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Homophily (from Ancient Greek ὁμός (homós) 'same, common', and φιλία (philía) 'friendship, love') is a concept in sociology describing the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others, as in the proverb "birds of a feather flock together". The presence of homophily has been discovered in a vast array of network studies: over 100 studies have observed homophily in some form or another, and they establish that similarity is associated with connection. The categories on which homophily occurs include age, gender, class, and organizational role.
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The opposite of homophily is heterophily or intermingling. Individuals in homophilic relationships share common characteristics (beliefs, values, education, etc.) that make communication and relationship formation easier. Homophily between mated pairs in animals has been extensively studied in the field of evolutionary biology, where it is known as assortative mating. Homophily between mated pairs is common within natural animal mating populations.
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