An Agent-Based Model of Status Construction in Task Focused Groups

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Status beliefs link social distinctions, such as gender and race, to assumptions about competence and social worth. Recent modeling work in status construction theory suggests that interactions in small, task focused groups can lead to the spontaneous emergence and diffusion of such beliefs in larger populations. This earlier work has focused on dyads as the smallest possible groups in which status beliefs might emerge from face-to-face interaction. In today's societies, however, many task focused interactions take place in groups larger than dyads. In this article, we therefore develop an agent-based computational model that enables us to study the emergence of status beliefs in groups larger than dyads. With this model, we address questions such as: Do basic principles of task focused interaction systematically favor the emergence of status beliefs in groups larger than dyads? Does the time-frame over which small groups interact affect the likelihood with which status beliefs emerge? How does group size affect the emergence of status beliefs? Computational experimentation with the new model suggests that behavioral principles known to spontaneously create hierarchical differentiation between individual group members also tend to align these hierarchies with categorical differences and thereby facilitate the emergence of status beliefs. This tendency is stronger in smaller groups, and in groups that interact either for a very short or very long time.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer4
Aantal pagina's18
TijdschriftJournal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
Volume18
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
DOI's
StatusPublished - 31-mrt-2015

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