, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 52-84,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Jun 2012

Modelling collective decision making in groups and crowds: Integrating social contagion and interacting emotions, beliefs and intentions


Collective decision making involves on the one hand individual mental states such as beliefs, emotions and intentions, and on the other hand interaction with others with possibly different mental states. Achieving a satisfactory common group decision on which all agree requires that such mental states are adapted to each other by social interaction. Recent developments in social neuroscience have revealed neural mechanisms by which such mutual adaptation can be realised. These mechanisms not only enable intentions to converge to an emerging common decision, but at the same time enable to achieve shared underlying individual beliefs and emotions. This paper presents a computational model for such processes. As an application of the model, an agent-based analysis was made of patterns in crowd behaviour, in particular to simulate a real-life incident that took place on May 4, 2010 in Amsterdam. From available video material and witness reports, useful empirical data were extracted. Similar patterns were achieved in simulations, whereby some of the parameters of the model were tuned to the case addressed, and most parameters were assigned default values. The results show the inclusion of contagion of belief, emotion, and intention states of agents results in better reproduction of the incident than non-inclusion.

Parts of the work described here were presented in a preliminary form ([3,30]) as follows; this submission substantially extends this by giving more details of the approach and by providing additional steps of validation. Hoogendoorn, M., Treur, J., Wal, C.N. van der, and Wissen, A. van, Modelling the Interplay of Emotions, Beliefs and Intentions within Collective Decision Making Based on Insights from social neuroscience. In: Wong, K.K.W., Mendis, B.S.U., Bouzerdoum, A. (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Neural Information Processing, ICONIP’10. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, vol. 6443. Springer Verlag, 2010, pp. 196–206. Bosse, T., Hoogendoorn, M., Klein, M.C.A., Treur, J., and Wal, C.N. van der, Agent-Based Analysis of Patterns in Crowd Behaviour Involving Contagion of Mental States. Proc. of the 24th International Conference on Industrial, Engineering and Other Applications of Applied Intelligent Systems, IEA/AIE’11. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer Verlag, 2011, in press. http://www.few.vu.nl/~wai/Papers/IEA11May4.pdf.