Gender Differences: The Role of Nature, Nurture, Social Identity and Self-organization

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
  • Frank Dignum
  • Rui Prada
  • Jillian Student
  • Loïs Vanhée
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9002)


This paper describes an agent-based model to investigate the origins of gender differences in social status. The agents’ basic behaviour is modelled according to Kemper’s sociological status-power theory. Differences in the socializing forces of the surrounding society are modelled using Hofstede’s dimensions of culture. Particulars of play behaviour are modelled using experimental child development studies from various cultures. The resulting model is presented and discussed. Social identity as a group of either non-gendered children, boys, or girls, seems a powerful force, multiplying the effect of biological differences. The model is actually general enough to be applicable to a wide range of social behaviours with minimal changes.


Agent-based model Gender Aggression Rough-and-tumble Social identity Status-power theory Culture Self-organisation Emergence 



The authors are grateful to NIAS, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, for offering a fellowship enabling the present study. The support of the Lorentz Center in Leiden is also acknowledged. Discussions with Theodore D. Kemper have been most valuable.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Jan Hofstede
    • 1
  • Frank Dignum
    • 2
  • Rui Prada
    • 3
  • Jillian Student
    • 1
  • Loïs Vanhée
    • 2
  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.INESC-IDLisbonPortugal

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