Building social networks out of cognitive blocks: factors of interest in agent-based socio-cognitive simulations

Changkun Zhao, Ryan Kaulakis, Jonathan H. Morgan, Jeremiah W. Hiam, Frank E. Ritter, Joesph Sanford, Geoffrey P. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper examines how cognitive and environmental factors influence the formation of dyadic ties. We use agent models instantiated in ACT-R that interact in a social simulation, to illustrate the effect of memory constraints on networks. We also show that environmental factors are important including population size, running time, and map configuration. To examine these relationships, we ran simulations of networks using a factorial design. Our analyses suggest three interesting conclusions: first, the tie formation of these networks approximates a logistic growth model; second, that agent memory quality (i.e., perfect or human-like) strongly alters the network’s density and structure; third, that the three environmental factors all influence both network density and some aspects of network structure. These findings suggest that meaningful variance of social network analysis measures occur in a narrow band of memory strength (the cognitive band); the threshold for defining tie criteria is important; and future simulations examining generative social networks should control and carefully report these environmental and cognitive factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-149
Number of pages35
JournalComputational and Mathematical Organization Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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