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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 532110
Title The status–power arena: a comprehensive agent-based model of social status dynamics and gender in groups of children
Author(s) Hofstede, Gert Jan; Student, Jillian; Kramer, Mark R.
Source AI & society : the journal of human and machine intelligence (2018). - ISSN 0951-5666 - p. 1 - 21.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00146-017-0793-5
Department(s) Information Technology
WASS
Environmental Policy
Operations Research and Logistics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Agent based model - Culture - Gender gap - Rough-and-tumble - Sociology - Status–power dynamics
Abstract Despite the urgency of this issue, AI still struggles to represent social life. This article presents a comprehensive agent-based model that investigates status-power dynamics in groups. Kemper’s sociological status–power theory of social relationships, and a literature review on school children in middle youth, is its basis. The model allows us to investigate causation of the near-ubiquitous phenomenon that females have lower social status on average than males. Possible causes included in the model are children’s dispositional traits (kindness, beauty, and physical power), schoolyard culture (social acceptability of fighting), behavioural strategy (amount of rough-and-tumble play) and the balance between public and dyadic sources of status. An agent-based model of a virtual schoolyard was created in which the children assemble in changing groups and mutually confer status. The status conferred upon a child modifies the status it holds. Rough-and-tumble is modelled as ambiguous: it is intended as a status conferral, but may be perceived as a power move. Running many trials of the model we found that in time, depending on the parameter settings, a gender-based status gap emerged. Rough-and-tumble play had more impact on emergent status differences than did physical power differences. Social acceptability of fighting also strongly moderated the resulting status gap. Placing more weight on dyadic relationship could alleviate status loss. All these model behaviours are in line with empirical findings of child behaviour studies at schools. They have face validity for social status issues in the adult world. We conclude from this that this kind of agent-based model merits use in studying the status–power dynamics of other issues in child behaviour, or indeed in social behaviour in general.
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