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Breadth verses depth: the impact of tree structure on cultural influence

Morris, Rhodri L. ORCID:, Turner, Liam D. ORCID:, Whitaker, Roger M. ORCID: and Giammanco, Cheryl 2020. Breadth verses depth: the impact of tree structure on cultural influence. Presented at: 2020 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (SBP-BRiMS), Washington DC, USA, 19-21 October 2020. Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling: 13th International Conference, SBP-BRiMS 2020, Washington, DC, USA, October 18–21, 2020, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Lecture Notes in Computer Science/Information Systems and Applications, incl. Internet/Web, and HCI (12268) Springer Verlag, 10.1007/978-3-030-61255-9_9

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Cultural spread in social networks and organisations is an important and longstanding issue. In this paper we assess this role of tree structures in facilitating cultural diversity. Cultural features are represented using abstract traits that are held by individual agents, which may transfer when neighbouring agents interact through the network structure. We use an agent-based model that incorporates both the combined social pressure and influence from an agent's neighbours. We perform a multivariate study where the number of features and traits representing culture are varied, alongside the breadth and depth of the tree. The results reveal interesting findings on cultural diversity. Increasing the number of features promotes strong convergence in flatter trees as compared to narrower and deeper trees. At the same time increasing features causes narrower deeper trees to show greater cultural pluralism while flatter trees instead show greater cultural homogenisation. We also find that in contrast to previous work, the polarisation between nodes does not rise steadily as the number of traits increase but under certain conditions may also fall. The results have implications for organisational structures - in particular for hierarchies where depth supports cultural divergence, while breadth promotes greater homogeneity, but with increased coordination overhead on the root nodes. These observations also support subsidiarity in deep organisational structures - it is not just a case of communication length promoting subsidiarity, but local cultural differences are more likely to be sustained within these structures.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Computer Science & Informatics
Crime and Security Research Institute (CSURI)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISBN: 9783030612542
ISSN: 0302-9743
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 April 2020
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2022 13:54

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