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The modelling of norms

In this video we discuss the normative sensitivity of people and how to model that.
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WANDER JAGER: Now we have the capacity to implement norms into Agent Based Models. And that opens new fascinating possibilities to experiment with the social dynamics in artificial populations. We can, for example, experiment with processes of change, where, for example, norms in the beginning may serve as a blocking against a change. But once the change is being adopted by a few people that have a reputation, the norm may flip over and basically inspire a lot of people to follow the behaviour of a few people. So exploring and experimenting with these kinds of social dynamics becomes possible when we implement norms in Agent Based Models.
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What remains a challenge is to think about the many factors and processes that play a role in when norms are being activated in people. And that is a challenge for Agent Based Models. Take fashion as a specific expression of a norm. When we look at the haircuts, clothing, and glasses of our parents, when they were our age, we often laugh about how outdated they look. And if we go further back in time, we often find it amusing to see how weird people dressed up. Norms, this can change over time, but also may inhibit change if all keep behaving normal. Many studies have revealed the way norms affect our behaviour.
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We know that some people are more conformist, and some other people do care less about the norms, the so-called non-conformists. There are even people actively going against the norm– the so-called anti-conformists. Often these norm-deviating people are not having an impact on society, and they are looked upon with a frown. Sometimes, however, innovative and artistic people can inspire other people around them and change the norms in society. They may even evolve into celebrities, having a real impact on the course of society. Think, for example, of the impact Elon Musk has on the success of electric cars and Steve Jobs on the penetration of smartphones in our lives.
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In the field of social psychology, many researchers have studied how norms affect the behaviour of people. These theoretical ideas support modellers to implement norms in Agent Based Models. In the following article, we will briefly introduce the basics of normative influence and how to capture that in agent based models.

In this video we discuss the normative sensitivity of people and how to model that. It is being explained that people are heterogeneous concerning their sensitivity for norms. Moreover, similarity and reputation of other people play an important role in their social influence.

Clothing is very visible and therefore in many situations there are norms on what to wear on some occasions. Can you mention examples of where you follow a norm on clothing? Do you also have examples of where people were unaware of the norm, resulting possibly in an awkward situation?

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