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Temporal motifs


Modern information and communication technologies provide digital traces of human interactive activities, which offer novel avenues to map and analyze temporal features of human interaction networks. This paper explores mesoscopic patterns of human interactive activities from six real-world interaction networks with temporal-topological isomorphic subgraphs, i.e., temporal motifs. We discover two dominant mutual motifs, “Star,” “Ordered-chain,” and one dominant directed motif, “Ping-Pong,” which characterize the interactive patterns of “Leader,” “Queue,” and “Feedback,” respectively. Moreover, temporal dynamics shows that bursts are universal in human mesoscopic patterns, and the evolution of three dominant temporal motifs indicates the existence of characteristic time. Finally, we analyze temporal robustness and generalization to verify that 3-event temporal motifs are a simple yet powerful tool to capture the mesoscopic patterns of human interactive activities.

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Fig 1. Temporal motif density evolution.

Fig 2. Static motif density.

Fig 3. Non-Poissonian statistics of bursts in the dominant 3-event temporal motifs.

Fig 4. Evolution of the dominant 3-event temporal motifs.

Fig 5. Temporal robustness.