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Are collectivistic cultures more prone to rapid transformation? Computational models of cross-cultural differences, social network structure, dynamic social influence, and cultural change

Muthukrishna, Michael and Schaller, Mark (2019) Are collectivistic cultures more prone to rapid transformation? Computational models of cross-cultural differences, social network structure, dynamic social influence, and cultural change. Personality and Social Psychology Review. ISSN 1088-8683 (In Press)

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Abstract

Societies differ in susceptibility to social influence and in the social network structure through which individuals influence each other. What implications might these cultural differences have for changes in cultural norms over time? Using parameters informed by empirical evidence, we computationally modeled these cross-cultural differences to predict two forms of cultural change: consolidation of opinion majorities into stronger majorities, and the spread of initially unpopular beliefs. Results obtained from more than 300,000 computer simulations showed that in populations characterized by greater susceptibility to social influence, there was more rapid consolidation of majority opinion and also more successful spread of initially unpopular beliefs. Initially unpopular beliefs also spread more readily in populations characterized by less densely- connected social networks. These computational outputs highlight the value of computational modelling methods as a means to specify hypotheses about specific ways in which cross-cultural differences may have long-term consequences for cultural stability and cultural change.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 11:33
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2019 23:08
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100831

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