Multi-level Cultural Models

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Joseph, K., Morgan, G. P., Martin, M. K., & Carley, K. M. (2014). On the Coevolution of Stereotype, Culture, and Social Relationships An Agent-Based Model. Social Science Computer Review, 32(3), 295-311. doi:10.1177/0894439313511388

The theory of Constructuralism describes how shared knowledge, representative of cultural forms, develops between individuals through social interaction. Constructuralism argues that through interaction and individual learning, the social network (who interacts with whom) and the knowledge network (who knows what) co-evolve. In the present work, we extend the theory of Constructuralism and implement this extension in an agent-based model. Our work focuses on the theorys inability to describe how people form and utilize stereotypes of higher order social structures, in particular observable social groups and society as a whole. In our agent-based model, we formalize this theoretical extension by creating agents that construct, adapt and utilize social stereotypes of individuals, social groups and society. We then use this model to carry out a virtual experiment which explores how ethnocentric stereotypes and the underlying distribution of culture in an artificial society interact to produce varying levels of social relationships across social groups. In general, we find that neither stereotypes nor the form of underlying cultural structures alone are sufficient to explain the extent of social relationships across social groups. Rather, we provide evidence that shared culture, social relations and group stereotypes all intermingle to produce macro-social structure.