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Conformity in Scientific Networks

Weatherall, James and O'Connor, Cailin (2019) Conformity in Scientific Networks. Synthese.

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Abstract

Scientists are generally subject to social pressures, including pressures to conform with others in their communities, that affect achievement of their epistemic goals. Here we analyze a network epistemology model in which agents, all else being equal, prefer to take actions that conform with those of their neighbors. This preference for conformity interacts with the agents' beliefs about which of two (or more) possible actions yields the better result. We �find a range of possible outcomes, including stable polarization in belief and action. The model results are sensitive to network structure. In general, though, conformity has a
negative effect on a community's ability to reach accurate consensus about the world.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Weatherall, Jamesjim.weatherall@gmail.com
O'Connor, Cailincailino@uci.edu
Keywords: conformity, decision theory, network, social epistemology, epistemology of science
Subjects: General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Cailin O'Connor
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2019 03:14
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2019 03:14
Item ID: 16719
Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
Subjects: General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16719

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