31 Aug 2012

New Paper Published: "Modelling Belief Change in a Population Using Explanatory Coherence", Advances in Complex Systems, http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0219525912500853

This is an alternative approach to models of mutual influence, based upon a model of belief change and the consistency/coherency between different beliefs.  It suggests some different hypotheses compared to Guillaume-Salah style models.  If anyone knows of any good data that might help check the realism of this model, please tell me about it (or just do it yourself).

Edmonds, B. (2012) Modelling Belief Change in a Population Using Explanatory Coherence, Advances in Complex Systems, 15(6). (10.1142/S0219525912500853

 The Link to the WorldSci page is: http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0219525912500853



A simulation model that represents belief change within a population of agents who are connected by a social network is presented based on Thagard's theory of explanatory coherence. In this model there are a fixed number of represented beliefs, each of which are either held or not by each agent. These are conceived of existing against a background of a large set of (unrepresented) shared beliefs. These beliefs are to different extents coherent with each other — this is modeled using a coherence function from possible sets of core beliefs to [-1, 1]. The social influence is achieved through gaining of a belief across a social link. Beliefs can be lost by being dropped from an agent's store. Both of these processes happen with a probability related to the change in coherence that would result in an agent's belief store. A resulting measured "opinion" can be retrieved in a number of ways, here as a weighted sum of a pattern of the core beliefs — opinion is thus an outcome and not directly processed by agents. This model suggests hypotheses about group opinion dynamics that differ from that of many established models.

Keywords: Simulation; coherence; consistency; opinion dynamics; belief revision

(Earlier version at: http://cfpm.org/cpmrep185.html)