Abstract

Social learning and adoption of new behavior govern the rise of a variety of behaviors: from actions as mundane as dance steps to those as dangerous as new ways to make IED detonators. However, agents in immersive virtual environments lack the ability to realistically simulate the spread of new behavior. To address this gap, a cognitive model was designed that represents the well-known socio-cognitive factors of attention, social influence, and motivation that influence learning and the adoption of a new behavior. To explore the effectiveness of this model, simulations modeled the spread of two competing memes in Hamariyah, an archetypal Iraqi village developed for cross-cultural training. Diffusion and clustering analyses were used to examine adoption patterns in these simulations. Agents produced well-defined clusters of early versus late adoption based on their social influences, personality, and contextual factors, such as employment status. These findings indicate that the spread of behavior can be simulated plausibly in a virtual agent society and has the potential to increase the realism of immersive virtual environments.

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