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Six degrees of separation is the hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries.
The hypothesis was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Karinthy Frigyes in a short story called Chains. The concept is based on the idea that the number of acquaintances grows exponentially with the number of links in the chain, and so only a small number of links is required for the set of acquaintances to become the whole human population.
Judith Kleinfeld, a professor psychology at Alaska Fairbanks University, went back to Milgram's original research notes and found something surprising.
It turned out, she told us, that 95% of the letters sent out had failed to reach the target.
Not only did they fail to get there in six steps, they failed to get there at all.
Milgram was a giant figure in his world of research, but here was evidence that the claim he was famously associated with was not supported by his experiments.
Six degrees of separation' may be the academic equivalent of an urban myth
Judith Kleinfeld, Psychologist
"I was shocked. I was horrified," she said.
And when she looked for other studies, none of those matched up to the claim either.
In the most recent, two years ago, only 3% of letters reached their target.