The status–power arena: a comprehensive agent-based model of social status dynamics and gender in groups of children

Gert Jan Hofstede*, Jillian Student, Mark R. Kramer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalAI and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

Agent-based Model
Social Status
Acceptability
Physical
Child Behavior
Causation
Sociological Theory
Social Life
School children
Merit
Social Relationships
Causes
Literature Review

Keywords

  • Agent based model
  • Culture
  • Gender gap
  • Rough-and-tumble
  • Sociology
  • Status–power dynamics

Cite this

@article{5d783eac378a4ecb823e22d26bb369f6,
title = "The status–power arena: a comprehensive agent-based model of social status dynamics and gender in groups of children",
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.",
keywords = "Agent based model, Culture, Gender gap, Rough-and-tumble, Sociology, Status–power dynamics",
author = "Hofstede, {Gert Jan} and Jillian Student and Kramer, {Mark R.}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "9",
doi = "10.1007/s00146-017-0793-5",
language = "English",
journal = "AI & society : the journal of human and machine intelligence",
issn = "0951-5666",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",

}

The status–power arena: a comprehensive agent-based model of social status dynamics and gender in groups of children. / Hofstede, Gert Jan; Student, Jillian; Kramer, Mark R.

In: AI and Society, 09.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The status–power arena: a comprehensive agent-based model of social status dynamics and gender in groups of children

AU - Hofstede, Gert Jan

AU - Student, Jillian

AU - Kramer, Mark R.

PY - 2018/1/9

Y1 - 2018/1/9

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Agent based model

KW - Culture

KW - Gender gap

KW - Rough-and-tumble

KW - Sociology

KW - Status–power dynamics

U2 - 10.1007/s00146-017-0793-5

DO - 10.1007/s00146-017-0793-5

M3 - Article

JO - AI & society : the journal of human and machine intelligence

JF - AI & society : the journal of human and machine intelligence

SN - 0951-5666

ER -