New JoM paper

Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 08:30:12 GMT

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    Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 08:19:35 GMT+00:00
    Subject: New JoM paper
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    The Spread of Irrational Behaviours by Contagion:
    An Agent Micro-Simulation

    Derek Gatherer

           1 - Introduction
           2 - Methods
           3 - Results
                  3.1 - Simulation 1 - Highly contagious irrational behaviour in a highly susceptible population.
                  3.2 - Simulation 2 - Contagious irrational behaviour with poorer replication rates.
                  3.3 - Simulation 3 - Contagious irrational behaviour with possibility of loss of irrational behaviour.
                  3.4 - Simulation 4 - Making contagion dependent on the outcome of an event
                  3.5 - Simulation 5 - Introducing the `self-fulfilling prophecy'
                  3.6 - Simulation 6 - Introducing rational behaviour
                  3.7 - Simulation 7 - Giving agents the benefit of experience
                  3.8 - Simulation 8 - Removing successful pairs
                  3.9 - Simulation 9 - Removing successful pairs from a population with memory
                  3.10 - Simulation 10 - Introducing a communal cultural information pool influencing conversion decisions
                  3.11 - Simulation 11- Cultural information pool with replacement of successful pairs.
           4 - Discussion


           A micro-simulation is described, for rational and
    irrational strategies in human mating behaviour. The spread
    of irrational behaviour through a population from a
    single initial individual, the `contagionist paradigm', is
    shown to be highly unlikely in most realistic circumstances.
    An exception to this rule is shown to be where
    the `self-fulfilling prophecy' phenomenon is exhibited, i.e.. the irrational meme affects the outcome of the mating. Additionally, where the irrational strategy, under
    conditions of self-fulfilling prophecy, is allowed to co-exist with a rational strategy (i.e.. a strategy based on factual information), both can proceed to fixation,
    resulting in a population of individuals exhibiting both rational and irrational memes simultaneously. However, where successful pairs are removed from the
    population, there is a tendency for neither behaviour to persist. Maintenance of either behaviour in the population under circumstances of removal of successful
    pairs requires a cultural information system, i.e.. one where a common pool of information may be accessed without a requirement for contagion. This implies that
    contagionist explanations of culture may be strictly limited in their application. Some attempt is then made to generalise the conclusions to financial systems.

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