Social balance in signed networks

Xiaolong Zheng, Daniel Zeng, Fei Yue Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The theory of social balance, also called structural balance, is first proposed by Heider in 1940s, which is utilized to describe the potential social dynamics process. This theory is of great importance in sociology, computer science, psychology and other disciplines where social systems can be represented as signed networks. The social balance problem is hard but very interesting. It has attracted many researchers from various fields working on it over the past few years. Many significant theories and approaches have been developed and now exhibit tremendous potential for future applications. A comprehensive review of these existing studies can provide us significant insights into understanding the dynamic patterns of social systems. Yet to our investigation, existing studies have not done this, especially from a dynamical perspective. In this paper, we make an attempt towards conducting a brief survey of these scientific activities on social balance. Our efforts aim to review what has been done so far in this evolving area. We firstly introduce the fundamental concepts and significant properties of social balance. Then we summarize the existing balance measures and present detecting/partitioning algorithms, as well as important empirical investigations in both physical world and cyberspace. We next mainly focus on describing and comparing the fundamental mechanisms of the dynamics models. Several existing problems not yet satisfactorily solved in this area are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1095
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 24 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamics model
  • Empirical study
  • Signed networks
  • Social balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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