Date: 20 Mar 2012

Introduction: social-cognitive complexity, computational models and theoretical frames

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The usage of formal models, i.e. computational and/or mathematical ones, for the analysis of social-cognitive complexity is by no means a fundamentally new approach. For a rather long time such models have been developed and applied to different problems of the social and cognitive sciences; quite informative impressions about different methodical approaches and results can be looked up, e.g., in Polk and Seifert (2002) for the cognitive sciences and in Nowak (2009) for the social sciences. One can learn from these and other overviews that the domain of modeling social and cognitive phenomena in a precise way is meanwhile a well-established field of research.

Yet despite these undeniable successes it is only realistic to say that the mainstream of the social and cognitive sciences is still determined by the use of rather informal methods and models. To be sure, empirical research in both fields relies already for a long time on statistical methods that are frequently rather sophisticate