Knowledge in Connection: Empirical Study and Connectionist Modeling of the Thesis of Homogenization

By:
To add a paper, Login.

In our research project we used knowledge from sociology, cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence. In this paper we intent to show in which way the connectionist paradigm is interesting for symbolic interactionists and other scientists with an interest for social interaction and its influence on people’s cognitive representations.
We describe the way in which the ‘thesis of homogenization’ survives empirical testing. This thesis states that people’s cognitive representation moves towards a more homogenous view under the influence of social interaction. Ideas of this sort form an important assumption within the work of sociologists like Schutz, Giddens, Garfinkel, Mead, Beck, Parsons and Foucault. We found that a group discussion about ‘Lord of the Rings’ led to an average relative increase of 96% in the homogeneity of associations considering Lord of the Rings within the participants in this discussion. In addition, there seems to be a continuing effect two weeks after the discussion. Two weeks later the homogeneity increased with another 53%. The complete increase in homogeneity two weeks after the discussion was 180%. We simulated these groups discussion with a very basic, connectionism-inspired, computational model. This model is already surprisingly capable in predicting changes in people’s views under the influence of group discussions.


Keywords: Connectionism, Symbolic Interactionism, Constructivism, Group Discussions, Computational Modeling
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , , Knowledge in Connection


Tomas Zwinkels

Undergraduate Student, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands


Gilles de Hollander

Undergraduate Student, Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences (IIS), University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands


Tom Aizenberg

Undergraduate Student, Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS), University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands


Ref: I08P0883