Socio-cognitive mechanisms of belief change

Tom R. Burns, Anna Gomoliñska
2001 Cognitive Systems Research  
In this article, generalized game theory (GGT) is used to conceptualize and explain key socio-cognitive processes in multi-agent interaction, in particular belief revision. GGT is based on the mathematics of rules and rule complexes (drawing on developments at the interface of mathematics, logic, and computer science). Rule concepts are used to formalize game, social relationships, and role as well as a major component of role, namely model or belief structure. This is an agent's 'situational
more » ... ew,' providing a perspective on and a basis for understanding and analyzing interaction situations with others. GGT conceptualizes the way that actors, when confronted with new information or candidates for belief, integrate them into their models, or reject them. This occurs through rules of composition. Several social factors can be identified as key variables incorporated or expressed in composition rules and judgments which regulate belief revision and learning processes: (1) degree of trust in a source of belief or message; (2) the social status (professional expertise, ethnicity, gender, age, etc.) of the source relative to the recipient; (3) the strength of commitment with respect to a belief structure; and (4) the strength of collective sanctioning. The theory is applied to multi-agent games, where the social relationships among actors, status and authority differences, the level of trust and expected honesty affect belief change -in large part by affecting the composition rules which are applied to 'candidates for belief'. The article shows that in some cases of belief revision falsehood is produced -indeed, deception and fabrication are part and parcel of many multi-agent interaction systems. However, in social life, even false beliefs -produced through acceptance of expert or authoritative judgements or beliefsmay become true through self-fulfilling processes.
doi:10.1016/s1389-0417(01)00014-6 fatcat:gi225vwminfddlgsfigyowlnfa