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Inge Slingerland - A multi-agent system on authoritarian behavior in a society with lying authorities

03 July 2012

Multiple research has shown the bias some people have towards authority and the government in particular. They show greater support and bias towards authority when confronted with their own mortality, a fact widely used for psychological warfare. Although all people are vulnerable to this to some degree, there is a group of people especially susceptible to fear: authoritarians. When the complexity of the world becomes too high for their perception, authoritarians will try to return to the safe norm. They do this by becoming submissive to authority, giving their own personal power away, and by sharply dividing the world into in-groups and out-groups. In addition, they often reason in faulty manners to validate their own behavior. We used the individual processes and characteristics ascribed to authoritarians and libertarians to construct a Multi-Agent System representing an artificial society, consisting of government and population. Authoritarians differ from libertarians in their maximum depth of reasoning and in the way they choose their communication partners. In this model we test the effects and interplay of authoritarian or libertarian predisposition, anxiety in society and corruption level of the government, on the trust the agents have in their government. We hypothesize the individual predispositions regarding authoritarianism combined with levels of fear to have a major influence on the collective behavior, where the ability to communicate and reason influences trust levels when the government shows corrupt behavior.

Last modified:31 May 2018 4.05 p.m.

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