Modeling a Cognitively Limited Network in an Agent-Based Simulation

Abstract

We investi¬gate how cognitive capacity limits the number of group relations that a person can maintain. The simulation experiment’s results using ACT-R and its memory equations replicated an effect similar to that of Dunbar’s (1998) number, or the average total number of group ties capable of being supported in memory. In our study, we also examined the influences of two spatial factors (navigation strategies and map configurations) on the growth of genera¬tive networks. Our results suggest three interesting conclu¬sions: (a) a fixed-path navigation strategy increases the speed that networks can form; (b) a higher grid ratio (connectivity of the agents’ world) provides more chances for agents to build relations, and thus increases the network generation speed; but (c) neither factor influenced the total relations that an agent could maintain, which implies that Dunbar’s number primarily depends on internal cognitive factors and less on external factors.


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