The geometric modelling of social frames and contexts

Kitto, Kirsty, Boschetti, Fabio, & Bruza, Peter D. (2011) The geometric modelling of social frames and contexts. In 2011 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, 12 - 16 December 2011, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth, WA.

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How do humans respond to their social context? This question is becoming increasingly urgent in a society where democracy requires that the citizens of a country help to decide upon its policy directions, and yet those citizens frequently have very little knowledge of the complex issues that these policies seek to address. Frequently, we find that humans make their decisions more with reference to their social setting, than to the arguments of scientists, academics, and policy makers. It is broadly anticipated that the agent based modelling (ABM) of human behaviour will make it possible to treat such social effects, but we take the position here that a more sophisticated treatment of context will be required in many such models. While notions such as historical context (where the past history of an agent might affect its later actions) and situational context (where the agent will choose a different action in a different situation) abound in ABM scenarios, we will discuss a case of a potentially changing context, where social effects can have a strong influence upon the perceptions of a group of subjects. In particular, we shall discuss a recently reported case where a biased worm in an election debate led to significant distortions in the reports given by participants as to who won the debate (Davis et al 2011). Thus, participants in a different social context drew different conclusions about the perceived winner of the same debate, with associated significant differences among the two groups as to who they would vote for in the coming election. We extend this example to the problem of modelling the likely electoral responses of agents in the context of the climate change debate, and discuss the notion of interference between related questions that might be asked of an agent in a social simulation that was intended to simulate their likely responses. A modelling technology which could account for such strong social contextual effects would benefit regulatory bodies which need to navigate between multiple interests and concerns, and we shall present one viable avenue for constructing such a technology. A geometric approach will be presented, where the internal state of an agent is represented in a vector space, and their social context is naturally modelled as a set of basis states that are chosen with reference to the problem space.

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ID Code: 46543
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Funders: ARC
Keywords: context, agent based modelling, social psychology
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND IMAGE PROCESSING (080100) > Simulation and Modelling (080110)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Information Systems
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Inc.
Deposited On: 19 Oct 2011 22:36
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2014 08:45

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