Evidence for Mixed Rationalities in Preference Formation

Alexandru-Ionuț Băbeanu, Diego Garlaschelli
2018 Complexity  
Understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of cultural traits is an open challenge. This is intimately connected to cultural dynamics, which has been the focus of a variety of quantitative models. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of connecting those models to empirically accessible snapshots of cultural dynamics. In particular, it has been suggested that empirical cultural states, which differ systematically from randomized counterparts, exhibit properties that are
more » ... sally present. Hence, a question about the mechanism responsible for the observed patterns naturally arises. This study proposes a stochastic structural model for generating cultural states that retain those robust empirical properties. One ingredient of the model assumes that every individual's set of traits is partly dictated by one of several universal "rationalities," informally postulated by several social science theories. The second, new ingredient assumes that, apart from a dominant rationality, each individual also has a certain exposure to the other rationalities. It is shown that both ingredients are required for reproducing the empirical regularities. This suggests that the effects of cultural dynamics in the real world can be described as an interplay of multiple, mixing rationalities, providing indirect evidence for the class of social science theories postulating such a mixing.
doi:10.1155/2018/3615476 fatcat:ijsfdc2c7zbafehctzlezc6i24