Browse Definitions:
Definition

social simulation

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Social simulation is the application of computer-based methods and technologies to replicate human social behavior in various environments and scenarios.

Social simulations are used for various research purposes throughout the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science and history. In business, simulations are used for research in areas including human resources management (HRM), security, reputation management and social media marketing (SMM).

A simulation, in this context, is a computer program that represents a social process or scenario. In the most common implementation, researchers design the program to model a social situation or process and then observe the behavior of individuals in the simulation when the program runs. Commonly, simulations are used to yield predictive data about what might happen in a real-world situation. Social simulations are also used to develop and test theories and to understand the implications of human behavior.

Topics studied through social simulations have included:

  • Development of social conventions and norms.
  • Foundations of morality.
  • Effects of reputation in a competitive environment.
  • Dissemination of knowledge.
  • Development of socially desirable behaviors.

There are four main types of social simulations:

  • System-level simulations (SLS) - Explore a given situation as a whole and how individuals and groups respond to the presence of certain variables.
  • System-level modeling (SLM) - Creates a more complex and sophisticated environment and aims to be able to make predictions about the behavior of any individual entity or thing within the simulation.
  • Agent-based social simulation(ABSS) - Models societies on intelligent agents and studies their behavior within the simulated environment for the application to real-world situations.
  • Agent-based modeling (ABM) - Involves independent agents with individual-specific behaviors interacting in networks.

Computer simulations offer a middle ground between the descriptive approach, which simply documents observations about human behavior and social processes, and the experimental approach, which establishes a real-world representation of some situation for research purposes.

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About social simulation

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • incident management plan (IMP)

    An incident management plan (IMP), sometimes called an incident response plan or emergency management plan, is a document that ...

  • crisis communication

    Crisis communication is a method of corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event to provide them with ...

  • Zerto

    Zerto is a storage software vendor that specializes in enterprise-class business continuity and disaster recovery in virtual and ...

SearchStorage

  • SSD write cycle

    An SSD write cycle is the process of programming data to a NAND flash memory chip in a solid-state storage device.

  • data storage

    Data storage is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information on electromagnetic, optical ...

  • hard disk

    A hard disk is part of a unit -- often called a disk drive, hard drive or hard disk drive -- that stores and provides relatively ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close