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My research focuses on using generic social science in creating models of social reality, in particular self-organization of social systems.
Status-power dynamics on a playground, resulting in a status landscape with a gender status gap. Causal: individual (beauty, kindness, power), binary (rough-and-tumble; has-been-nice) or prior popularity (status). Cultural: acceptability of fighting.
This agent-based model investigates group longevity in a population in a foundational way, using theory on social relations and culture. It is the first application of the GRASP meta-model for social agents, containing elements of Groups, Rituals, Affiliation, Status, and Power. It can be considered an exercise in artificial sociality: a culture-general, content-free base-line trust model from which to engage in more specific studies. Depending on cultural settings for individualism and power distance, as well as settings for xenophobia and for the increase of trust over group life, the GRASP world model generates a variety of patters. Number of groups ranges from one to many, composition from random to segregated, and pattern genesis from rapid to many hundreds of time steps. This makes GRASP world an instrument that plausibly models some basic elements of social structure in different societies.
The agent-based model captures the spatio-temporal institutional dynamics of the economy over the years at the level of a Dutch province. After 1945, Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands has been subject to an active program of economic development through the stimulation of pig husbandry. This has had far-reaching effects on its economy, landscape, and environment. The agents are households. The simulation is at institutional level, with typical stakeholder groups, lobbies, and political parties playing a role in determining policies that in turn determine economic, spatial and ecological outcomes. It allows to experiment with alternative scenarios based on two political dimensions: local versus global issues, and economic versus social responsibilitypriorities. The model shows very strong sensitivity to political context. It can serve as a reference model for other cases where “artificial institutional economics” is attempted.
Studies of colonization processes in past human societies often use a standard population model in which population is represented as a single quantity. Real populations in these processes, however, are structured with internal classes or stages, and classes are sometimes created based on social differentiation. In this present work, information about the colonization of old Providence Island was used to create an agent-based model of the colonization process in a heterogeneous environment for a population with social differentiation. Agents were socially divided into two classes and modeled with dissimilar spatial clustering preferences. The model and simulations assessed the importance of gregarious behavior for colonization processes conducted in heterogeneous environments by socially-differentiated populations. Results suggest that in these conditions, the colonization process starts with an agent cluster in the largest and most suitable area. The spatial distribution of agents maintained a tendency toward randomness as simulation time increased, even when gregariousness values increased. The most conspicuous effects in agent clustering were produced by the initial conditions and behavioral adaptations that increased the agent capacity to access more resources and the likelihood of gregariousness. The approach presented here could be used to analyze past human colonization events or support long-term conceptual design of future human colonization processes with small social formations into unfamiliar and uninhabited environments.