Cognition, Culture, and Social Simulation

In: Journal of Cognition and Culture
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  • 1 Oxford University and NORCE Center for Modeling Social Systems
  • 2 University of Agder and NORCE Center for Modeling Social Systems

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Abstract

The use of modeling and simulation (M&S) methodologies is growing rapidly across the psychological and social sciences. After a brief introduction to the relevance of computational methods for research on human cognition and culture, we describe the sense in which computer models and simulations can be understood, respectively, as “theories” and “predictions.” Most readers of JoCC are interested in integrating micro- and macro-level theories and in pursuing empirical research that informs scientific predictions, and we argue that M&S provides a powerful new set of tools for pursuing these interests. We also point out the way in which M&S can help scholars of cognition and culture address four key desiderata for social scientific research related to the themes of clarity, falsifiability, dynamicity, and complexity. Finally, we provide an introduction to the other papers that comprise this special issue, which includes contributions on topics such as the role of M&S in interdisciplinary debates, shamanism, early Christian ritual practices, the emergence of the Axial age, and the social scientific appropriation of algorithms from massively multiplayer online games.

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