14 February 2020 from 12:00 to 13:00

Lunch Meeting #30: The Relation between Segregation and Polarization: Linking Insights from Agent-Based Models and Empirical Research

This Series: Complexity & Transitions

This academic year at the CCSS we are holding two series of lectures. Under our 'Complexity & Transitions' series, we host guest lectures from researchers from a variety of discplines whose research cover falls under the theme transitions within complex systems. Please see our upcoming Events for details on our other lecture series.

** Note: Following the lecture, there will be a discussion with the speaker on the topics raised in his presentation within the context of the research group on “The Emergence of Control in Complex Adaptive Systems”. All interested parties are welcome to join the discussion from 13:00.

Speaker Overview

Andreas Flache is Professor of Sociology specializing in modeling norms and networks in the Department of Sociology, University of Groningen. He leads developments in the application of formal agent-based computational and game theoretical modeling to study cooperation problems in relation to social network dynamics and ethnic diversity. His award winning theoretical and empirical research (Anatol Rapoport Best Paper Award, 2012; Evolution, Biology, and Society Section best article award 2007-2011), combining experimental and applied methodologies, was funded by, among others, NWO VIDI (2005-2010) and KNAW research fellowship grants (1999-2004). His work has appeared in flagship journals including Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Journal of Sociology. 


The Relation between Segregation and Polarization: Linking Insights from Agent-Based Models and Empirical Research


Due to mass migration, ethnic diversity is increasing in many Western countries. One issue in particular is that ethnic diversity seems to come almost inevitably with segregation of different subgroups in their spatial and social networks. Many fear that segregation may threaten societal consensus and foster instead a polarized society with large opinion divisions between and strong coherence within opposed factions. The current paper presents computational agent-based models that highlight alternative and competing theoretical  perspectives on the effects of segregation on polarization. Models are compared that formalize different behavioral theories of social influence. Models assuming repulsive influence explain polarization based on psychological mechanisms derived from balance theory.  Models assuming reinforcing influence draw on the theory of persuasive argument communication. It is shown how different models entail competing predictions about the effects of segregation. It will be further discussed how an integration of computational modelling with empirical data – micro-level and macro-level data, as well as experiments and field data – can be used to better understand how segregation affects opinion pluriformity and polarization.

Location: Center for Complex Systems Studies, room 4.16, Minnaert Building, Leuvenlaan 4, De Uithof, Utrecht

The lunch is FREE for all participants, but please register before Wednesday 12th February.

Start date and time
14 February 2020 12:00
End date and time
14 February 2020 13:00