Computational Model Library

Substitution of food products will be key to realising widespread adoption of sustainable diets. We present an agent-based model of decision-making and influences on food choice, and apply it to historically observed trends of British whole and skimmed (including semi) milk consumption from 1974 to 2005. We aim to give a plausible representation of milk choice substitution, and test different mechanisms of choice consideration. Agents are consumers that perceive information regarding the two milk choices, and hold values that inform their position on the health and environmental impact of those choices. Habit, social influence and post-decision evaluation are modelled. Representative survey data on human values and long-running public concerns empirically inform the model. An experiment was run to compare two model variants by how they perform in reproducing these trends. This was measured by recording mean weekly milk consumption per person. The variants differed in how agents became disposed to consider alternative milk choices. One followed a threshold approach, the other was probability based. All other model aspects remained unchanged. An optimisation exercise via an evolutionary algorithm was used to calibrate the model variants independently to observed data. Following calibration, uncertainty and global variance-based temporal sensitivity analysis were conducted. Both model variants were able to reproduce the general pattern of historical milk consumption, however, the probability-based approach gave a closer fit to the observed data, but over a wider range of uncertainty. This responds to, and further highlights, the need for research that looks at, and compares, different models of human decision-making in agent-based and simulation models. This study is the first to present an agent-based modelling of food choice substitution in the context of British milk consumption. It can serve as a valuable pre-curser to the modelling of dietary shift and sustainable product substitution to plant-based alternatives in Britain.

We study cultural dissemination in the context of an Axelrod-like agent-based model describing the spread of cultural traits across a society, with an added element of social influence. This modification produces absorbing states exhibiting greater variation in number and size of distinct cultural regions compared to the original Axelrod model, and we identify the mechanism responsible for this amplification in heterogeneity. We develop several new metrics to quantitatively characterize the heterogeneity and geometric qualities of these absorbing states. Additionally, we examine the dynamical approach to absorbing states in both our Social Influence Model as well as the Axelrod Model, which not only yields interesting insights into the differences in behavior of the two models over time, but also provides a more comprehensive view into the behavior of Axelrod’s original model. The quantitative metrics introduced in this paper have broad potential applicability across a large variety of agent-based cultural dissemination models.

The simulation is a variant of the “ToRealSim OD variants - base v2.7” base model, which is based on the standard DW opinion dynamics model (but with the differences that rather than one agent per tick randomly influencing another, all agents randomly influence one other per tick - this seems to make no difference to the outcomes other than to scale simulation time). Influence can be made one-way by turning off the two-way? switch

Various additional variations and sources of noise are possible to test robustness of outcomes to these (compared to DW model).
In this version agent opinions change following the empirical data collected in some experiments (Takács et al 2016).

Such an algorithm leaves no role for the uncertainties in other OD models. [Indeed the data from (Takács et al 2016) indicates that there can be influence even when opinion differences are large - which violates a core assumption of these]. However to allow better comparison with other such models there is a with-un? switch which allows uncertainties to come into play. If this is on, then influence (according to above algorithm) is only calculated if the opinion difference is less than the uncertainty. If an agent is influenced uncertainties are modified in the same way as standard DW models.

In this agent-based model, agents decide to adopt a new product according to a utility function that depends on two kinds of social influences. First, there is a local influence exerted on an agent by her closest neighbors that have already adopted, and also by herself if she feels the product suits her personal needs. Second, there is a global influence which leads agents to adopt when they become aware of emerging trends happening in the system. For this, we endow agents with a reflexive capacity that allows them to recognize a trend, even if they can not perceive a significant change in their neighborhood.

Results reveal the appearance of slowdown periods along the adoption rate curve, in contrast with the classic stylized bell-shaped behavior. Results also show that network structure plays an important role in the effect of reflexivity: while some structures (e.g., scale-free networks) may amplify it, others (e.g., small-world structure) weaken such an effect.

The current rate of production and consumption of meat poses a problem both to peoples’ health and to the environment. This work aims to develop a simulation of peoples’ meat consumption behaviour in Britain using agent-based modelling. The agents represent individual consumers. The key variables that characterise agents include sex, age, monthly income, perception of the living cost, and concerns about the impact of meat on the environment, health, and animal welfare. A process of peer influence is modelled with respect to the agents’ concerns. Influence spreads across two eating networks (i.e. co-workers and household members) depending on the time of day, day of the week, and agents’ employment status. Data from a representative sample of British consumers is used to empirically ground the model. Different experiments are run simulating interventions of application of social marketing campaigns and a rise in price of meat. The main outcome is the average weekly consumption of meat per consumer. A secondary outcome is the likelihood of eating meat.

Nudging agents in social networks for collective action

Marco Janssen | Published Sun Aug 14 15:38:44 2011 | Last modified Sun Mar 17 01:53:00 2019

Agents are linked in a social-network and make decisions on which of 2 types of behavior to adopt. We explore consequences of different information feedback and providing targeted feedback to individuals.

CONSERVAT

Pieter Van Oel | Published Mon Apr 13 12:23:50 2015

The CONSERVAT model evaluates the effect of social influence among farmers in the Lake Naivasha basin (Kenya) on the spatiotemporal diffusion pattern of soil conservation effort levels and the resulting reduction in lake sedimentation.

The model formalizes a situation where agents embedded in different types of networks (random, small world and scale free networks) interact with their neighbors and express an opinion that is the result of different mechanisms: a coherence mechanism, in which agents try to stick to their previously expressed opinions; an assessment mechanism, in which agents consider available external information on the topic; and a social influence mechanism, in which agents tend to approach their neighbor’s opinions.

We expose RA agent-based model of the opinion and tolerance dynamics in artificial societies. The formal mathematical model is based on the ideas of Social Influence, Social Judgment, and Social Identity theories.

Multistate modeling extended by behavioral rules

Anna Klabunde Sabine Zinn Frans Willekens Matthias Leuchter | Published Wed Aug 3 20:19:13 2016 | Last modified Tue Mar 13 08:44:24 2018

Toolkit to specify demographic multistate model with a behavioural element linking intentions to behaviour

This website uses cookies and Google Analytics to help us track user engagement and improve our site. If you'd like to know more information about what data we collect and why, please see our data privacy policy. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.