A tool for simulated social experiments

Miklos N Szilagyi, Zoltan C. Szilagyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


A new agent-based model is presented of the investigation of collective behavior with a large number of decision makers operating in a stochastic environment. (An agent is an entity that interacts with and contributes to its environment. A set of agents can be a simplified representation of a society.) The model has three distinctive new features: the number of agents in the model is theoretically unlimited; the agents have various distinct user-defined "personalities;" and the agents are described as combinations of cellular and stochastic learning automata. The combination of different personalities with stochastic learning makes it possible to simulate human-like behavior in social situations when each group member must choose between maximizing selfish interests or collective interests. Our model is a framework to perform various simulated social experiments and assess the propagation of information and human influence in large-scale conflicting environments, e.g., to simulate realistic multi-person social dilemmas. We have developed a computational tool to implement this model. This is a powerful tool for investigating group dynamics that is also an advance in nonlinear dynamic system simulation. It may lead to the discovery of a number of factors influencing human collective behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-10
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000



  • Agent-based model
  • Behavioral simulation
  • Cellular automaton
  • Social dilemma
  • Social simulation
  • Stochastic learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

Cite this

Szilagyi, M. N., & Szilagyi, Z. C. (2000). A tool for simulated social experiments. Simulation, 74(1), 4-10.