UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Growing a Bayesian Conspiracy Theorist: An Agent-Based Model

Madsen, JK; Bailey, R; Pilditch, TD; (2017) Growing a Bayesian Conspiracy Theorist: An Agent-Based Model. In: Gunzelmann, G and Howes, A and Tenbrink, T and Davelaar, E, (eds.) Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meetng of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2017). (pp. pp. 2657-2662). Cognitive Science Society Green open access

[thumbnail of Growing a Bayesian Conspiracy Theorist - Madsen, Bailey & Pilditch 2017.pdf]
Preview
Text
Growing a Bayesian Conspiracy Theorist - Madsen, Bailey & Pilditch 2017.pdf - Published Version

Download (869kB) | Preview

Abstract

Conspiracy theories cover topics from politicians to world events. Frequently, proponents of conspiracies hold these beliefs strongly despite available evidence that may challenge or disprove them. Therefore, conspiratorial reasoning has often been described as illegitimate or flawed. Here, we explore the possibility of growing a rational (Bayesian) conspiracy theorist through an Agent-Based Model. The agent has reasonable constraints on access to the total information as well its access to the global population. The model shows that network structures are central to maintain objectively mistaken beliefs. Increasing the size of the available network, yielded increased confidence in mistaken beliefs and subsequent network pruning, allowing for belief purism. Rather than ameliorating and correcting mistaken beliefs (where agents move toward the correct mean), large networks appear to maintain and strengthen them. As such, large networks may increase the potential for belief polarization, extreme beliefs, and conspiratorial thinking – even amongst Bayesian agents.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Growing a Bayesian Conspiracy Theorist: An Agent-Based Model
Event: CogSci 2017: 39th Annual Meetng of the Cognitive Science Society, 26-29 July 2017, London, UK
Location: London, UK
Dates: 26 July 2017 - 29 July 2017
ISBN-13: 9780991196760
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2017/papers/0503/in...
Language: English
Additional information: This is the published version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Conspiratorial thinking; Extreme beliefs; Agent-Based Models; Bayesian updating
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1570313
Downloads since deposit
362Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item