Starting in the early 1940s, Nicolas Rashevsky, and subsequently in the late 1940s, Anatol Rapoport and others, developed a relational and probabilistic approach to the characterization of large social networks in which the nodes are persons and the links are acquaintanceship. During the late 1940s, formulas were derived that connected local parameters such as closure of contacts – if A is linked to both B and C, then there is a greater than chance probability that B and C are linked to each other – to the global network property of connectivity.
Moreover, acquaintanceship is a positive tie, but what about negative ties such as animosity among persons? To tackle this problem, graph theory, which is the mathematical study of abstract representations of networks of points and lines, can be extended to include these two types of links and thereby to create models that represent both positive and negative sentiment relations, which are represented as signed graphs. A signed graph is called balanced if the product of the signs of all relations in every cycle (links in every graph cycle) is positive. Through formalization by mathematician Frank Harary this work produced the fundamental theorem of this theory. It says that if a network of interrelated positive and negative ties is balanced, e.g. as illustrated by the psychological principle that "my friend's enemy is my enemy", then it consists of two subnetworks such that each has positive ties among its nodes and there are only negative ties between nodes in distinct subnetworks. The imagery here is of a social system that splits into two cliques. There is, however, a special case where one of the two subnetworks is empty, which might occur in very small networks.
In another model, ties have relative strengths. 'Acquaintanceship' can be viewed as a 'weak' tie and 'friendship' is represented as a strong tie. Like its uniform cousin discussed above, there is a concept of closure, called strong triadic closure. A graph satisfies strong triadic closure If A is strongly connected to B, and B is strongly connected to C, then A and C must have a tie (either weak or strong).
n these two developments we have mathematical models bearing upon the analysis of structure. Other early influential developments in mathematical sociology pertained to process. For instance, in 1952 Herbert A. Simon produced a mathematical formalization of a published theory of social groups by constructing a model consisting of a deterministic system of differential equations. A formal study of the system led to theorems about the dynamics and the implied equilibrium states of any group.
The emergence of mathematical models in the social sciences was part of the zeitgeist in the 1940s and 1950s in which a variety of new interdisciplinary scientific innovations occurred, such as information theory, game theory, cybernetics and mathematical model building in the social and behavioral sciences.