tested to meet the highest standard. , These products ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the ... by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC ... brand, which included the unveiling of new signage at ... as well as at a few other company-owned facilities ... brand to patients, some of whom will begin to ...
(Date:9/27/2017)...  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, SMP Pharmacy ... one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies, ... list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  To ... soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 Power Leader ... to receive his award in October, Bardisa said of the ...
(Date:9/22/2017)...  As the latest Obamacare repeal effort moves is ... (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) medical device ... industry is in an odd place.  The industry wants ... tax on medical device sales passed along with the ... increased visits and hospital customers with the funding to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: