Agents with emotional energy from social interaction

There have recently been several attempts to link social interactions to some sort of concept of motivation or group solidarity, often under the term “energy”. Such a concept has been related to work performance in organisations, but it raises questions when we attempt to model it. Working from social network analysts Cross and Parker’s identification of who energises or de-energises whom in organisations, social psychologists Ryan and Deci’s work on intrinsic motivation, and sociologist Randall Collins’s theory of interaction ritual chains, we developed a family of agent-based simulation models, in which agents gain emotional energy and cultural capital during interaction rituals.

 We use simulation models as tools for thinking about what energy is, and how it relates to the take up of ideas, the formation of cultural groups and the performance of work. Our models also provide insight into phenomena from studies of “communities of practice” and group solidarity. All our models reveal interdependencies between interaction rates, group sizes and cultural diversity.

Wednesday, 28 October, 2009 - 12:30 to 14:00
Christopher Watts (CRESS)
Presenter(s) biography: 

Dr Christopher Watts is Research Fellow in the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS), University of Surrey, where he works with Nigel Gilbert on the ESRC-funded SIMIAN project. Prior to this he obtained a PhD in the Operational Research & Management Science group at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, under the title “An agent-based model of agents with energy”, supervised by Stewart Robinson. His research interests include Simulation, Innovation Studies, Operational Research, Social Networks, and Complex Systems.