A Cognitive Model of Crowd Behavior Based on Social Comparison Theory

Gal A. Kaminka, Natalie Fridman

Modeling crowd behavior is an important challenge for cognitive modelers. Models of crowd behavior facilitate analysis and prediction of the behavior of groups of people, who are in close geographical or logical states, and that are affected by each other's presence and actions. Existing models of crowd behavior, in a variety of fields, leave many open challenges. In particular, psychological models often offer only qualitative description, and do not easily permit algorithmic replication, while computer science models are often simplistic, treating agents as simple deterministic particles. We propose a novel model of crowd behavior, based on Festinger's Social Comparison Theory (SCT), a social psychology theory known and expanded since the early 1950's. We propose a concrete algorithmic framework for SCT, and evaluate its implementations in several crowd behavior scenarios. We show that our SCT model produces improved results compared to base models from the literature. We also discuss an implementation of SCT in the Soar cognitive architecture, and the question this implementation raises as to the role of social reasoning in cognitive architectures.

Subjects: 4. Cognitive Modeling; 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems

Submitted: May 28, 2006

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