Thursday, March 26, 2015

Collective Behavior of In-group Favoritism

We just had a paper accepted in Advances in Complex Systems entitled "The Effect of In-group Favoritism on the Collective Behavior of Individuals' Opinions." In the paper we develop and an agent-based model to explore how individuals interact and how more  collective behaviors emerge (e.g. reaching a consensus or the spreading of opinions). The abstract of the paper is as follows:

Empirical findings from social psychology show that sometimes people show favoritism toward in-group members in order to reach a global consensus, even against individuals' own preferences (e.g., altruistically or deontically). Here we integrate ideas and findings on in-group favoritism, opinion dynamics, and radicalization using an agent-based model entitled cooperative bounded confidence (CBC). We investigate the interplay of homophily, rejection, and in-group cooperation drivers on the formation of opinion clusters and the emergence of extremist, radical opinions. Our model is the first to explicitly explore the effect of in-group favoritism on the macro-level, collective behavior of opinions. We compare our model against the two-dimentional bounded confidence model with rejection mechanism, proposed by Huet et al. (2008), and find that the number of opinion clusters and extremists is reduced in our model. Moreover, results show that group influence can never dominate homophilous and rejecting encounters in the process of opinion cluster formation. We conclude by discussing implications of our model for research on collective behavior of opinions emerging from individuals' interaction. 
 Keywords: Opinion dynamics; in-group favoritism; homophily; radicalization; extremism.

Full reference:
Alizadeh, M., Cioffi-Revilla, C. and Crooks, A.T. (2015), The Effect of In-group Favoritism on the Collective Behavior of Individuals' Opinions, Advances in Complex Systems. DOI: 10.1142/S0219525915500022 (pdf)
The code for the model is available from here.

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