The coevolution of identity fusion, social networks and the devoted actor

Abstract The devoted actor model is a relatively recent framework proposed to explain how extremist behavior that is seen many conflict situations. This involves a combination of attachment to sacred values combined with identity fusion, where strong personal identity is retained and while overlapping with that of the group. As a result, individuals empower themselves to pay any cost in upholding the crit- ical beliefs of their group. Due to the extreme nature of actions and group con- viction, building even a primitive dynamic behavioural model to examine group evolution in this context is remarkably challenging. Individual risks or rewards are inconsequential to the devoted actor, thereby limiting the relevance of purely eco- nomic approaches to individual behaviour based on rational cost-benefit analysis of material assets or “prospects for success”. However, in this paper we present our progress in establishing a simple yet insightful social network model where agents influence the conviction and tolerance of their neighbours. The proof-of-concept model allows us to observe the evolution of social networks as a consequence of identity fusion and commitment to the values of a group.
  • Roger Whitaker (Cardiff)
  • Walter Colombo (Cardiff)
  • Yarrow Dunham (Yale)
  • Grace-Rose Williams (Dstl)
  • Darren Doyle (Dstl)
  • Cheryl Giammanco (ARL)
Date Sep-2018
Venue 2nd Annual Fall Meeting of the DAIS ITA, 2018