Statistical physics models of social systems with a large number of members, each interacting with a subset of others, have been used in very diverse domains such as culture dynamics, crowd behavior, information dissemination and social conflicts. We observe that such models rely on the fact that large societal groups display surprising regularities despite individual agency. Unlike physics phenomena that obey Newton’s third law, in the world of humans the magnitudes of action and reaction are not necessarily equal. The effect of the actions of group n on group m can differ from the effect of group m on group n. We thus use the spin language to describe humans with this observation in mind. Note that particular individual behaviors do not survive in statistical averages. Only common characteristics remain. We have studied two-group conflicts as well as three-group conflicts. We have used time-dependent Mean-Field Theory and Monte Carlo simulations. Each group is defined by two parameters which express the intra-group strength of interaction among members and its attitude toward negotiations. The interaction with the other group is parameterized by a constant which expresses an attraction or a repulsion to other group average attitude. The model includes a social temperature T which acts on each group and quantifies the social noise. One of the most striking features is the periodic oscillation of the attitudes toward negotiation or conflict for certain ranges of parameter values. Other striking results include chaotic behavior, namely intractable, unpredictable conflict outcomes.
Social Conflicts Studied by Statistical Physics Approach and Monte Carlo Simulations
Published: 17 November 2019 by MDPI in 5th International Electronic Conference on Entropy and Its Applications session Complex Systems
Keywords: social conflicts; statistical physics approach; complex systems; mean-field theory; Monte Carlo simulation