By Tomas, 7 years and 6 months ago

Introducing the idea of cultural coherence to Axelrod's model of cultural dissemination

ICS, Groningen University, 2010

In the following project report, an extension to Axelrod's (1997) model of cultural dissemination is presented. Axelrod's model showed how processes of local cultural convergence need not lead to global convergence, indeed can lead to the exact opposite: stable global cultural polarization. A coherence-bias - the idea that certain configurations of culture are inherently more likely than others - will be argued for, its implementation be described and changes of model outcomes due to the modification will be reported and discussed. Briefly stated, there are two main reasons for this modification that will be explicated in more detail below: First, the idea underlying our coherence-bias captures important aspects of different cultural and cognitive theories. Furthermore, the modification also makes the original Axelrod-results - local convergence and global polarization - more robust to the introduction of randomness: While introducing any amount of random interaction or mutation to the original Axelrod model always resulted in global cultural convergence (San Miguel et al. 2005) we show that by introducing a coherence bias assumptions on the absence of random interactions need not be made to produce Axelrod's 'basic result'.

The paper is structured as follows: First, Axelrod's model and existing extensions will be shortly introduced, as this work is our starting point. Second, the rationale underlying the coherence-bias will be presented, followed, third, by a description of its implementation. Fourth, the hypotheses, experimental conditions (parameter space explored) and measurements will be described, before - fifth - the results will be presented and - sixth - discussed.

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