The emergence of social consensus in Boolean Networks

David G. Green, Tania G. Leishman, Suzanne Sadedin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Social order and unity require consensus among individuals about cooperation and other issues. Boolean network models (BN) help to explain the role played by peer interactions in the emergence of consensus. BN models represent a society as a network in which individuals are the nodes (with two states, e.g. agree/disagree) and social relationships are the edges. BN models highlight the influence of peer interactions on social cooperation, in contrast to models, such as prisoner's dilemma, that focus on individual strategies. In BN models, the behavior that emerges from peer interactions differs in subtle, but important ways from equivalent mathematical models (e.g. Markov, dynamic systems). Despite their simplicity, BN models provide potentially important insights about many social issues. They confirm that there is an upper limit to the size of groups within which peer interactions can create and maintain consensus. In large social groups, a combination of peer interaction and enforcement is needed to achieve consensus. Social consensus is brittle in the face of global influences, such as mass media, with the peer network at first impeding the spread of alternative views, then accelerating them once a critical point is passed. BN models are sensitive both to the network topology, and to the degrees of influence associated with peer-peer connections.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2007 IEEE Symposium on Artificial Life, CI-ALife 2007
    PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)142440701X, 9781424407019
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    Event1st IEEE Symposium on Artificial Life, IEEE-ALife'07 - Honolulu, HI, United States of America
    Duration: 1 Apr 20075 Apr 2007


    Conference1st IEEE Symposium on Artificial Life, IEEE-ALife'07
    Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
    CityHonolulu, HI

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