Modeling the Role of Networks and Individual Differences in Inter-Group Violence


There is significant heterogeneity within and between populations in their propensity to engage in conflict. Most research has neglected the role of within-group effects in social networks in contributing to between-group violence and focused instead on the precursors and

consequences of violence, or on the role of between-group ties. Here, we explore the role of individual variation and of network structure within a population in promoting and inhibiting group violence towards other populations. Motivated by ethnographic observations of collective behavior in a small-scale society, we describe a model with differentiated roles for individuals embedded within friendship networks. Using a simple model based on voting-like dynamics, we explore several strategies for influencing group-level behavior. When we consider changing population level attitude changes and introducing control nodes separately, we find that a particularly effective control strategy relies on exploiting network degree. We also suggest refinements to our model such as tracking fine-grained information spread dynamics that can lead to further enrichment in using evolutionary game theory models for sociological phenomena.



A. Isakov, A. Holcomb, L. Glowacki, and N. A. Christakis, “Modeling the Role of Networks and Individual Differences in Inter-Group Violence,” PLoS One, 11(2): e0148314 (Feb 2016) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148314

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