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You are on page 1of 37

**Luhmann’s systems theory.
**

M. J. Barber

1

, Ph. Blanchard

2

, E. Buchinger

3

, B. Cessac

4

, and

L. Streit

1,2

1

Universidade da Madeira, Centro de Ciˆencias Matem´aticas,

Campus Universit´ario da Penteada, 9000-390 Funchal, Portugal

2

Bielefeld University, Faculty of Physics and BiBoS,

Universit¨atsstr. 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

3

ARC Systems Research GmbH, A-2444 Seibersdorf, Austria

4

Institut Non Lin´eaire de Nice et Universit´e de Nice, 1361 Route

des Lucioles, Valbonne 06560, France

June 30, 2005

Abstract

We introduce an agent-based model of factual communication in social

systems, drawing on concepts from Luhmann’s theory of social systems.

The agent communications are deﬁned by the exchange of distinct mes-

sages. Message selection is based on the history of the communication

and developed within the conﬁnes of the problem of double contingency.

We examine the notion of learning in the light of the message-exchange

description.

1 Introduction.

Learning as a social process is based on interaction between agents. Examples

range from teacher-student relationships to industrial research teams to scientiﬁc

networks. Social learning is therefore distinguished from individual learning (e.g.

acquiring information from a textbook, from scientiﬁc experiments or personal

experience) by the requirement of communication between two or more agents.

The conceptual model of “learning as a social process” applies ideas from the

theory of social systems elaborated by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann.

The theory describes a vision of society as a self-reproducing (autopoietic) sys-

tem of communication. It is based on the work of Talcott Parsons (sociology),

Edmund Husserl (philosophy), Heinz von Foerster (cybernetics), Humberto R.

Maturana/ Francisco Varela (evolutionary biology), and George Spencer Brown

(mathematics). The ﬁrst comprehensive elaboration of the theory can be dated

to the appearance of Soziale Systeme (“Social Systems”) in 1984, with an En-

glish translation available in 1995, and found a kind of ﬁnalization with the

appearance of Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (“The Society’s Society”) in

1

1997. The most relevant texts for the modeling of learning as a social pro-

cess can be found in Social Systems chapter 4, “Communication and Action,”

(p.137–175) and in chapter 8, “Structure and Time” (p.278–356). For readers

who are interested in an exposition of Luhmann’s ideas we recommend for a start

Einf¨ uhrung in die Systemtheorie (Luhmann, 2004) and the February, 2001 issue

of Theory, Culture and Society, particularly the contributions “Niklas Luhmann:

An introduction” by Jakob Arnoldi and ”Why systems?” by Dirk Baecker.

The present paper is the ﬁrst step of a common interdisciplinary work in-

volving a sociologist and theoretical physicists. Our ultimate goal is to design a

multi-agent model using the theoretical background of Luhmann’s theory and

based on a mathematical formalization of a social process in which expectation-

driven communication results in learning. We especially want to explore knowl-

edge diﬀusion and interactive knowledge generation (innovation) in various so-

cial structures, represented essentially as dynamically evolving graphs. Primar-

ily, we adopt a general point of view of modeling from theoretical physics and

only secondarily intend to have an “as realistic as possible” model. Rather than

putting “everything” in, the focus is to distinguish a few features in Luhmann’s

theory that are relevant for our purposes, and propose a model that is possibly

rough, but is tractable either on an analytical or numerical level. In some sense,

this approach has allowed physicists in the two last centuries to extract gen-

eral principles and laws from observation of nature. This permitted physics to

transcend being simply a taxonomy of observations and instead to build general

theories (an attempt to do the same in the life science seems to be ongoing). In

particular, it is tempting to use the wisdom coming from dynamical systems the-

ory and statistical mechanics to analyze models of social learning, and there is

some research activity in this ﬁeld (Fortunato and Stauﬀer, 2005; Stauﬀer, 2003;

Stauﬀer et al., 2004; Weisbuch, 2004; Weisbuch et al., 2005). On the one hand,

dynamical systems theory provides mathematical tools to study the dynamical

evolution of interacting agents at the “microscopic” level (speciﬁcally, the de-

tailed evolution of each agent is considered). On the other, statistical physics

allows in principle a description at the mesoscopic level (groups of agents) and

macroscopic level (the population as a whole).

However, though statistical physics gives accurate description of models in

physics (such as the Ising model), one must attend to the (somewhat evident)

fact that interactions between human beings are more complex than interac-

tions usually considered in physics: they are non-symmetric, nonlinear, involve

memory eﬀects, are not explicitly determined by an energy function, etc.. The

present paper is an attempt to consider social mechanism beyond state-of-the-

art modeling

We introduce a mathematical model portraying communication as an alter-

nating exchange of messages by a pair of agents where memories of the past

exchanges are used to build evolving reciprocal expectations. The resulting “in-

teraction” is quite rich and complex. In fact, the pairwise interactions between

agents, induced by communication, depend on various independent parameters,

and tuning them can lead to drastic changes in the model properties. In the

next pages we give some results in this direction, based on mathematical as

well as numerical investigations. These results are a necessary foundation for

handling the multi-agent case.

The present model is a generalization of the work of Peter Dittrich, Thomas

Krohn and Wolfgang Banzhaf (2003). Based on Luhmann’s theory of social

2

systems, they designed a model which describes the emergence of social order.

We follow them in portraying communication as an alternating exchange of

messages by a pair of agents. We use the memory structures they deﬁned as a

starting point for our agents. The memories are the key to the formalization

of the structure of expectation in their model and we take the same approach.

However we introduce an additional form of memory to allow for individual

variation in the normative and cognitive expectations of the agents whereby

cognitions represent the ability to learn.

The paper is divided into four sections. First the conceptual background is

elaborated, followed by the mathematical deﬁnition of the model. After this,

the main mathematical and simulation results are discussed. The text ends with

an outlook on planned extensions of the model.

2 Conceptual background.

The concepts from information theory and social system theory which we use

to model learning as a social process are:

1. Information and meaning structure,

2. Communication,

3. Double contingency and expectation-expectation, and

4. Learning.

2.1 Information and meaning structure.

The concept of information used in this paper originates with the mathematical

theory of communication of Shannon and Weaver (1949), now known as informa-

tion theory. First, information is deﬁned as being produced when one message

is chosen from a set of messages (Shannon, 1948). The minimum requirement of

information production is therefore a set of two messages and a “choice” (usu-

ally, the number of messages is higher, but ﬁnite). Second, information sources

are characterized by entropy:

That information be measured by entropy is, after all, natural when

we remember that information, in communication theory, is associ-

ated with the amount of freedom of choice we have in constructing

messages. Thus for a communication source one can say, just as he

would also say it of a thermodynamic ensemble, ‘This situation is

highly organized, it is not characterized by a large degree of random-

ness or of choice—that is to say, the information (or the entropy) is

low.’

Weaver, 1949, pg. 13

This means that the greater the freedom of choice and consequently the

greater the amount of information, the greater is the uncertainty that a partic-

ular message will be selected. Thus, greater freedom of choice, greater uncer-

tainty and greater information go hand in hand. In information theory this is

called ”desired uncertainty”. It is important to note that this uncertainty-based

3

concept of information must not be confused with meaning. Although messages

usually do have meaning, this is irrelevant to the mathematical formulation of

information on the basis of uncertainty and entropy. Two messages, one heavily

loaded with meaning and the other of pure nonsense, can have the same amount

of information.

The theory of social systems refers to Shannon and Weaver and uses as

starting point the same deﬁnition: information is a selection from a repertoire

of possibilities (Luhmann, 1995, pg. 140). But contrary to information theory,

meaning is addressed prominently. It is conceptualized as the durable comple-

ment of the transient information. Meaning is a complex referential structure

which is used by psychic systems (i.e., information sources) to organize the

process of information selection.

By information we mean an event that selects system states. This

is possible only for structures that delimit and presort possibilities.

Information presupposes structure, yet is not itself a structure, but

rather an event that actualizes the use of structures. . . . Time it-

self, in other words, demands that meaning and information must

be distinguished, although all meaning reproduction occurs via in-

formation (and to this extent can be called information processing),

and all information has meaning. . . . a history of meaning has al-

ready consolidated structures that we treat as self-evident today.

Luhmann, 1995, pg. 67

According to social systems theory, the historically evolved general meaning

structure is represented on the micro level (i.e., psychic systems, agent level) in

form of the personal life-world (Luhmann, 1995, pg. 70). A personal meaning-

world represents a structural pre-selected repertoire of possible references. Al-

though the repertoire of possibilities is conﬁned, selection is necessary to pro-

duce information. Meaning structure provides a mental map for selection but

does not replace it. All together, the one is not possible without the other—

information production presupposes meaning and the actualization of meaning

is done by information production.

The present model considers both information and personal meaning struc-

ture, in a simpliﬁed manner. Information is treated in the above described

mathematical form and meaning structures in the form of a second order ap-

proach (pairwise combination). This will be developed in section 3, below.

2.2 Communication unit and communication sequence.

Communication as social process depends on the availability of information

producing agents. Individuals or other agents are therefore often the elemental

unit of sociological communication analysis. Contrary to that, communication

units are the central element of analysis in social system theory and agents are

conceptualized according to their contribution to communication units. Each

communication unit consists of three selections (Luhmann, 1995):

1. Information is produced by selection from a structured repertoire of pos-

sibilities by an agent (ego).

2. The agent (ego) must choose a behavior that expresses the produced in-

formation (act of utterance).

4

3. Another agent (alter) must understand what it means to accept ego’s

selection.

Information production includes therefore that ego not only views itself as

part of a general meaning world but assumes also that the same is true for alter.

In other words, ego and alter act on the assumption that each life-world is part

of the same general meaning world in which information can be true or false,

can be uttered, and can be understood. This assumption of shared meaning

structures allows ego to generate an expectation of success, i.e., the expectation

that the selection will be accepted by alter.

A communication sequence is constituted by one communication unit fol-

lowing another. On the one hand, at least a minimum extent of understanding

(i.e., fulﬁllment of expectation of success) is necessary for the generation of a

communication sequence. On the other hand, if one communication unit follows

another, it is a positive test that the preceding communication unit was under-

stood suﬃciently. Every communication unit is therefore recursively secured in

possibilities of understanding and the control of understanding in the connective

context.

In the present model, the term message is used to to describe the three parts

of the communication unit. From this follows that the model is in its core a

message exchange model (ME-model) and starts with a list of messages. The

three-part unity is now:

1. Ego selects a message.

2. Once the selection process is ﬁnalized, the message is sent.

3. Alter receives the sent message.

Within the present version of the ME-model, agents do not have the option

to reject a message or to refuse to answer. Their “freedom” is incorporated in

the process of message-selection. Agents can be distinguished by the number of

messages they are able to use or able to learn in a certain period of time and

by their selection strategies.

2.3 Double contingency and expectation-expectation.

In social system theory, the dynamics of a communication sequence are ex-

plained by contingency and expectation. First, contingency arises because

agents are complex systems that are “black boxes” for each other. An agent will

never know exactly what the other will do next. The reciprocity of social situa-

tions (two agents: ego and alter) results in double contingency: ego contingency

and alter contingency.

Second, the ”black-box problem” is solved by expectations. Agents create

expectations about the future actions of the other agents to adjust their own

actions. For example, two business partners meeting antemeridian expect from

each other that the adequate greeting is good morning (and not good evening,

etc.). This is a situation with high expectational security. If the two had a

conﬂict last time they met, the expectational security may decrease (will the

other answer my greeting?). The example illustrates that expectations are con-

densed forms of meaning structures (Luhmann, 1995, pp. 96, 402)—embedded

5

in the personal life-world they provide an agent-related mental map for com-

municational decisions (i.e., selections, choices). Based on the societally given

and biographically determined structures of expectations, ego and alter have

situation-speciﬁc reciprocal expectations.

In social systems, expectations are the temporal form in which struc-

tures develop. But as structures of social systems expectations ac-

quire social relevance and thus suitability only if, on their part, they

can be anticipated. Only in this way can situations with double con-

tingency be ordered. Expectations must become reﬂexive: it must be

able to relate to itself, not only in the sense of a diﬀuse accompanying

consciousness but so that it knows it is anticipated as anticipating.

This is how expectation can order a social ﬁeld that includes more

than one participant. Ego must be able to anticipate what alter

anticipates of him to make his own anticipations and behavior agree

with alter’s anticipation.

Luhmann, 1995, pg. 303

The duplication of contingency causes the duplication of expectation:

• Ego has expectations vis-` a-vis alter.

• Alter knows that ego expects something from him/her but can never know

what exactly the expectation is (black-box!).

• Therefore, alter builds expectations about “ego’s expectations of alter,”

that is expectation-expectation.

In complex societies, expectational security is diﬃcult. Therefore, it is nec-

essary to have stabilizing factors. One way to establish expectations that are

relatively stabilized over time is through relation to something which is not it-

self an event but has duration. Well-known expectational nexuses in sociology

are persons, roles, programs, and values. Persons are societally constituted for

the sake of ordering of behavioral expectations. Roles serve—compared with

persons—as a more abstract perspective for the identiﬁcation of expectations.

Programs—a further level of abstraction—describe the orientation toward goals.

Last, but not lease, values are highly general, individually symbolized orienta-

tion perspectives.

Within the ME-Model in its present form, the agents are the relevant ex-

pectational nexuses. They are equipped with expectation and expectation-

expectation memories.

2.4 Learning.

Learning in social system theory is related to the concept of expectation by

distinguishing between norms and cognitions. Normative expectations are rel-

atively ﬁxed over time and remain more or less unchanged. If normative ex-

pectations are not fulﬁlled, disappointment will be the reaction. Most people

would hope that such a person would behave less disappointingly next time.

Normally, disappointment will not alter normative expectations. For cognitive

expectations, the opposite is true. Someone is ready to change them if reality

6

reveals other, unanticipated aspects. Therefore, expectations which are dis-

posed toward learning are stylized as cognitions, while expectations which are

not disposed toward learning are called norms.

The sharp distinction between normative and cognitive expectations is ana-

lytical. In day-to-day situations, one can assume that a mixture of cognitive and

normative elements is prevailing. “Only in such mixed forms can a readiness for

expectation be extended to ﬁelds of meaning and modes of behavior that are so

complex one cannot blindly trust in an assumed course of action.” (Luhmann,

1995, pp. 321) Nevertheless, as the diﬀerence between cognitive and normative

expectations is made clearer, learning occurs with less friction.

The ME-Model considers both normative and cognitive expectations. How-

ever, the emphasis is placed on cognitions.

3 Model deﬁnition.

3.1 Messages.

In the model, the fundamental elements of inter-agent communication are mes-

sages. Messages are context dependent, with the number of messages relevant

to a given context assumed to be ﬁnite. We do not concern ourselves here with

giving a real-world interpretation to the messages, and instead simply number

them from 1 to n

S

, the number of messages.

Messages are transmitted through a multi-step process. A message is ﬁrst

selected, then sent, and ﬁnally recognized by the receiver. Implicit in the mes-

sage transmission process is a coding procedure: the sender encodes the message

in some way before sending, while the receiver decodes it in a possibly diﬀerent

way after receipt. We do not consider the details of the coding process, nor the

medium in which the encoded message is sent.

However, we do assume the coding process to be of high quality. As a

consequence, within the context the messages are independent of one another

and all messages are of equal relevance. The messages are thus similar to a

minimal set of fundamental concepts.

It can be convenient to recognize that messages transmitted by an agent

are formally equivalent to states of the agent. A construction by Dittrich et al.

(2003) illustrates this in a readily accessible fashion: each agent has a number of

signs available, and communicates a message by holding up the appropriate sign.

Thus, selecting a new message to transmit is equivalent to a state transition—

the agent holding up a new sign.

3.2 Communication sequences.

Agents take turns sending messages to each other. In doing so, they observe

the foregoing sequence of messages, and must select the next message in the

sequence.

We anticipate that the message selected will depend most strongly on the

most recent messages in the sequence, while earlier messages are of lesser or

negligible importance. This suggests that a reasonable approximation of the

selection process is to consider only a ﬁnite number of preceding messages,

7

rather than the complete sequence. Thus, the agents should select the message

based on the statistics of subsequences of various lengths.

The length of the subsequences in such approximations deﬁne the order of

the approximation. A zeroth-order approximation considers only message iden-

tity, ignoring how the messages actually appear in sequences. A ﬁrst-order

approximation considers messages of length one, showing the relative frequency

with which the messages appear in sequences. Second- and higher-order ap-

proximations consider runs of messages, showing correlations between messages

in the sequences.

In this paper, we focus exclusively on a second-order approximation, dealing

with pairs of messages. A second-order approximation is the simplest case in

which relationships between messages become important, and can be usefully

interpreted as dealing with stimuli and responses. However, it is vitally impor-

tant to recognize that each message is simultaneously used as both stimulus and

response.

3.3 Agents.

In this section, we formally deﬁne the agents. Essentially, an agent maintains

a number of memories that describe statistics of message sequences in which it

has taken part, and has a rule for using those memories to select a response

message to a stimulus message. The agents are a generalization of the agents

used by Dittrich et al. (2003); see section 3.3.2.

Although we focus in this work on communications between pairs of agents,

the agent deﬁnitions are posed in a manner that can be generalized to com-

munities of agents. See section 5.2 for discussion of how the model could be

extended to handle groups of agents.

3.3.1 Memories.

Agent memories fall broadly into two classes: (1) memories of the details of

particular communication sequences between one agent (ego) and another agent

(alter) and (2) long-term memories reﬂecting the general disposition of a single

agent. All of the memories are represented as probability distributions over

stimuli and responses.

In fact, we use several forms of probabilities in the deﬁnition, use, and analy-

sis of the agent memories. For example, consider the ego memory (deﬁned fully

below). We denote by E

(t)

AB

(r, s) the joint probability that agent A maintains

at time t, estimating the likelihood that agent B will transmit a message s to

which agent A will respond with a message r. Second, we use the conditional

probability E

(t)

A|B

(r | s), showing the likelihood of agent A responding with mes-

sage r given that agent B has already transmitted message s. Finally, we use the

marginal probability E

(t)

A

(r), showing the likelihood of agent A responding with

message r regardless of what message agent B sends. These three probabilities

are related by

E

(t)

A

(r) =

s

E

(t)

AB

(r, s) (1)

E

(t)

A|B

(r | s) =

E

(t)

AB

(r, s)

r

E

(t)

AB

(r, s)

. (2)

8

We use similar notation for all the memories (and other probabilities) in this

work.

The memories of communications are patterned after those used by Dittrich et al.

(2003). They take two complementary forms, the ego memory and the alter

memory, reﬂecting the roles of the agents as both sender and receiver.

The ego memory E

(t)

AB

(r, s) is a time-dependent memory that agent A main-

tains about communications with agent B, where agent B provides the stimulus

s to which agent A gives response r. During the course of communication with

agent B, the corresponding ego memory is continuously updated based on the

notion that the ego memory derives from the relative frequency of stimulus-

response pairs. In general, an agent will have a distinct ego memory for each of

the other agents.

Before agents A and B have interacted, agent A’s ego memory E

(t)

AB

(r, s) (as

well as agent B’s counterpart E

(t)

BA

(r, s)) is undeﬁned. As agents A and B com-

municate through time t, they together produce a message sequence m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

t−1

, m

t

.

Assuming that agent B has sent the ﬁrst message, one view of the sequence is

that agent B has provided a sequence of stimuli m

1

, m

3

, . . . , m

t−3

, m

t−1

to which

agent A has provided a corresponding set of responses m

2

, m

4

, . . . , m

t−2

, m

t

. If

agent A began the communication, the ﬁrst message can be dropped from the

communication sequence; similarly, if agent B provided the ﬁnal message, this

“unanswered stimulus” can be dropped from the communication sequence.

With this view of stimuli and responses, the ego memory for agent A is

deﬁned by

E

(t)

AB

(r, s) =

2

t

t−1

i=1,3,5,...

δ

s

mi

δ

r

mi+1

, (3)

for all r and s. In Eq. (3), we assume that the memory has an inﬁnite capacity,

able to exactly treat any number of stimulus-response pairs. A natural and

desirable modiﬁcation is to consider memories with a ﬁnite capacity.

Limited memory could be incorporated in a variety of ways. The approach

we take is to introduce a “forgetting” parameter λ

(E)

A

, with a value from the

interval [0, 1], such that the ego memory is calculated as

E

(t)

AB

(r, s) = 2

1 −λ

(E)

A

1 −(λ

(E)

A

)

t

t

i=1,3,5,...

(λ

(E)

A

)

t−i−1

δ

r

mi+1

δ

s

mi

(4)

for all r and s. The memory of a particular message transmission decays expo-

nentially.

The alter memory A

(t)

AB

(r, s) is analogous to the ego memory, but with

the roles of sender and receiver reversed. Thus, A

(t)

AB

(r, s) is the memory that

agent A maintains about communications with agent B, where agent A provides

the stimulus s to which agent B gives response r. The procedure for calculating

the alter memory directly parallels that for the ego memory, except that the

messages sent by agent A are now identiﬁed as the stimuli and the messages

sent by agent B are now identiﬁed as the responses. The calculation otherwise

procedes as before, including making use of a forgetting parameter λ

(A)

A

for the

alter memory.

A useful symmetry often exists between the ego and alter memories of the

communicating agents. Using the alter memory A

(t)

AB

(r, s), agent A tracks the

9

responses of agent B to stimuli from agent A. This is exactly what agent B

tracks in its ego memory E

(t)

BA

(r, s). Thus, the memories of the two agents are

related by

A

(t)

AB

(r, s) = E

(t)

BA

(r, s) . (5)

However, Eq. (5) holds only if the agent memories are both inﬁnite or λ

(A)

A

=

λ

(E)

B

. The corresponding relation A

(t)

BA

(r, s) = E

(t)

AB

(r, s) holds as well when the

memories are both inﬁnite or λ

(E)

A

= λ

(A)

B

.

Besides the ego and alter memories, an agent has another memory called

the response disposition. The response disposition Q

A

of agent A is, like the

ego and alter memories, represented as a joint distribution, but there are many

marked diﬀerences. Signiﬁcantly, the response disposition is not associated with

another particular agent, but instead shows what the agent brings to all com-

munications. In particular, the response disposition can act like a general data

bank applicable to communication with any other agent. Further, the response

disposition changes more slowly, with no updates occurring during the communi-

cation process itself. Instead, the update occurs after communication sequences,

corresponding to an opportunity for reﬂection. In this work, we hold the re-

sponse dispositions ﬁxed, so we defer discussion of a possible update rule for the

response disposition to section 5.1.

3.3.2 Transition probability.

The memories of an agent are combined to produce a transition probability,

which is, in turn, used to randomly select messages. The form of the transition

probability is a generalization of that used by Dittrich et al. (2003). Diﬀerences

arise from the diﬀering goals of the two models: Dittrich et al. consider the

formation of social order, while we are interested in learning and innovation.

The transition probability is constructed so as to deal with several distinct

goals of communication. Because of this, we do not develop the transition

probability as an optimal selection rule according to one criteria, but rather as

a compromise between several conﬂicting goals arising in a situation of double

contingency. We consider three such goals: (1) dissemination of knowledge, (2)

satisfaction of expectations, and (3) treatment of individual uncertainty.

The ﬁrst goal of communication that we consider is dissemination of knowl-

edge. An agent tries to select messages that are correct for the situation. The

response disposition matches well with this notion, since, as discussed above,

it is a relatively stable memory of the general agent behavior in the particular

context.

The second goal of communication we consider is that an agent tries to

satisfy the expectations that its communication partner has about the agent

itself. This is the expectation-expectation. Consider communication between

agents A and B. While selecting which message to send, agent A estimates

what message agent B would expect to receive from agent A. In terms of the

memories of agent A, this is best expressed as the ego memory E

(t)

AB

(r, s). Thus,

what responses agent A has given to agent B in the past will be favored in the

future, so that there is a continual pressure for an agent to be consistent in its

responses.

The third goal of communication we consider is that an agent takes into

account the level of certainty of the expected response from its communication

10

partner. By favoring messages that lead to unpredictable responses, the agent

can pursue “interesting” lines of communication. Alternatively, the agent may

favor messages that lead to predictable responses, pursuing simpler (and more

comprehensible) communications.

A natural approach is for agent A to calculate, based on previous responses

of agent B, the uncertainty for each possible message r that it could send. This

corresponds to calculating the entropy based on the conditional alter memory

A

(t)

A|B

(r

′

| r), yielding

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

= −

r

′

A

(t)

A|B

(r

′

| r) log

nS

A

(t)

A|B

(r

′

| r) . (6)

The base of the logarithm is traditionally taken as 2, measuring the entropy

in bits, but in this work we take the base to be n

S

, the number of diﬀerent

messages relevant to the context. With this choice, the entropy take on values

from the interval [0, 1], regardless of the number of messages in the context.

The uncertainty H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

is closely related to the expectation-certainty

from Dittrich et al. (2003). Note that all possible messages r are considered, so

that agent A may send a message to agent B that is highly unlikely based on a

just-received stimulus. Thus, we expect that the goals of resolving uncertainty

and satisfying expectations will come into conﬂict.

The transition probability is assembled from the foregoing components into

a conditional probability distribution with form

U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) ∝ c

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s)+c

(A)

2

E

(t)

A|B

(r | s)+c

(A)

3

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

+c

(A)

4

1

n

S

.

(7)

The parameters c

(A)

1

, c

(A)

2

, and c

(A)

3

reﬂect the relative importance of the three

goals discussed above, while c

(A)

4

is an oﬀset that provides a randomizing el-

ement. The randomizing element provides a mechanism both for introducing

novel messages or transitions, and for handling the possibility of errors in mes-

sage coding or transmission. It also plays an important role on mathematical

grounds (see the appendix).

Note that we allow the parameter c

(A)

3

to be negative. A positive c

(A)

3

corre-

sponds to agent A favoring messages that lead to unpredictable responses, while

a negative c

(A)

3

corresponds to agent A “inhibiting” messages that lead to un-

predictable response, hence favoring messages leading to predictable responses.

When c

(A)

3

is negative, Eq. (7) could become negative. Since U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) is a

probability, we deal with this negative-value case by setting it to zero whenever

Eq. (7) gives a negative value.

Clearly, one may expect diﬀerent results in the outcome of communications

when c

(A)

3

is changed from a positive to a negative value. This is illustrated

mathematically in the appendix and numerically in section 4.2. We do, in fact,

observe a sharp transition in the entropy of the alter and ego memories of the

agent (measuring the average uncertainty in their response) near c

(A)

3

= 0. Note

however that the transition depends also on the other parameters and does not

necessarily occur exactly at c

(A)

3

= 0. This is discussed in the appendix. The

transition is somewhat reminiscent of what Dittrich et al. call the appearance

11

of social order, though our model is diﬀerent, especially because of the response

disposition which plays a crucial role in the transition.

Appropriate choice of the coeﬃcients c

(A)

1

, c

(A)

2

, c

(A)

3

, and c

(A)

4

allows the

transition probabilities used by Dittrich et al. to be constructed as a special

case of Eq. (7). In particular, their parameters α, c

f

, and N are related to the

ones used here by

c

(A)

1

= 0 (8)

c

(A)

2

= 1 −α (9)

c

(A)

3

= −α (10)

c

(A)

4

= n

S

_

α +

c

f

N

_

. (11)

Note ﬁnally that the transition probability given in Eq. (7) is not appropri-

ate for selecting the initial message of a communication sequence. However, the

response disposition provides a useful mechanism for selection of the initial mes-

sage. We calculate a marginal probability for the response r from the response

disposition Q

A

(r, s), using

Q

A

(r) =

s

Q

A

(r, s) . (12)

With the marginal probability of initial messages Q

A

(r) and the conditional

probability for responses U

(t)

A|B

(r | s), stochastic simulations of the model system

are relatively straightforward to implement programmatically.

4 Results.

4.1 Summary of mathematical results.

In this section we brieﬂy summarize the main mathematical results obtained in

the paper. A detailed description of the mathematical setting is given in the

appendix. Supporting numerical results are presented in section 4.2.

The model evolution is a stochastic process where the probability for an

agent to select a message is given by a transition matrix, as in a Markov pro-

cess. However, the transition matrix is history-dependent and the corresponding

process is not Markovian. The general mathematical framework for this type of

process is called “chains with complete connections.” (Maillard, 2003) A brief

overview is given in the appendix.

On mathematical grounds, a precise description of the pairwise interaction

between agents requires answering at least the following questions:

1. Does the evolution asymptotically lead to a stationary regime ?

2. What is the convergence rate and what is the nature of the transients?

3. How can we quantitatively characterize the asymptotic regime?

We address these brieﬂy below. Many other questions are, of course, possible.

Does the evolution asymptotically lead to a stationary regime? In the model,

convergence to a stationary state means that, after having exchanged suﬃciently

12

many symbols, the “perceptions”that each agent has of the other’s behavior

(alter memory) and of its own behavior (ego memory) have stabilized and do

not evolve any further. The probability that agent A provides a given symbol as

a response to some stimulus from agent B is not changed by further exchanges.

Mathematically, the convergence to a stationary state is not straightforward.

One cannot a priori exclude non-convergent regimes, such has cycles, quasi-

periodic behavior, chaotic or intermittent evolution, etc.. A cyclic evolution, for

example, could correspond to a cyclothymic agent whose reactions vary peri-

odically in time. More complex regimes would essentially correspond to agents

whose reactions evolves in an unpredictible way. Though such behaviours are

certainly interesting from a psychological point of view, they are not desirable

in a model intended to describe knowledge diﬀusion in a network of agents as-

sumed to be relatively “stable.” It is therefore desirable to identify conditions

that ensure the convergence to a stationary state. These conditions are dis-

cussed in the appendix. We also establish explicit equations for the memories

in the stationary state.

What is the convergence rate and what is the nature of the transients? This

answer to this question is as important as the previous one. Indeed, the in-

vestigated asymptotic behavior is based on the limit where communications

sequences are inﬁnitely long, while in real situations they are obviously ﬁnite.

However, if the characteristic time necessary for an agent to stabilize its behav-

ior is signiﬁcantly shorter than the typical duration of a communication, one

may consider that the asymptotic regime is reached and the corresponding re-

sults essentially apply. In the opposite case, the behavior is not stabilized and

important changes in the stimulus-response probabilities may still occur. This

transient regime is more diﬃcult to handle and we have focused on the ﬁrst

case. The characteristic time for the transients depends on the parameters c

1

through c

4

.

How can we quantitatively characterize the asymptotic regime? Addressing

this question basically requires identifying a set of relevant observables; that

is, a set of functions assigning to the current state of the two agent system a

number that corresponds to a rating of the communication process. We have

been obtained some mathematical and numerical results about the variations

of the observables when the coeﬃcients in Eq. (7) are changed. The most

salient feature is the existence of a sharp transition when c

3

changes its sign.

Simulations demonstrating the transition are presented in section 4.2.3.

We have chosen several observables. The entropy of a memory measures

the uncertainty or unpredictability of the stimulus-response relationship. A

memory with high entropy is representative of complex (and presumably hard

to understand) communication sequences. We inspect the entropy of both the

ego and alter memories. The distance or overlap between two memories mea-

sures how close are their representations of the stimulus-response relationship.

Particularly interesting is the distance between the response disposition of an

agent A and the alter memory another agent B maintains about agent A, which

shows the discrepancy between the actual behavior of agent A and agent B’s

expectation of that behavior. Note that this representation is necessarily biased

since agent B selects the stimuli it uses to acquire its knowledge about agent A.

This induces a bias (see appendix for a mathematical formulation of this).

To recap, in the appendix we provide a mathematical setting where we dis-

cuss the convergence of the dynamics to a state where memories are stabilized.

13

We obtain explicit equations for the asymptotic state and discuss how the so-

lutions depend on the model parameters. In particular, we show that a drastic

change occurs when c

3

is near zero. We assign to the asymptotic state a set of

observables measuring the quality of the communication according to diﬀerent

criteria.

4.2 Simulation results.

4.2.1 Types of agents.

A broad variety of agents can be realized from the deﬁnitions in section 3.3.

The value used for the response disposition reﬂects an individualized aspect of

an agent’s behavior, while the various other parameters allow a wide range of

strategies for communication. In Eq. (50), we give an analytic expression for

the memories in the asymptotic regime. However, an extensive study of the

solutions of this equation, depending on six independent parameters, is beyond

the scope of this paper. Instead, we focus in this section on a few situations

with diﬀerent types of agents, as characterized by their response dispositions.

One type of agent has a random response disposition matrix, created by se-

lecting each element uniformly from the interval [0, 1] and normalizing the total

probability. With random response dispositions of this sort, the contribution

to the agent behavior is complex but unique to each agent. A second type of

agent has its behavior restricted to a subset of the possibilities in the context,

never producing certain messages. A response disposition for this type of agent,

when presented as a matrix, can be expressed as a block structure, such as in

Fig. 1. A third and ﬁnal type of agent response disposition that we consider has

a banded structure, as in Fig. 7, allowing the agent to transmit any message

from the context, but with restricted transitions between them.

The parameters c

(A)

1

, c

(A)

2

, c

(A)

3

, and c

(A)

4

also play important roles in the

behavior of an agent A. We impose a constraint with the form

c

(A)

1

+c

(A)

2

+c

(A)

3

+c

(A)

4

= 1 . (13)

The constraint is in no way fundamental, but is useful for graphical presentation

of simulation results.

4.2.2 Complementary knowledge.

As an initial simulation, we consider communications between two agents with

block-structured response dispositions, as shown in Fig. 1. The number of mes-

sages is n

S

= 11. The elements of the probability matrices are shown as circles

whose sizes are proportional to the value of the matrix elements, with the sum

of the values equal to one.

The situation shown in Fig. 1 corresponds to a case of “complementary

knowledge,” where the agent behaviors are associated with distinct subdomains

of the larger context. Each response disposition matrix has a 7 ×7 block where

the elements have uniform values of 1/49, while all other elements are zero.

The blocks for the two agents have a non-zero overlap. The subdomain for

agent A deals with messages 1 through 7, while that for agent B deals with

messages 5 through 11. Thus, if agent B provides a stimulus from {5, 6, 7},

agent A responds with a message from {1, 2, . . . , 7} with equiprobability. The

14

coeﬃcients c

(A)

4

and c

(B)

4

are both set to 0.01. These terms are useful to handle

the response of the agent when the stimulus is “unknown” (i.e., it is not in the

appropriate block). In such a case, the agent responds to any stimulus message

with equal likelihood.

Communication between the two agents consists of a large number of short

communication sequences. We study the evolution of the alter and ego memories

of each agent as the number of completed communication sequences increases.

Each communication sequence consists of the exchange of 11 messages between

the two agents, with the agents taking part in 128000 successive communica-

tion sequences. For each communication sequence, one of the two agents is

chosen to select the initial message at random, independently of how previous

sequences were begun (randomly choosing this “starting agent” is intended to

avoid pathological behavior leading to non generic sequencies).

We ﬁrst checked the convergence of E

(t)

A

(r) to the ﬁrst mode of U

(t)

A|B

U

(t)

B|A

(see

section A.5). We measure the distance between these two vectors at the end of

the simulation. The distance tends to zero when the number of communication

sequences T increases, but it decreases slowly, like 1/T (as expected from the

central limit theorem). An example is presented in Fig. 2 for c

(A)

1

= c

(B)

1

= 0.99

and c

(A)

2

= c

(B)

2

= c

(A)

3

= c

(B)

3

= 0.

We next investigated four extremal cases (c

(X)

1

= 0.99; c

(X)

2

= 0; c

(X)

3

=

0; c

(X)

4

= 0.01), (c

(X)

1

= 0; c

(X)

2

= 0.99; c

(X)

3

= 0; c

(X)

4

= 0.01), (c

(X)

1

= 0; c

(X)

2

=

0; c

(X)

3

= 0.99; c

(X)

4

= 0.01), and (c

(X)

1

= 0.99; c

(X)

2

= 0.99; c

(X)

3

= −0.99; c

(X)

4

=

0.01). For each case, we ﬁrst examined the convergence to the asympotic regime.

We show the evolution of the joint entropy in Fig. 3. This allows us to estimate

the time needed to reach the asymptotic regime.

Next, we plotted the asymptotic values of the ego and alter memory of

agent A, averaged over several samples of the communication. They are shown

in Fig. 4 for λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 1. In Fig. 5, we show the values with a ﬁnite

memory (λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 0.99, corresponding to a characteristic time scale of

approximately 100 communication steps). Our main observations are:

1. c

(X)

1

= 0.99; c

(X)

2

= 0; c

(X)

3

= 0; c

(X)

4

= 0.01. The responses of each agent

are essentially determined by its response disposition. The asymptotic

behavior is given by P

(∞)

AB

and P

(∞)

BA

, the ﬁrst modes of the matrices Q

A

Q

B

and Q

B

Q

A

, respectively. Fig. 2 shows indeed the convergence to this state.

The asymptotic values of the alter and ego memories are given by Q

A

P

(∞)

BA

and Q

B

P

(∞)

AB

The memory matrices have a “blockwise” structure with a

block of maximal probability corresponding to the stimuli known by both

agents.

2. c

(X)

1

= 0; c

(X)

2

= 0.99; c

(X)

3

= 0; c

(X)

4

= 0.01. The response of each agent

is essentially determined by its ego memory. As expected, the maximal

variance is observed for this case. Indeed, there are long transient corre-

sponding to metastable states and there are many such states.

3. c

(X)

1

= 0; c

(X)

2

= 0; c

(X)

3

= 0.99; c

(X)

4

= 0.01. The response of each agent is

essentially determined by its alter memory, and the probability is higher

for selecting messages that induce responses with high uncertainty. Again,

the asymptotic state is the state of maximal entropy.

15

4. c

(X)

1

= 0.99; c

(X)

2

= 0.99; c

(X)

3

= −0.99; c

(X)

4

= 0.01. The response of each

agent is essentially determined by its alter memory, but the probability is

lower for selecting messages that induce responses with high uncertainty.

The asymptotic memories have an interesting structure. The alter and

ego memories have block structures like that of both agent’s response

dispositions, but translated in the set of messages exchanged (contrast

Figs. 1 and 5d). The eﬀect is clear if we keep in mind that, for agent A’s

ego memory, the stimulus is always given by agent B, while for agent A’s

alter memory, the stimulus is always given by agent A.

Finally, we note that, in this example, the asymptotic alter memory does

not become identical to the other agent’s response disposition. Indeed, the

perception that agent A has from agent B is biased by the fact that she chooses

always the stimuli according to her own preferences (described in the appendix

in more mathematical terms). A prominent illustration of this is given in Fig. 5d.

These simulations shows how the ﬁnal (asymptotic) outcome of the com-

munication may diﬀer when the parameters c

i

are set to diﬀerent, extremal

values. The role of the forgetting parameter is also important. In some sense,

the asymptotic matrix whose structure is the closest to the block structure of

the response dispositions is the matrix in Fig. 5d) where the agent are able to

“forget.” There is a higher contrast between the blocks seen in Fig. 4d when

λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 1.

4.2.3 Behavior dependence on the parameters c

1

, c

2

, c

3

, c

4

.

Based on theoretical (section A.4) and numerical (section 4.2.2) considerations,

one expects changes in the asymptotic regime as the parameters c

(A)

i

and c

(B)

i

vary. Note, however, that the general situation where agents A and B have

diﬀerent coeﬃcients requires investigations in an 8 dimensional space. Even if

we impose constraints of the form in Eq. (13), this only reduces the parameter

space to 6 dimensions An full investigation of the space of parameters is therefore

beyond the scope of this paper and will be done in a separate work. To produce

a managable parameter space, we focus here on the situation where agents A

and B have identical coeﬃcients and where c

4

is ﬁxed to a small value (0.01).

The number of messages exchanged by the agents is n

S

= 11.

To explore the reduced, c

1

c

2

space, we simulate communication between

two agents with response dispositions of both agents selected randomly (see

section 4.2.1 for details). We conduct 10000 successive communication sequences

of length 11 for each pair of agents. In each sequence, the agent that transmit

the ﬁrst message is selected at random. Therefore we have a total exchange of

110000 symbols.

We compute the asymptotic value of the joint entropy of the memories for

the communication process. Then we average the entropy over 100 realizations

of the response dispositions. This allows us to present, e.g., the entropy of the

alter memory as a function of c

1

and c

2

.

In Fig. 6, we show the joint entropy of the alter memory (the joint entropy of

the ego memory is similar). The parameters c

1

and c

2

both vary in the interval

[0, 0.99]. Consequently, c

3

∈ [−0.99 : 0.99]. There is an abrupt change in the

entropy close to the line c

1

+c

2

= 0.01 (c

3

= 0). The transition does not occur

exactly at said line, but depends on c

1

and c

2

.

16

The surface in Fig. 6 shows a drastic change in the unpredictability of the

pairs, and thus in the complexity of communications, when crossing a critical line

in the c

1

c

2

parameter space. Note, however, that the transition is not precisely

at c

3

= 0, but rather to a more complex line as discussed in the appendix.

4.2.4 Learning rates.

While the asymptoticly stable states of the memories are useful in understanding

the results of communication, they are not the only important factors. Addition-

ally, the rates at which the memories change can be important in determining

the value of communication. In particular, an inferior result quickly obtained

may be more desirable than a superior result reached later.

To investigate rates, we simulate communication between two distinct types

of agents exchanging n

S

= 5 messages. The ﬁrst type of agent is a “teacher”

agent A that has relatively simple behavior. Its response disposition has a

banded structure, shown in Fig. 7. The teacher agent has a ﬁxed behavior de-

pendent only upon its response disposition (c

(A)

2

= c

(A)

3

= c

(A)

4

= 0). The values

of λ

(A)

A

and λ

(E)

A

are irrelevant, since the alter and ego memories contribute

nothing.

The second type is a “learning” agent B that has more general behavior. The

learning agent has a random response disposition, as described in section 4.2.1.

In general, the learning agent uses all of its memories to determine the transition

probability, and we vary the values of c

(B)

1

, c

(B)

2

, c

(B)

3

, and c

(B)

4

to investigate the

dependence of learning on the various parameters. We take the memories to be

inﬁnite, λ

(A)

B

= λ

(E)

B

= 1.

To assess the simulations, we focus on how rapidly the learning agent is

able to learn the behavior of the teacher agent. It is natural to determine this

using the diﬀerence between the response disposition of the teacher agent and

the alter memory of the learning agent. We measure the diﬀerence using the

distance d

_

Q

A

, A

(t)

BA

_

, deﬁned by

d

2

_

Q

A

, A

(t)

BA

_

=

1

2

r,s

_

Q

A

(r, s) −A

(t)

BA

(r, s)

_

2

. (14)

The value of d

_

Q

A

, A

(t)

BA

_

always lies in the interval [0, 1].

A simple way to determine a learning rate from the memories is to base it

on the number of message exchanges it takes for the distance to ﬁrst become

smaller than some target distance. If N messages are exchanged before the

target distance is reached, the rate is simply 1/N. The simulated communication

can be limited to a ﬁnite number of exchanges with the learning rate set to zero

if the target is not reached during the simulation.

In Fig. 8, we show the learning rates for diﬀerent distances, averaged over 50

samples. In Fig. 8(a), the rate determined from a target distance of 0.1 is shown.

For this case, learning has a simple structure, generally proceeding more rapidly

with c

(B)

3

< 0. In contrast, Fig. 8(b) presents quite diﬀerent results based on a

target distance of 0.05, with more complex structure to the learning rates. In

this latter case, the fastest learning occurs with c

(B)

3

> 0. We note that inclusion

of the response disposition is crucial in this scenario. In particular, the learning

rate goes to zero if the learning agent suppresses its response disposition.

17

5 Outlook.

5.1 Assessment of communication sequences.

In section 3.3.1, we presented rules for updating the ego and alter memories

of an agent. These memories are updated during the course of communication

sequences in which the agent is involved. In contrast, the response disposition

is held ﬁxed during communication sequences. In this section, we present a

scheme for update of the response disposition, occuring intermittently at the

end of communication sequences.

1

Thus far, the response disposition Q

A

(r, s) has been presented as time inde-

pendent. To generalize this, we number the communication sequences and add

an index to the response disposition to indicate the sequence number, giving

Q

(T)

A

(r, s).

Not all communications are successful. For a two-party interaction, it is pos-

sible that either or both of the parties will gain nothing from the communication,

or that both beneﬁt. We can incorporate this into the model by introducing

an assessment process for allowing updates to the response dispositions of the

agents.

To begin the assessment process, we can ﬁrst calculate a joint probability

distribution representative of the message sequence that was constructed in the

communication process. Assuming the message sequence consists of k messages

labeled m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

k−1

, m

k

, we ﬁnd F

T

, the empirical frequency of message

pairs for communication sequence T, using

F

T

(r, s) =

1

k − 1

k

i=2

δ

r

mi

δ

s

mi−1

(15)

for all r and s. Note that Eq. (15) utilizes all of the messages exchanged in the

communication process, regardless of whether the agent ego and alter memories

have inﬁnite memories (i.e., λ

(A)

A

= λ

(E)

A

= 1) or undergo “forgetting” (i.e.,

λ

(A)

A

< 1 or λ

(E)

A

< 1). This is due to an assumed period of reﬂection in which

details of the communication process can be considered at greater length.

To actually make the comparison, we ﬁnd the distance between the behavior

expressed in the communication sequence (using F

T

) and that expressed by the

response disposition of the agents. A small distance is indicative of relevance

or usefulness of the communication sequence to the agent, while a great dis-

tance suggests that the communication sequence is, e.g., purely speculative or

impractical.

Focusing on agent A (a similar procedure is followed for agent B), we calcu-

late the distance d

_

F

T

, Q

(T)

A

_

using

d

2

_

F

T

, Q

(T)

A

_

=

1

2

r,s

_

F

T

(r, s) −Q

(T)

A

(r, s)

_

2

. (16)

Since F

T

and Q

(T)

A

are both probability distributions, the distance d

_

F

T

, Q

(T)

A

_

must lie in the interval [0, 1] The value of the distance must be below an accep-

1

For long communication sequences, the response disposition could be updated

periodically—but less frequently than the ego and alter memories—during the communication

sequence.

18

tance threshold η

A

that reﬂects the absorbative capacity of agent A, limiting

what communication sequences agent A accepts.

The above considerations are used to deﬁne an update rule for the response

disposition. Formally, this is

Q

(T)

A

= (1 −k

A

) Q

(T−1)

A

+k

A

F

T−1

, (17)

where the update rate k

A

is in the interval [0, 1]. The update rule in Eq. (17)

is applied if and only if d

_

F

T

, Q

(T)

A

_

< η

A

.

5.2 Communities of agents.

In this work, we have focused on communications between pairs of agents. The

agent deﬁnitions are posed in a manner that generalizes readily to larger groups

of agents. However, some extensions to the agents described in section 3.3

are needed, in order to introduce rules by which agents select communication

partners.

A reasonable approach is to base rules for selecting communication partners

on aﬃnities that the agents have for each other. Letting G

XY

be the aﬃnity

that agent X has for agent Y , we set the probability that agent X and agent Y

communicate to be proportional to G

XY

G

Y X

(the product is appropriate because

the aﬃnities need not be symmetric). A pair of agents to communicate can then

be chosen based on the combined aﬃnities of all the agents present in the system.

As a starting point, the aﬃnities can be assigned predetermined values,

deﬁning a ﬁxed network of agents. More interestingly, the aﬃnities can be

determined based on the agent memories, so that communication produces a

dynamically changing network. A natural approach to take is to compare the

behavior of an agent A with its expectation of the behavior of another agent B,

as represented by the alter memory A

(t)

AB

. For example, agents can be con-

structed to predominately communicate with other agents they assess as similar

by deﬁning

G

XY

=

k

k +d

, (18)

where k is a settable parameter and d is the distance deﬁned in Eq. (14). The

aﬃnities can be viewed as the weights in a graph describing the agent network.

The outcomes of communications experienced by agents will depend not

only on their intrinsic preferences and strategies, but also on the patterns of

relations—encoded by the aﬃnity graph—within which the agents are embed-

ded. The structure of the network may play an important role in inﬂuencing the

global spread of information or facilitating collective action. The interplay be-

tween network architecture and dynamical consequences is not straightforward,

since the properties of the graphs that are relevant to individual and collective

behavior of the agents will depend on the nature of the dynamical process de-

scribing the spread of information. This process can be understood in terms of

social contagion. Unlike classical epidemiological models, which assume spread

of contagion to be a memory-free process, agents exchanging information and

making decisions are aﬀected by both past and present interactions between

the agents. The probability of “infection” can exhibit threshold-like behavior,

with the probability of adopting some information changing suddenly after some

ﬁnite number of exposures (see, e.g., Blanchard et al., 2005).

19

6 Summary

In this work, we have introduced an agent-based model of factual communication

in social systems. The model draws on concepts from Luhmann’s theory of

social systems, and builds on an earlier model by Dittrich, Kron, and Banzhaf.

Agent communications are formulated as the exchange of distinct messages,

with message selection based on individual agent properties and the history of

the communication.

We expressed the model mathematically, in a form suitable for handling and

arbitrary number of agents. Agent memories are formulated using a number

of joint probability distributions. Two types of memories, the ego and alter

memories, are similar to the memories used by Dittrich et al., but we introduced

a response disposition showing individual communication preferences for the

agents. The response disposition allows us to model pre-existing knowledge,

as well as its dissemination. A selection probability for messages is calculated

from the memories, along with a randomizing term allowing for spontaneous

invention.

The selection probabilities are used to determine which messages the agents

exchange, but the selection probabilities themselves depend on the the messages

exchanged through the ego and alter memories. To analyze the properties of

the model, we focused on communication between pairs of agents (although

the mathematical formulation is suitable for larger numbers of agents). Using

analytic and numerical methods, we explored the asymptotic properties of the

agent memories and selection probability as the number of messages exchanged

becomes very large, identifying some conditions for the existence and uniqueness

of stable asymptotic solutions. Additionally, we investigated numerically the

properties of learning in shorter communication sequences.

Finally, we sketched out intended extensions of the model. We described

how the response dispositions of the agents might be updated based on com-

munications engaged in, and suggested how to handle larger groups of agents.

In particular, these two extensions appear suﬃcient for investigating how newly

introduced ideas can be either adopted or rejected in the community of agents.

Since an agent uses its response disposition in communications with any of the

other agents, the response disposition serves as a sort of general knowledge base,

in the form of messages and transitions between messages. By tracking changes

to the response disposition, we can distinguish between when an agent learns

some fact, accepting it as generally relevant to the communication context, and

when the agent has merely observed said fact without learning it. In networks of

agents, exploring learning of this sort allows a means to investigate how various

network structures facilitate or hinder the spread of novel communications. We

will pursue this line of questioning in future research.

Acknowledgments.

We are grateful to G. Maillard for helpful references and comments on the math-

ematical aspects. In addition we thank T. Kr¨ uger and W. Czerny for many use-

ful discussions. We would like to acknowledge support from the Funda¸ c˜ ao para

a Ciˆencia e a Tecnologia under Bolsa de Investiga¸ c˜ ao SFRH/BPD/9417/2002

(MJB) and Plurianual CCM (MJB, LS), as well as support from FEDER/POCTI,

20

project 40706/MAT/2001 (LS). Ph. Blanchard, E. Buchinger and B. Cessac

warmly acknowledge the CCM for its hospitality.

A Mathematical analysis.

In this appendix, we develop the mathematical aspects summarized in sec-

tion 4.1. The formalism presented here deals with the two-agent case, but some

aspects generalize to the multi-agent case. We are mainly interested in the

asymptotic behavior of the model, where the communication sequence between

the two agents is inﬁnitely long. Though this limit is not reached in concrete

situations, it can give us some idea of the system behavior for suﬃciently long

sequences. The asymptotic results essentially apply to the ﬁnite communication

sequence case, provided that the length of the sequence is longer than the largest

characteristic time for the transients (given by the spectral gap; see section A.4).

A.1 Basic statements.

Recall that U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) is the conditional probability that agent A selects mes-

sage r at time t given that agent B selected s at time t − 1. It is given by

Eq. (7),

U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) =

1

N

(t)

A|B

_

c

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +c

(A)

2

E

(t)

A|B

(r | s) +c

(A)

3

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

+

c

(A)

4

n

S

_

,

(19)

where H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

is

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

= −

nS

r

′

=1

A

(t)

A|B

(r

′

| r) log

nS

_

A

(t)

A|B

(r

′

| r)

_

. (20)

Note that this term does not depend on s. The normalization factor N

(t)

A|B

is

given by

N

(t)

A|B

= 1 +c

(A)

3

_

nS

r=1

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

−1

_

(21)

and does not depend on time when c

(A)

3

= 0. Moreover,

1 −c

(A)

3

≤ N

(t)

A|B

≤ 1 +c

(A)

3

(n

S

−1) . (22)

It will be useful in the following to write U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) in matrix form, so that

U

(t)

A|B

=

1

N

(t)

A|B

_

c

(A)

1

Q

A

+c

(A)

2

E

(t)

A|B

+c

(A)

3

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

_

+c

(A)

4

S

_

, (23)

with a corresponding equation for the U

(t)

B|A

. The matrix S is the uniform

conditional probability, with the form

S =

1

n

S

_

_

_

1 · · · 1

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1 · · · 1

_

_

_ . (24)

21

We use the notation H

_

A

(t)

A|B

_

for the matrix with the r, s element given by

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

.

For simplicity, we assume here that agent B always starts the communica-

tion sequence. This means that agent B selects the message at odd times t

and agent A selects at even times. When it does not harm the clarity of the

expressions, we will drop the subscripts labeling the agents from the transition

probabilities and call U

(t)

the transition matrix at time t, with the convention

that U

(2n)

≡ U

(2n)

A|B

and U

(2n+1)

≡ U

(2n+1)

B|A

. Where possible, we will further

simplify the presentation by focusing on just one of the agents, with the argu-

ment for the other determined by a straightforward exchange of the roles of the

agents.

A.2 Dynamics.

Call P

(t)

(r) the probability that the relevant agent selects message r at time

t. The evolution of P

(t)

(r) is determined by a one parameter family of (time

dependent) transition matrices, like in Markov chains. However, the evolution

is not Markovian since the transition matrices depend on the entire past history

(see section A.3).

Denote by ˜ m = m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

t−1

, m

t

, . . . an inﬁnite communication se-

quence where m

t

is the t-th exchanged symbol. The probability that the ﬁnite

subsequence m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

t−1

, m

t

has been selected is given by

Prob[m

t

, m

t−1

, . . . , m

2

, m

1

] =

U

(t)

(m

t

| m

t−1

) U

(t−1)

(m

t−1

| m

t−2

) . . . U

(2)

(m

2

| m

1

) P

(1)

(m

1

) . (25)

Thus,

P

(t)

= U

(t)

U

(t−1)

U

(t−2)

· · · U

(2)

P

(1)

. (26)

Since agent B selects the initial message, we have P

(1)

(r) =

nS

s=1

Q

B

(r, s). As

well, the joint probability of the sequential messages m

t

and m

t−1

is

Prob[m

t

, m

t−1

] = U

(t)

(m

t

| m

t−1

)P

(t−1)

(m

t−1

) . (27)

Note that the U

(t)

depend on the response dispositions. Therefore one can at

most expect statistical statements referring to some probability measure on the

space of response disposition matrices (recall that the selection probability for

the ﬁrst message is also determined by the response disposition). We therefore

need to consider statistical averages to characterize the typical behavior of the

model for ﬁxed values of the coeﬃcients c

(A)

i

and c

(B)

i

.

A.3 Existence and uniqueness of a stationary state.

In this section, we brieﬂy discuss the asymptotics of the ME model considered as

a stochastic process. The main objective is to show the existence and uniqueness

of a stationary state, given that the probability for a given message to be selected

at time t depends on the entire past (via the ego and alter memories). In the

case where c

2

= c

3

= 0, the ME model is basically a Markov process and it can

be handled with the standard results in the ﬁeld.

22

In the general case, one has ﬁrst to construct the probability on the set of

inﬁnite trajectories A

IN

where A = {1, 2, . . . n

S

} is the set of messages. The

corresponding sigma algebra F is constructed as usual with the cylinder sets.

In the ME model the transition probabilities corresponding to a given agent

are determined via the knowledge of the sequence of message pairs (second or-

der approach), but the following construction holds for an n-th order approach,

n ≥ 1, where the transition probabilities depends on a sequence of n uplets.

If m

1

, m

2

, . . . , m

t−1

, m

t

is a message sequence, we denote by ω

1

, ω

2

, . . . ω

k

the

sequence of pairs ω

1

= (m

1

, m

2

), ω

2

= (m

3

, m

4

), . . . ω

k

= (m

2k−1

, m

2k

). De-

note by ω

m

l

= (ω

l

. . . ω

m

), where m > l. We construct a family of conditional

probabilities given by

P

_

ω

t

= (r, s)|ω

t−1

1

¸

= c

1

Q(r, s)+c

2

E

_

ω

t

= (r, s)|ω

t−1

1

¸

+c

3

H

_

A

_

· | ω

t−1

1

¸_

(r)+c

4

(28)

for t > 1, where

E

_

ω

t

= (r, s)|ω

t−1

1

¸

=

1

t

t−1

k=1

χ(ω

k

= (r, s)) , (29)

with χ() being the indicatrix function (A

_

· | ω

t−1

1

¸

has the same form, see sec-

tion 3.3.1). For t = 1 the initial pair ω

1

is drawn using the response disposition

as described in the text. Call the corresponding initial probability µ.

We have

P

_

ω

m

n+1

|ω

n

1

¸

= P [ω

n+1

|ω

n

1

] P

_

ω

n+2

|ω

n+1

1

¸

. . . P

_

ω

m

|ω

m−1

1

¸

(30)

and, ∀m, l > 1,

ω

m−1

2

P

_

ω

m−1

2

|ω

1

¸

P

_

ω

m+l

m

|ω

m−1

1

¸

= P

_

ω

m+l

m

|ω

1

¸

. (31)

From this relation, we can deﬁne a probability on the cylinders

_

ω

m+l

m

_

by

P

_

ω

m+l

m

¸

=

ω1

P

_

ω

m+l

m

|ω

1

¸

µ(ω

1

) . (32)

This measure extends then on the space of trajectories

_

A

IN

, F

_

by Kolmogorov’s

theorem. It depends on the probability µ of choice for the ﬁrst symbol (hence it

depends on the response disposition of the starting agent). A stationary state

is then a shift invariant measure on the set of inﬁnite sequences. We have not

yet been able to ﬁnd rigorous conditions ensuring the existence of a stationary

state, but some arguments are given below. In the following, we assume this

existence.

Uniqueness is expected from standard ergodic argument whenever all tran-

sitions are permitted. This is the case when both c

4

> 0 and c

3

> 0 (the case

where c

3

is negative is trickier and is discussed below). When the invariant state

is unique, it is ergodic and in this case the empirical frequencies corresponding

to alter and ego memories converge (almost surely) to a limit corresponding

to the marginal probability P[ω] obtained from Eq. (32). Thus, the transition

matrices U

(t)

also converge to a limit.

23

In our model, uniqueness basically implies that the asymptotic behaviour of

the agent does not depend on the past. This convergence can be interpreted as a

stabilization of the behavior of each agent when communicating with the other.

After a suﬃciently long exchange of messages, each agent has a representation

of the other that does not evolve in time (alter memory). It may evaluate the

probability of all possible reactions to the possible stimuli, and this probability

is not modiﬁed by further exchanges. Its own behavior, and the corresponding

representation (ego memory), is similarly ﬁxed.

In the next section we derive explicit solutions for the asymptotic alter and

ego memories. We are able to identify several regions in the parameters space

where the solution is unique. But it is not excluded that several solutions exist,

especially for c

3

< 0. In this case, the long time behavior of the agent depends on

the initial conditions. A careful investigation of this point is, however, beyond

the scope of this paper.

Note that the kind of processes encountered in the ME model has interesting

relations with the so-called “chains with complete connections” (see Maillard,

2003) for a comprehensive introduction and detailed bibliography). There is

in particular an interesting relation between chains with complete connections

and the Dobrushin-Landford-Ruelle construction of Gibbs measures (Maillard,

2003). Note, however, that the transition probabilities in our model do not obey

the continuity property usual in the context of chains with complete connections.

A.4 Transients and asymptotics.

The time evolution and the asymptotic properties of Eq. (26) are determined

by the spectral properties of the matrix product U

(t)

U

(t−1)

U

(t−2)

. . . U

(2)

. As-

sume that the U

(t)

converge to a limit. Then, since the U

(t)

are conditional

probabilities, there exists, by the Perron-Frobenius theorem, an eigenvector as-

sociated with an eigenvalue 1, corresponding to a stationary state (the states

may be diﬀerent for odd and even times). The stationary state is not necessarily

unique. It is unique if there exist a time t

0

such that for all t > t

0

the matrices

U

(t)

are recurrent and aperiodic (ergodic). For c

3

> 0 and c

4

> 0, ergodicity

is assured by the presence of the matrix S, which allows transitions from any

message to any other message. This means that for positive c

3

the asymptotic

behavior of the agents does not depend on the history (but the transients depend

on it, and they can be very long).

For c

3

< 0, it is possible that some transitions allowed by the matrix S are

cancelled and that the transition matrix U

(t)

loses the recurrence property for

suﬃciently large t. In such a case, it is not even guaranteed that a stationary

regime exists.

The convergence rate of the process is determined by the spectrum of the

U

(t)

and especially by the spectral gap (distance between the largest eigenvalue

of one and the second largest eigenvalue). Consequently, studying the statistical

properties of the evolution for the spectrum of the U

(t)

provides information

such as the rate at which agent A has stabilized its behavior when communi-

cating with agent B.

The uncertainty term and the noise term play particular roles in the evolu-

tion determined by Eq. (23). First, the matrix S entering in the noise term has

eigenvalue 0 with multiplicity n

S

−1 and eigenvalue 1 with multiplicity 1. The

24

eigenvector corresponding to the latter eigenvalue is

u =

1

n

S

_

_

_

_

_

1

1

.

.

.

1

_

_

_

_

_

, (33)

which is the uniform probability vector, corresponding to maximal entropy.

Consequently, S is a projector onto u.

Second, the uncertainty term does not depend on the stimulus s. It cor-

responds therefore to a matrix where all the entries in a row are equal. More

precisely, set α

(t)

r

= H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

. Then one can write the corresponding

matrix in the form n

S

v

(t)

u

T

, where v

(t)

is the vector

v

(t)

=

_

_

_

_

_

_

α

(t)

1

α

(t)

2

.

.

.

α

(t)

nS

_

_

_

_

_

_

(34)

and u

T

is the transpose of u. It follows that the uncertainty term has a 0

eigenvalue with multiplicity n−1 and an eigenvalue

nS

r=1

H

_

A

(t)

A|B

(· | r)

_

with

corresponding eigenvector v

(t)

. It is also apparent that, for any probability

vector P, we have H

_

A

(t)

A|B

_

P = n

S

v

(t)

A

u

T

P = v

(t)

A

.

The action of U

(t)

on P

(t)

is then given by

P

(t+1)

A

= U

(t)

A|B

P

(t)

B

=

1

N

(t)

__

c

(A)

1

Q

A

+c

(A)

2

E

(t)

A|B

_

P

(t)

B

+c

(A)

3

v

(t)

A

+c

(A)

4

u

_

. (35)

The expression in Eq. (35) warrants several remarks. Recall that all the vectors

above have positive entries. Therefore the noise term c

(A)

4

u tends to “push” P

(t)

B

in the direction of the vector of maximal entropy, with the eﬀect of increasing

the entropy whatever the initial probability and the value of the coeﬃcients.

The uncertainty term c

(A)

3

v

(t)

A

plays a somewhat similar role in the sense that it

also has its image on a particular vector. However, this vector is not static, in-

stead depending on the evolution via the alter memory. Further, the coeﬃcient

c

(A)

3

may have either a positive or a negative value. A positive c

(A)

3

increases

the contribution of v

(t)

A

but a negative c

(A)

3

decreases the contribution. Conse-

quently, we expect drastic changes in the model evolution when we change the

sign of c

(A)

3

—see section 4.2 and especially Fig. 6 for a striking demonstration

of these changes.

A.5 Equations of the stationary state.

The inﬂuence of the coeﬃcients c

(A)

i

and c

(B)

i

is easier to handle when an asymp-

totic state, not necessarily unique and possibly sample dependent, is reached. In

this case, we must still distinguish between odd times (agent B active) and even

25

times (agent A active), that is, P

(t)

has two accumulation points depending

on whether t is odd or even. Call P

(∞)

A

(m) the probability that, in the sta-

tionary regime, agent A selects the message m during the communication with

agent B. In the same way, call P

(∞)

AB

(r, s) the asymptotic joint probability that

agent A responds with message r to a stimulus message s from agent B. Note

that, in general, P

(∞)

AB

(r, s) = P

(∞)

BA

(r, s), but P

(∞)

A

(m) =

s

P

(∞)

AB

(m, s) =

r

P

(∞)

BA

(r, m) and P

(∞)

B

(m) =

s

P

(∞)

BA

(m, s) =

r

P

(∞)

AB

(r, m) since each

message simultaneous is both a stimulus and a response.

Since alter and ego memories are empirical frequencies of stimulus-response

pairs, the convergence to a stationary state implies that E

(2n)

AB

(r, s) converges

to a limit E

(∞)

AB

(r, s) which is precisely the asymptotic probability of stimulus-

response pairs. Therefore, we have

E

(∞)

AB

(r, s) = P

(∞)

AB

(r, s) (36)

E

(∞)

BA

(r, s) = P

(∞)

BA

(r, s) . (37)

Thus, the U

(2n)

A|B

converge to a limit U

(∞)

A|B

, where

U

(∞)

A|B

=

1

N

(∞)

A|B

_

c

(A)

1

Q

A

+c

(A)

2

E

(∞)

A|B

+c

(A)

3

H

_

A

(∞)

A|B

_

+c

(A)

4

S

_

. (38)

From Eq. (27), we have P

(∞)

A

(r) =

s

U

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) P

(∞)

B

(s). Hence,

P

(∞)

A

= U

(∞)

A|B

P

(∞)

B

(39)

P

(∞)

B

= U

(∞)

B|A

P

(∞)

A

(40)

and

P

(∞)

A

= U

(∞)

A|B

U

(∞)

B|A

P

(∞)

A

(41)

P

(∞)

B

= U

(∞)

B|A

U

(∞)

A|B

P

(∞)

B

. (42)

It follows that the asymptotic probability P

(∞)

A

is an eigenvector of U

(∞)

A|B

U

(∞)

B|A

corresponding to the eigenvalue 1. We will call this eigenvector the ﬁrst mode

of the corresponding matrix. Therefore, the marginal ego memory of agent A

converges to the ﬁrst mode of U

(∞)

A|B

U

(∞)

B|A

. A numerical example is provided in

section 4.2.2.

Combining Eqs. (27) and (36), P

(∞)

AB

(r, s) = U

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) P

(∞)

B

(s) = E

(∞)

AB

(r, s).

But P

(∞)

B

(s) =

r

P

(∞)

AB

(r, s) =

r

E

(∞)

AB

(r, s), so

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = U

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) (43)

E

(∞)

B|A

(r | s) = U

(∞)

B|A

(r | s) . (44)

Therefore, using the relation E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = A

(∞)

B|A

(r | s), we have

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) =

1

N

(∞)

A|B

_

c

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +c

(A)

2

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) +c

(A)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

B|A

(· | r)

_

+c

(A)

4

_

(45)

26

E

(∞)

B|A

(r | s) =

1

N

(∞)

B|A

_

c

(B)

1

Q

B

(r | s) +c

(B)

2

E

(∞)

B|A

(r | s) +c

(B)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r)

_

+c

(B)

4

_

.

(46)

A.6 Solutions of the stationary equations.

Deﬁne

β

(A)

i

=

c

(A)

i

N

(∞)

i|A

−c

(A)

2

. (47)

With this deﬁnition, Eqs. (45) and (46) become:

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = β

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +β

(A)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

B|A

(· | r)

_

+β

(A)

4

(48)

E

(∞)

B|A

(r | s) = β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r | s) +β

(B)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r)

_

+β

(B)

4

. (49)

We next plug Eq. (49) into Eq. (48). After some manipulation, we obtain

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) =

β

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +β

(A)

4

+β

(A)

3

H

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(· | r) +β

(B)

4

_

−β

(A)

3

r

′

(β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r

′

| r) +β

(B)

4

) log

nS

_

_

1 +

β

(B)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r

′

| r) + β

(B)

4

_

_

−β

(A)

3

β

(B)

3

r

′

log

nS

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r

′

| r) +β

(B)

4

_

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

−β

(A)

3

β

(B)

3

r

′

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

log

nS

_

_

1 +

β

(B)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r

′

| r) +β

(B)

4

_

_

, (50)

which uncouples the expression for E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) from that for E

(∞)

B|A

(r | s). In

some sense, Eq. (50) provides a solution of the model with two agents, since it

captures the asymptotic behavior of the ego and alter memories (provided the

stationary regime exists). However, the solution to Eq. (50) is diﬃcult to obtain

for the general case and depends on all the parameters c

(A)

i

and c

(B)

i

. Below,

we discuss a few speciﬁc situations.

This form has the advantage that it accomodates series expansion in c

(A)

3

.

However, β

(A)

3

depends on E

(∞)

A|B

via the normalization factor from Eq. (21) and

high order terms in the expansion are tricky to obtain. Despite this, the bounds

given in Eq. (22) ensure that β

(A)

3

is small whenever c

(A)

3

is small. This allows

us to characterize the behavior of the model when c

(A)

3

changes its sign. This is

of principle importance, since we shall see that a transition occurs near c

3

= 0.

It is clear that the ﬁrst term in Eq. (50) is of order zero in β

(A)

3

, the second term

is of order one, and the remaining terms are of higher order.

When c

(A)

3

= 0, agent A does not use its alter memory in response selection.

Its asymptotic ego memory is a simple function of its response disposition, with

27

the form

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = β

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +β

(A)

4

. (51)

When c

(A)

3

is small, E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) becomes a nonlinear function of the conditional

response disposition for agent B, so that

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = β

(A)

1

Q

A

(r | s) +β

(A)

4

+β

(A)

3

H

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(· | r) +β

(B)

4

_

(52)

An explicit, unique solution exists in this case.

For small values of c

(A)

3

, the derivative of E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) with respect to c

(A)

3

is proportional to H

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(· | r) +β

(B)

4

_

. Note that the derivative depends

nonlinearly on the coeﬃcients c

(B)

1

and c

(B)

4

, and that, therefore, the level lines

H

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(· | r) +β

(B)

4

_

= C depend on c

(B)

1

and c

(B)

4

(see Fig. 6 where the

levels lines are drawn—they do not coincide with c

3

= 0). This slope can be

steep if the uncertainty in agent B’s response disposition is high. For example,

if c

(B)

1

is small, the entropy is high. There exists therefore a transition, possibly

sharp, near c

(A)

3

= 0.

As β

(A)

3

further increases, we must deal with a more complex, nonlinear

equation for the ego memory. In the general case, several solutions may exist.

A simple case corresponds to having c

(A)

3

= c

(B)

3

= 1. Indeed, in this case,

we have

E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s) = −β

(A)

3

β

(B)

3

r

′

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

log

nS

_

_

1 +

β

(B)

3

H

_

E

(∞)

A|B

(· | r

′

)

_

β

(B)

1

Q

B

(r

′

| r) +β

(B)

4

_

_

(53)

The right hand side is therefore independent of r and s. It is thus constant and

corresponds to a uniform E

(∞)

A|B

(r | s). Hence, using Eq. (43), the asymptotic

selection probability is also uniform and the asymptotic marginal probability

of messages P

(∞)

A

(r) is the uniform probability distribution, as described in

section A.5. Consistent with the choice of the coeﬃcients, P

(∞)

A

(r) has maximal

entropy.

Next, note that if c

(A)

2

is large (but strictly lower than one), convergence to

the stationary state is mainly dominated by the ego memory. However, since

the ego memory is based on actual message selections, the early communication

steps, where few messages have been exchanged and many of the E

(t)

AB

(r, s) are

zero, are driven by the response disposition and by the noise term. However,

as soon as the stimulus-response pair (r, s) has occurred once, the transition

probability U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) will be dominated by the ego term U

(t)

A|B

(r | s) and the

agent will tend to reproduce the previous answer. The noise term allows the

system to escape periodic cycles generated by the ego memory, but the time

required to reach the asymptotic state can be very long. In practical terms,

this means that when c

4

is small and c

2

is large for each of the two agents,

the communication will correspond to metastability, with limit cycles occurring

on long times. Also, though there exists a unique asymptotic state as soon as

c

4

> 0, there may exist a large number of distinct metastable state. Thus, when

c

2

is large for both agents, we expect an eﬀective (that is on the time scale of

28

a typical communication) ergodicity breaking with a wide variety of metastable

states.

To summarize, the roles of the various coeﬃcients in Eq. (19) are:

• c

1

emphasizes the role of the response disposition. When c

1

is nearly one

for both agents, the asympotic behavior is determined by the spectral

properties of the product of the conditional response disposition.

• c

2

enhances the tendency of an agent to reproduce its previous responses.

It has a strong inﬂuence on the transients and when c

2

is large, many

metastable states may be present.

• c

3

drives the agent to either pursue or avoid uncertainty. A positive c

3

favors the increase of entropy, while a negative c

3

penalizes responses

increasing the entropy.

• c

4

is a noise term ensuring ergodicity, even though the characteristic time

needed to reach stationarity (measured using, e.g., the spectral gap in the

asymptotic selection probability matrices) can be very long.

References

Jakob Arnoldi. Niklas Luhmann: an introduction. Theory, Culture & Society,

18(1):1–13, Feb 2001.

Dirk Baecker. Why systems? Theory, Culture & Society, 18(1):59–74, Feb 2001.

Ph. Blanchard, A. Krueger, T. Krueger, and P. Martin. The epidemics of cor-

ruption. URL http://arxiv.org/physics/0505031. Submitted to Phys.

Rev. E, 2005.

Peter Dittrich, Thomas Kron, and Wolfgang Banzhaf. On the scal-

ability of social order: Modeling the problem of double and multi

contingency following Luhmann. JASSS, 6(1), jan 31 2003. URL

http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/6/1/3.html.

Santo Fortunato and Dietrich Stauﬀer. Computer simulations of opinions.

In Sergio Albeverio, Volker Jentsch, and Holger Kantz, editors, Extreme

Events in Nature and Society. Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, 2005. URL

http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0501730.

Niklas Luhmann. Soziale Systeme. Suhrkamp, 1984.

Niklas Luhmann. Social Systems. Stanford University Press, 1995.

Niklas Luhmann. Einf¨ uhrung in die Systemtheorie. Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag,

second edition, 2004.

G. Maillard. Chaˆınes ` a liaisons compl`etes et mesures de Gibbs unidimension-

nelles. PhD thesis, Rouen, France, 2003.

C.E. Shannon. A mathematical theory of communication. The Bell Sys-

tem Technical Journal, 27:379–423, 623–656, July, October 1948. URL

http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/paper.html.

29

Dietrich Stauﬀer. How many diﬀerent parties can join into one stable govern-

ment? URL http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0307352. Preprint, 2003.

Dietrich Stauﬀer, Martin Hohnisch, and Sabine Pittnauer. The coevolution

of individual economic characteristics and socioeconomic networks. URL

http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0402670. Preprint, 2004.

Warren Weaver. Some recent contributions to the mathematical theory of com-

munication. In Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver, editors, The mathe-

matical theory of communication. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1949.

Gerard Weisbuch. Bounded conﬁdence and social networks. Eur. Phys. J. B,

38:339–343, 2004. URL http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0311279.

Gerard Weisbuch, Guillaume Deﬀuant, and Frederic Amblard. Persuasion

dynamics. Physica A: Statistical and Theoretical Physics, 2005. URL

http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0410200. In press.

30

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Stimulus

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

R

e

s

p

o

n

s

e

(a) agent A

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Stimulus

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

R

e

p

o

n

s

e

(b) agent B

Figure 1: Block-structured response dispositions. The size of the circle is pro-

portional to the value of the corresponding entry.

31

1000 10000 1e+05

t

0,0001

0,001

0,01

d

i

s

t

a

n

c

e

Empirical data

fit: 0.161*x^(-0.499)

Figure 2: Evolution of the distance between the vector E

(t)

A

(r) and the ﬁrst

mode of U

(∞)

A|B

U

(∞)

B|A

as the number of communication sequences increases.

0,6

0,7

0,8

0,9

1

S

S(A), λ=1

S(E), λ=1

S(A), λ=0.99

S(E), λ=0.99

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

0,6

0,7

0,8

0,9

1

c

1

=0; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

0 20000 40000 60000 80000 1e+05

t

0,6

0,8

1

S

c

1

=0; c

2

=0; c

3

=0.99; c

4

=0.01

0 20000 40000 60000 80000 1e+05

t

0

0,1

0,2

0,3

0,4

0,5

0,6

0,7

0,8

0,9

1

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=-0.99; c

4

=0.01

Figure 3: Evolution of the joint entropy of alter and ego memory with inﬁnite

(λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 1) and ﬁnite (λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 0.99) memories.

32

Alter

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

Ego

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0; c

3

=0.99; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0; c

3

=0.99; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=-0.99; c

4

=-0.01

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=-0.99; c

4

=0.01

Figure 4: Average asymptotic memories for agent A after 128000 communica-

tions steps, with inﬁnite memories. The matrices shown here are calculated by

averaging over 10 initial conditions. The sizes of the red circles are proportional

to the corresponding matrix elements, while the sizes of the blue squares are

proportional to the mean square deviations.

33

Alter

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

Ego

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=0; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0; c

3

=0.99; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0; c

2

=0; c

3

=0.99; c

4

=0.01

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=-0.99; c

4

=-0.01

c

1

=0.99; c

2

=0.99; c

3

=-0.99; c

4

=0.01

Figure 5: Average asymptotic memories for agent A after 128000 communica-

tions steps, with ﬁnite memories (λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 0.99). The matrices shown

here are calculated by averaging over 10 initial conditions. The sizes of the red

circles are proportional to the corresponding matrix elements, while the sizes of

the blue squares are proportional to the mean square deviations.

34

SAlter

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

c3

0.5

0

-0.5

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

c1

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

c2

-1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

(a) Inﬁnite memory (λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 1).

SAlter

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

c3

0.5

0

-0.5

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

c1

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

c2

-1

-0.5

0

0.5

1

(b) Inﬁnite memory (λ

(A)

= λ

(E)

= 1).

Figure 6: Asymptotic joint entropy for alter memory of agent A, with (a) inﬁnite

memories and (b) ﬁnite memories. The plane represents c

3

= 0. The colored

lines in the c

1

-c

2

plane are level lines for the joint entropy, while the black line

shows where the c

3

= 0 plane intersects the c

1

-c

2

plane.

35

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

0 1 2 3 4 5 6

R

e

s

p

o

n

s

e

Stimulus

Figure 7: Banded response disposition. The size of the circle is proportional to

the value of the corresponding entry.

36

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

0

0.002

0.004

0.006

0.008

0.01

0.012

0.014

0.016

Learning rate

0.015

0.01

0.005

c

1

c

2

Learning rate

(a) Target distance 0.10

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

0

0.0005

0.001

0.0015

0.002

0.0025

0.003

Learning rate

0.0025

0.002

0.0015

0.001

0.0005

c

1

c

2

Learning rate

(b) Target distance 0.05

Figure 8: Learning rates showing how rapidly the alter memory of the learning

agent approaches the response disposition of the teacher agent. The colored

lines in the c

1

-c

2

plane are level lines for the learning rates.

37

1997. The most relevant texts for the modeling of learning as a social process can be found in Social Systems chapter 4, “Communication and Action,” (p.137–175) and in chapter 8, “Structure and Time” (p.278–356). For readers who are interested in an exposition of Luhmann’s ideas we recommend for a start Einf¨hrung in die Systemtheorie (Luhmann, 2004) and the February, 2001 issue u of Theory, Culture and Society, particularly the contributions “Niklas Luhmann: An introduction” by Jakob Arnoldi and ”Why systems?” by Dirk Baecker. The present paper is the ﬁrst step of a common interdisciplinary work involving a sociologist and theoretical physicists. Our ultimate goal is to design a multi-agent model using the theoretical background of Luhmann’s theory and based on a mathematical formalization of a social process in which expectationdriven communication results in learning. We especially want to explore knowledge diﬀusion and interactive knowledge generation (innovation) in various social structures, represented essentially as dynamically evolving graphs. Primarily, we adopt a general point of view of modeling from theoretical physics and only secondarily intend to have an “as realistic as possible” model. Rather than putting “everything” in, the focus is to distinguish a few features in Luhmann’s theory that are relevant for our purposes, and propose a model that is possibly rough, but is tractable either on an analytical or numerical level. In some sense, this approach has allowed physicists in the two last centuries to extract general principles and laws from observation of nature. This permitted physics to transcend being simply a taxonomy of observations and instead to build general theories (an attempt to do the same in the life science seems to be ongoing). In particular, it is tempting to use the wisdom coming from dynamical systems theory and statistical mechanics to analyze models of social learning, and there is some research activity in this ﬁeld (Fortunato and Stauﬀer, 2005; Stauﬀer, 2003; Stauﬀer et al., 2004; Weisbuch, 2004; Weisbuch et al., 2005). On the one hand, dynamical systems theory provides mathematical tools to study the dynamical evolution of interacting agents at the “microscopic” level (speciﬁcally, the detailed evolution of each agent is considered). On the other, statistical physics allows in principle a description at the mesoscopic level (groups of agents) and macroscopic level (the population as a whole). However, though statistical physics gives accurate description of models in physics (such as the Ising model), one must attend to the (somewhat evident) fact that interactions between human beings are more complex than interactions usually considered in physics: they are non-symmetric, nonlinear, involve memory eﬀects, are not explicitly determined by an energy function, etc.. The present paper is an attempt to consider social mechanism beyond state-of-theart modeling We introduce a mathematical model portraying communication as an alternating exchange of messages by a pair of agents where memories of the past exchanges are used to build evolving reciprocal expectations. The resulting “interaction” is quite rich and complex. In fact, the pairwise interactions between agents, induced by communication, depend on various independent parameters, and tuning them can lead to drastic changes in the model properties. In the next pages we give some results in this direction, based on mathematical as well as numerical investigations. These results are a necessary foundation for handling the multi-agent case. The present model is a generalization of the work of Peter Dittrich, Thomas Krohn and Wolfgang Banzhaf (2003). Based on Luhmann’s theory of social 2

systems, they designed a model which describes the emergence of social order. We follow them in portraying communication as an alternating exchange of messages by a pair of agents. We use the memory structures they deﬁned as a starting point for our agents. The memories are the key to the formalization of the structure of expectation in their model and we take the same approach. However we introduce an additional form of memory to allow for individual variation in the normative and cognitive expectations of the agents whereby cognitions represent the ability to learn. The paper is divided into four sections. First the conceptual background is elaborated, followed by the mathematical deﬁnition of the model. After this, the main mathematical and simulation results are discussed. The text ends with an outlook on planned extensions of the model.

2

Conceptual background.

The concepts from information theory and social system theory which we use to model learning as a social process are: 1. Information and meaning structure, 2. Communication, 3. Double contingency and expectation-expectation, and 4. Learning.

2.1

Information and meaning structure.

The concept of information used in this paper originates with the mathematical theory of communication of Shannon and Weaver (1949), now known as information theory. First, information is deﬁned as being produced when one message is chosen from a set of messages (Shannon, 1948). The minimum requirement of information production is therefore a set of two messages and a “choice” (usually, the number of messages is higher, but ﬁnite). Second, information sources are characterized by entropy: That information be measured by entropy is, after all, natural when we remember that information, in communication theory, is associated with the amount of freedom of choice we have in constructing messages. Thus for a communication source one can say, just as he would also say it of a thermodynamic ensemble, ‘This situation is highly organized, it is not characterized by a large degree of randomness or of choice—that is to say, the information (or the entropy) is low.’ Weaver, 1949, pg. 13 This means that the greater the freedom of choice and consequently the greater the amount of information, the greater is the uncertainty that a particular message will be selected. Thus, greater freedom of choice, greater uncertainty and greater information go hand in hand. In information theory this is called ”desired uncertainty”. It is important to note that this uncertainty-based 3

information sources) to organize the process of information selection. . pg. pg. pg.concept of information must not be confused with meaning. meaning is addressed prominently. 2. although all meaning reproduction occurs via information (and to this extent can be called information processing). in other words. .e. By information we mean an event that selects system states. This is possible only for structures that delimit and presort possibilities. this is irrelevant to the mathematical formulation of information on the basis of uncertainty and entropy. 1995): 1. selection is necessary to produce information. Communication as social process depends on the availability of information producing agents. demands that meaning and information must be distinguished. It is conceptualized as the durable complement of the transient information. and all information has meaning. Contrary to that. below. communication units are the central element of analysis in social system theory and agents are conceptualized according to their contribution to communication units. but rather an event that actualizes the use of structures. the historically evolved general meaning structure is represented on the micro level (i. Although messages usually do have meaning. . 67 According to social systems theory. The present model considers both information and personal meaning structure. agent level) in form of the personal life-world (Luhmann. .. Time itself. Information presupposes structure. Information is produced by selection from a structured repertoire of possibilities by an agent (ego).e. yet is not itself a structure. A personal meaningworld represents a structural pre-selected repertoire of possible references. a history of meaning has already consolidated structures that we treat as self-evident today. Individuals or other agents are therefore often the elemental unit of sociological communication analysis. Luhmann.. The theory of social systems refers to Shannon and Weaver and uses as starting point the same deﬁnition: information is a selection from a repertoire of possibilities (Luhmann. Meaning structure provides a mental map for selection but does not replace it. in a simpliﬁed manner. 1995. 70). can have the same amount of information. . 1995. 140). The agent (ego) must choose a behavior that expresses the produced information (act of utterance).2 Communication unit and communication sequence. one heavily loaded with meaning and the other of pure nonsense. All together. 1995. But contrary to information theory. the one is not possible without the other— information production presupposes meaning and the actualization of meaning is done by information production. Two messages. Information is treated in the above described mathematical form and meaning structures in the form of a second order approach (pairwise combination). Although the repertoire of possibilities is conﬁned. This will be developed in section 3. 2. . Each communication unit consists of three selections (Luhmann. psychic systems. 4 . Meaning is a complex referential structure which is used by psychic systems (i.

agents do not have the option to reject a message or to refuse to answer. 96. 2. contingency arises because agents are complex systems that are “black boxes” for each other. Another agent (alter) must understand what it means to accept ego’s selection. Alter receives the sent message. ego and alter act on the assumption that each life-world is part of the same general meaning world in which information can be true or false. pp. On the other hand. Every communication unit is therefore recursively secured in possibilities of understanding and the control of understanding in the connective context. if one communication unit follows another. it is a positive test that the preceding communication unit was understood suﬃciently.e. i.e. This assumption of shared meaning structures allows ego to generate an expectation of success. Within the present version of the ME-model.. at least a minimum extent of understanding (i. A communication sequence is constituted by one communication unit following another. two business partners meeting antemeridian expect from each other that the adequate greeting is good morning (and not good evening. Ego selects a message. In social system theory. Their “freedom” is incorporated in the process of message-selection. Once the selection process is ﬁnalized. First. 402)—embedded 5 . Agents create expectations about the future actions of the other agents to adjust their own actions. the term message is used to to describe the three parts of the communication unit. The reciprocity of social situations (two agents: ego and alter) results in double contingency: ego contingency and alter contingency. An agent will never know exactly what the other will do next. From this follows that the model is in its core a message exchange model (ME-model) and starts with a list of messages. This is a situation with high expectational security.). The three-part unity is now: 1. the ”black-box problem” is solved by expectations. 2. Information production includes therefore that ego not only views itself as part of a general meaning world but assumes also that the same is true for alter.3 Double contingency and expectation-expectation. fulﬁllment of expectation of success) is necessary for the generation of a communication sequence. Second.3. the expectational security may decrease (will the other answer my greeting?). The example illustrates that expectations are condensed forms of meaning structures (Luhmann. For example.. the dynamics of a communication sequence are explained by contingency and expectation. etc. In the present model. can be uttered. In other words. 3. the expectation that the selection will be accepted by alter. On the one hand. Agents can be distinguished by the number of messages they are able to use or able to learn in a certain period of time and by their selection strategies. and can be understood. 1995. If the two had a conﬂict last time they met. the message is sent.

disappointment will not alter normative expectations. Well-known expectational nexuses in sociology are persons. ego and alter have situation-speciﬁc reciprocal expectations. the agents are the relevant expectational nexuses. individually symbolized orientation perspectives. choices). 2.in the personal life-world they provide an agent-related mental map for communicational decisions (i. One way to establish expectations that are relatively stabilized over time is through relation to something which is not itself an event but has duration. values are highly general. Learning in social system theory is related to the concept of expectation by distinguishing between norms and cognitions. For cognitive expectations. roles. Normative expectations are relatively ﬁxed over time and remain more or less unchanged. But as structures of social systems expectations acquire social relevance and thus suitability only if. disappointment will be the reaction. 303 The duplication of contingency causes the duplication of expectation: • Ego has expectations vis-`-vis alter. Persons are societally constituted for the sake of ordering of behavioral expectations. In social systems. but not lease. alter builds expectations about “ego’s expectations of alter. the opposite is true. This is how expectation can order a social ﬁeld that includes more than one participant. expectations are the temporal form in which structures develop. on their part. pg.” that is expectation-expectation. In complex societies. Within the ME-Model in its present form. and values. • Therefore. Most people would hope that such a person would behave less disappointingly next time. Someone is ready to change them if reality 6 . it is necessary to have stabilizing factors. a • Alter knows that ego expects something from him/her but can never know what exactly the expectation is (black-box!). expectational security is diﬃcult. not only in the sense of a diﬀuse accompanying consciousness but so that it knows it is anticipated as anticipating. Therefore. Only in this way can situations with double contingency be ordered.. They are equipped with expectation and expectationexpectation memories. Normally. Luhmann. Ego must be able to anticipate what alter anticipates of him to make his own anticipations and behavior agree with alter’s anticipation. programs. Roles serve—compared with persons—as a more abstract perspective for the identiﬁcation of expectations. Last.e. Based on the societally given and biographically determined structures of expectations. selections. Expectations must become reﬂexive: it must be able to relate to itself. Programs—a further level of abstraction—describe the orientation toward goals. they can be anticipated.4 Learning. If normative expectations are not fulﬁlled. 1995.

The ME-Model considers both normative and cognitive expectations. and instead simply number them from 1 to nS . 1995. However. In day-to-day situations. Implicit in the message transmission process is a coding procedure: the sender encodes the message in some way before sending. The sharp distinction between normative and cognitive expectations is analytical. selecting a new message to transmit is equivalent to a state transition— the agent holding up a new sign. A construction by Dittrich et al. Agents take turns sending messages to each other. nor the medium in which the encoded message is sent. “Only in such mixed forms can a readiness for expectation be extended to ﬁelds of meaning and modes of behavior that are so complex one cannot blindly trust in an assumed course of action. while the receiver decodes it in a possibly diﬀerent way after receipt. they observe the foregoing sequence of messages.2 Communication sequences. Messages are context dependent. while earlier messages are of lesser or negligible importance. 3 3. unanticipated aspects. Thus. with the number of messages relevant to a given context assumed to be ﬁnite.reveals other. A message is ﬁrst selected. within the context the messages are independent of one another and all messages are of equal relevance. pp. We do not consider the details of the coding process. In the model.” (Luhmann. We do not concern ourselves here with giving a real-world interpretation to the messages. (2003) illustrates this in a readily accessible fashion: each agent has a number of signs available. In doing so. then sent. Messages are transmitted through a multi-step process. expectations which are disposed toward learning are stylized as cognitions. Messages. we do assume the coding process to be of high quality. learning occurs with less friction.1 Model deﬁnition. and ﬁnally recognized by the receiver. This suggests that a reasonable approximation of the selection process is to consider only a ﬁnite number of preceding messages. and must select the next message in the sequence. As a consequence. Therefore. the emphasis is placed on cognitions. one can assume that a mixture of cognitive and normative elements is prevailing. We anticipate that the message selected will depend most strongly on the most recent messages in the sequence. However. while expectations which are not disposed toward learning are called norms. The messages are thus similar to a minimal set of fundamental concepts. the fundamental elements of inter-agent communication are messages. and communicates a message by holding up the appropriate sign. 3. the number of messages. 321) Nevertheless. 7 . It can be convenient to recognize that messages transmitted by an agent are formally equivalent to states of the agent. as the diﬀerence between cognitive and normative expectations is made clearer.

s) the joint probability that agent A maintains at time t. (2) EA|B (r | s) = EAB (r. consider the ego memory (deﬁned fully (t) below).3. the agents should select the message based on the statistics of subsequences of various lengths. In this paper. dealing with pairs of messages. A ﬁrst-order approximation considers messages of length one. estimating the likelihood that agent B will transmit a message s to which agent A will respond with a message r. we use several forms of probabilities in the deﬁnition. In this section. showing correlations between messages in the sequences. showing the likelihood of agent A responding with message r given that agent B has already transmitted message s. 3. the agent deﬁnitions are posed in a manner that can be generalized to communities of agents. Essentially. A second-order approximation is the simplest case in which relationships between messages become important. However. it is vitally important to recognize that each message is simultaneously used as both stimulus and response. (2003). Second. s) (t) 8 . ignoring how the messages actually appear in sequences. showing the relative frequency with which the messages appear in sequences. an agent maintains a number of memories that describe statistics of message sequences in which it has taken part. Agent memories fall broadly into two classes: (1) memories of the details of particular communication sequences between one agent (ego) and another agent (alter) and (2) long-term memories reﬂecting the general disposition of a single agent. Although we focus in this work on communications between pairs of agents. showing the likelihood of agent A responding with message r regardless of what message agent B sends.3. 3. See section 5. Finally. and can be usefully interpreted as dealing with stimuli and responses. All of the memories are represented as probability distributions over stimuli and responses. Second. Thus. we focus exclusively on a second-order approximation. For example.and higher-order approximations consider runs of messages. s) EAB (r.2. A zeroth-order approximation considers only message identity. see section 3. and analysis of the agent memories. we use the conditional (t) probability EA|B (r | s). We denote by EAB (r.1 Memories.2 for discussion of how the model could be extended to handle groups of agents. These three probabilities are related by EA (r) (t) (t) = s EAB (r. and has a rule for using those memories to select a response message to a stimulus message. s) r (t) (t) (1) . use. The agents are a generalization of the agents used by Dittrich et al. In fact. The length of the subsequences in such approximations deﬁne the order of the approximation.3 Agents. we use the (t) marginal probability EA (r). we formally deﬁne the agents.rather than the complete sequence.

(3). . 1]. the ego memory for agent A is deﬁned by t−1 2 (t) EAB (r. m3 . an agent will have a distinct ego memory for each of the other agents. this “unanswered stimulus” can be dropped from the communication sequence. The procedure for calculating the alter memory directly parallels that for the ego memory. mt . During the course of communication with agent B. A natural and desirable modiﬁcation is to consider memories with a ﬁnite capacity. s) (as (t) well as agent B’s counterpart EBA (r. if agent B provided the ﬁnal message.5. . mt−3 . In general. .. s) = 2 (t) 1 − λA (E) t s r (λA )t−i−1 δmi+1 δmi i=1. Assuming that agent B has sent the ﬁrst message. Thus. If agent A began the communication. mt−1 to which agent A has provided a corresponding set of responses m2 . The memories of communications are patterned after those used by Dittrich et al.. mt . m4 . The memory of a particular message transmission decays exponentially. except that the messages sent by agent A are now identiﬁed as the stimuli and the messages sent by agent B are now identiﬁed as the responses. mi mi+1 for all r and s. m2 . In Eq. Limited memory could be incorporated in a variety of ways. Using the alter memory AAB (r.. As agents A and B communicate through time t. where agent A provides the stimulus s to which agent B gives response r. mt−2 . (t) The alter memory AAB (r. . AAB (r. they together produce a message sequence m1 .. but with (t) the roles of sender and receiver reversed. . including making use of a forgetting parameter λA for the alter memory. the ﬁrst message can be dropped from the communication sequence. with a value from the interval [0. one view of the sequence is that agent B has provided a sequence of stimuli m1 . the ego memory and the alter memory. similarly.We use similar notation for all the memories (and other probabilities) in this work. (t) Before agents A and B have interacted. able to exactly treat any number of stimulus-response pairs. such that the ego memory is calculated as EAB (r. agent A tracks the 9 .. The approach (E) we take is to introduce a “forgetting” parameter λA . s) is analogous to the ego memory.3. . . With this view of stimuli and responses.3. They take two complementary forms.5. The calculation otherwise (A) procedes as before. . mt−1 . . . s). we assume that the memory has an inﬁnite capacity. (3) δs δr t i=1.. s) is the memory that agent A maintains about communications with agent B. (2003). where agent B provides the stimulus s to which agent A gives response r. s) is a time-dependent memory that agent A maintains about communications with agent B. the corresponding ego memory is continuously updated based on the notion that the ego memory derives from the relative frequency of stimulusresponse pairs. A useful symmetry often exists between the ego and alter memories of the (t) communicating agents. s)) is undeﬁned. . agent A’s ego memory EAB (r. (t) The ego memory EAB (r. . (E) 1 − (λA )t (E) (4) for all r and s. s) = . reﬂecting the roles of the agents as both sender and receiver.

The second goal of communication we consider is that an agent tries to satisfy the expectations that its communication partner has about the agent itself. s) . 3. Thus.2 Transition probability. s). an agent has another memory called the response disposition. The response disposition QA of agent A is. and (3) treatment of individual uncertainty. In this work. we do not develop the transition probability as an optimal selection rule according to one criteria. (5) However. Besides the ego and alter memories. this is best expressed as the ego memory EAB (r. used to randomly select messages. (5) holds only if the agent memories are both inﬁnite or λA = (E) (t) (t) λB . The transition probability is constructed so as to deal with several distinct goals of communication. s) = EBA (r. so that there is a continual pressure for an agent to be consistent in its responses. with no updates occurring during the communication process itself. the response disposition is not associated with another particular agent. The form of the transition probability is a generalization of that used by Dittrich et al. Thus. Further. corresponding to an opportunity for reﬂection. The response disposition matches well with this notion. represented as a joint distribution. what responses agent A has given to agent B in the past will be favored in the future. Signiﬁcantly. Diﬀerences arise from the diﬀering goals of the two models: Dittrich et al. s). we hold the response dispositions ﬁxed. Eq.3. it is a relatively stable memory of the general agent behavior in the particular context. consider the formation of social order. the update occurs after communication sequences. which is. but rather as a compromise between several conﬂicting goals arising in a situation of double contingency. We consider three such goals: (1) dissemination of knowledge. like the ego and alter memories. the memories of the two agents are related by (t) (t) AAB (r. The corresponding relation ABA (r. Consider communication between agents A and B. in turn. s) holds as well when the (A) (E) memories are both inﬁnite or λA = λB . agent A estimates what message agent B would expect to receive from agent A. (2) satisfaction of expectations.1. An agent tries to select messages that are correct for the situation. s) = EAB (r. as discussed above. While selecting which message to send. Instead. This is the expectation-expectation. while we are interested in learning and innovation. the response disposition changes more slowly. In terms of the (t) memories of agent A. The third goal of communication we consider is that an agent takes into account the level of certainty of the expected response from its communication 10 . since. but there are many marked diﬀerences. but instead shows what the agent brings to all communications. (2003). Because of this. the response disposition can act like a general data bank applicable to communication with any other agent.responses of agent B to stimuli from agent A. In particular. (A) The memories of an agent are combined to produce a transition probability. so we defer discussion of a possible update rule for the response disposition to section 5. This is exactly what agent B (t) tracks in its ego memory EBA (r. The ﬁrst goal of communication that we consider is dissemination of knowledge.

the agent can pursue “interesting” lines of communication. By favoring messages that lead to unpredictable responses. We do. but in this work we take the base to be nS . observe a sharp transition in the entropy of the alter and ego memories of the (A) agent (measuring the average uncertainty in their response) near c3 = 0. With this choice. Eq. This is illustrated mathematically in the appendix and numerically in section 4. (A) (A) Note that we allow the parameter c3 to be negative. (7) could become negative. (7) The parameters goals discussed above. Note that all possible messages r are considered. Note however that the transition depends also on the other parameters and does not (A) necessarily occur exactly at c3 = 0. yielding H AA|B (· | r) = − r′ (t) AA|B (r′ | r) lognS AA|B (r′ | r) (t) (t) . and for handling the possibility of errors in message coding or transmission. Thus. (t) (A) (A) (t) (A) (t) (A) (t) 1 nS . (2003). while (A) a negative c3 corresponds to agent A “inhibiting” messages that lead to unpredictable response. pursuing simpler (and more comprehensible) communications.partner. The transition is somewhat reminiscent of what Dittrich et al. we expect that the goals of resolving uncertainty and satisfying expectations will come into conﬂict. The uncertainty H AA|B (· | r) is closely related to the expectation-certainty from Dittrich et al. the entropy take on values from the interval [0. Clearly. ement. This corresponds to calculating the entropy based on the conditional alter memory (t) AA|B (r′ | r). the number of diﬀerent messages relevant to the context. we deal with this negative-value case by setting it to zero whenever Eq. (A) c2 . hence favoring messages leading to predictable responses. (6) The base of the logarithm is traditionally taken as 2. A natural approach is for agent A to calculate. Alternatively. so that agent A may send a message to agent B that is highly unlikely based on a just-received stimulus. It also plays an important role on mathematical grounds (see the appendix). The transition probability is assembled from the foregoing components into a conditional probability distribution with form UA|B (r | s) ∝ c1 QA (r | s)+ c2 EA|B (r | s) + c3 H AA|B (· | r) + c4 (A) c1 . Since UA|B (r | s) is a probability. one may expect diﬀerent results in the outcome of communications (A) when c3 is changed from a positive to a negative value. the agent may favor messages that lead to predictable responses.2. A positive c3 corresponds to agent A favoring messages that lead to unpredictable responses. (A) (t) When c3 is negative. This is discussed in the appendix. based on previous responses of agent B. in fact. (7) gives a negative value. regardless of the number of messages in the context. call the appearance (A) and c3 reﬂect the relative importance of the three (A) while c4 is an oﬀset that provides a randomizing el- 11 . 1]. the uncertainty for each possible message r that it could send. The randomizing element provides a mechanism both for introducing novel messages or transitions. measuring the entropy in bits.

(12) With the marginal probability of initial messages QA (r) and the conditional (t) probability for responses UA|B (r | s). (7) is not appropriate for selecting the initial message of a communication sequence. the response disposition provides a useful mechanism for selection of the initial message. and N are related to the ones used here by c1 (A) = = = = 0 1−α −α nS cf α+ N . c3 . The model evolution is a stochastic process where the probability for an agent to select a message is given by a transition matrix. On mathematical grounds.1 Results. the transition matrix is history-dependent and the corresponding process is not Markovian. (7). though our model is diﬀerent. as in a Markov process. cf . Summary of mathematical results. The general mathematical framework for this type of process is called “chains with complete connections. to be constructed as a special case of Eq. A detailed description of the mathematical setting is given in the appendix. their parameters α. Many other questions are. using QA (r) = s QA (r. We calculate a marginal probability for the response r from the response disposition QA (r. convergence to a stationary state means that. Supporting numerical results are presented in section 4. and c4 allows the transition probabilities used by Dittrich et al. (8) (9) (10) (11) (A) c2 (A) c3 (A) c4 Note ﬁnally that the transition probability given in Eq. s). In this section we brieﬂy summarize the main mathematical results obtained in the paper. a precise description of the pairwise interaction between agents requires answering at least the following questions: 1. c2 . s) . Does the evolution asymptotically lead to a stationary regime? In the model. However. How can we quantitatively characterize the asymptotic regime? We address these brieﬂy below. stochastic simulations of the model system are relatively straightforward to implement programmatically. However. especially because of the response disposition which plays a crucial role in the transition. What is the convergence rate and what is the nature of the transients? 3. 2003) A brief overview is given in the appendix.2. possible. of course.of social order. after having exchanged suﬃciently 12 . Does the evolution asymptotically lead to a stationary regime ? 2. In particular. 4 4. (A) (A) (A) (A) Appropriate choice of the coeﬃcients c1 .” (Maillard.

many symbols.” It is therefore desirable to identify conditions that ensure the convergence to a stationary state. This transient regime is more diﬃcult to handle and we have focused on the ﬁrst case. This induces a bias (see appendix for a mathematical formulation of this). which shows the discrepancy between the actual behavior of agent A and agent B’s expectation of that behavior. One cannot a priori exclude non-convergent regimes.. Particularly interesting is the distance between the response disposition of an agent A and the alter memory another agent B maintains about agent A. etc. A cyclic evolution. Indeed. could correspond to a cyclothymic agent whose reactions vary periodically in time. a set of functions assigning to the current state of the two agent system a number that corresponds to a rating of the communication process. Though such behaviours are certainly interesting from a psychological point of view. We have been obtained some mathematical and numerical results about the variations of the observables when the coeﬃcients in Eq. one may consider that the asymptotic regime is reached and the corresponding results essentially apply. if the characteristic time necessary for an agent to stabilize its behavior is signiﬁcantly shorter than the typical duration of a communication. Note that this representation is necessarily biased since agent B selects the stimuli it uses to acquire its knowledge about agent A.3. for example. the “perceptions”that each agent has of the other’s behavior (alter memory) and of its own behavior (ego memory) have stabilized and do not evolve any further. More complex regimes would essentially correspond to agents whose reactions evolves in an unpredictible way. while in real situations they are obviously ﬁnite. quasiperiodic behavior. The most salient feature is the existence of a sharp transition when c3 changes its sign. such has cycles. the behavior is not stabilized and important changes in the stimulus-response probabilities may still occur. Simulations demonstrating the transition are presented in section 4. chaotic or intermittent evolution. The distance or overlap between two memories measures how close are their representations of the stimulus-response relationship. Mathematically. These conditions are discussed in the appendix. the convergence to a stationary state is not straightforward. 13 . they are not desirable in a model intended to describe knowledge diﬀusion in a network of agents assumed to be relatively “stable. We also establish explicit equations for the memories in the stationary state. How can we quantitatively characterize the asymptotic regime? Addressing this question basically requires identifying a set of relevant observables. The probability that agent A provides a given symbol as a response to some stimulus from agent B is not changed by further exchanges. We inspect the entropy of both the ego and alter memories. that is. the investigated asymptotic behavior is based on the limit where communications sequences are inﬁnitely long.2. We have chosen several observables. However. To recap. A memory with high entropy is representative of complex (and presumably hard to understand) communication sequences. (7) are changed. in the appendix we provide a mathematical setting where we discuss the convergence of the dynamics to a state where memories are stabilized. In the opposite case. The entropy of a memory measures the uncertainty or unpredictability of the stimulus-response relationship. What is the convergence rate and what is the nature of the transients? This answer to this question is as important as the previous one. The characteristic time for the transients depends on the parameters c1 through c4 .

One type of agent has a random response disposition matrix.2.” where the agent behaviors are associated with distinct subdomains of the larger context. and c4 also play important roles in the behavior of an agent A. can be expressed as a block structure. With random response dispositions of this sort. 1. while the various other parameters allow a wide range of strategies for communication. as characterized by their response dispositions. (50). 1] and normalizing the total probability. depending on six independent parameters. In Eq. (13) The constraint is in no way fundamental. . The 14 . but is useful for graphical presentation of simulation results. 7} with equiprobability. Thus. c3 . is beyond the scope of this paper. such as in Fig. The blocks for the two agents have a non-zero overlap.2. created by selecting each element uniformly from the interval [0. we give an analytic expression for the memories in the asymptotic regime. with the sum of the values equal to one. 7}.1 Simulation results. an extensive study of the solutions of this equation. while all other elements are zero. while that for agent B deals with messages 5 through 11. The elements of the probability matrices are shown as circles whose sizes are proportional to the value of the matrix elements.2 Complementary knowledge. if agent B provides a stimulus from {5.3. The value used for the response disposition reﬂects an individualized aspect of an agent’s behavior. agent A responds with a message from {1. 4.We obtain explicit equations for the asymptotic state and discuss how the solutions depend on the model parameters. the contribution to the agent behavior is complex but unique to each agent. 1. 1 corresponds to a case of “complementary knowledge. We impose a constraint with the form c1 (A) + c2 (A) + c3 (A) + c4 (A) =1 . 4. A response disposition for this type of agent. A second type of agent has its behavior restricted to a subset of the possibilities in the context. allowing the agent to transmit any message from the context. 2.2 4. A broad variety of agents can be realized from the deﬁnitions in section 3. As an initial simulation. c2 . . when presented as a matrix. we focus in this section on a few situations with diﬀerent types of agents. as in Fig. However. Each response disposition matrix has a 7 × 7 block where the elements have uniform values of 1/49. The number of messages is nS = 11. In particular. . never producing certain messages. Instead. 6. we show that a drastic change occurs when c3 is near zero. but with restricted transitions between them. A third and ﬁnal type of agent response disposition that we consider has a banded structure. (A) (A) (A) (A) The parameters c1 . Types of agents. We assign to the asymptotic state a set of observables measuring the quality of the communication according to diﬀerent criteria. as shown in Fig. 7. we consider communications between two agents with block-structured response dispositions. The situation shown in Fig. The subdomain for agent A deals with messages 1 through 7. .

one of the two agents is chosen to select the initial message at random.01). An example is presented in Fig. c3 = 0.99. but it decreases slowly. 3. The response of each agent is essentially determined by its alter memory. c3 = 0. 5. 2 for c1 = c1 = 0. c2 = 0. c4 = 0.01. c3 = 0. the asymptotic state is the state of maximal entropy. Communication between the two agents consists of a large number of short communication sequences. and the probability is higher for selecting messages that induce responses with high uncertainty. Our main observations are: 1. c4 = 0. c2 = (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) 0. We study the evolution of the alter and ego memories of each agent as the number of completed communication sequences increases. They are shown in Fig.99. averaged over several samples of the communication. We show the evolution of the joint entropy in Fig. (t) (t) (t) We ﬁrst checked the convergence of EA (r) to the ﬁrst mode of UA|B UB|A (see section A.01. These terms are useful to handle the response of the agent when the stimulus is “unknown” (i. (X) (X) (X) We next investigated four extremal cases (c1 = 0. we plotted the asymptotic values of the ego and alter memory of agent A. We measure the distance between these two vectors at the end of the simulation. Indeed. c1 = 0.01). c4 = 0. (c1 = 0. 2. Next.99. independently of how previous sequences were begun (randomly choosing this “starting agent” is intended to avoid pathological behavior leading to non generic sequencies). c2 = 0. we show the values with a ﬁnite memory (λ(A) = λ(E) = 0.e. it is not in the appropriate block).99. c3 = −0. c2 = 0.01).99. the maximal variance is observed for this case. The distance tends to zero when the number of communication sequences T increases. c1 = 0. corresponding to a characteristic time scale of approximately 100 communication steps). The asymptotic (∞) (∞) behavior is given by PAB and PBA .99. c4 = 0. the ﬁrst modes of the matrices QA QB and QB QA .01). with the agents taking part in 128000 successive communication sequences.99.coeﬃcients c4 and c4 are both set to 0. c3 = 0.01. like 1/T (as expected from the (A) (B) central limit theorem). 4 for λ(A) = λ(E) = 1. In Fig. Again. and (c1 = 0.99. Each communication sequence consists of the exchange of 11 messages between the two agents.. 3. there are long transient corresponding to metastable states and there are many such states.99. c4 = 0. (c1 = 0.5). The responses of each agent are essentially determined by its response disposition. 2 shows indeed the convergence to this state. Fig. respectively. c2 = 0. the agent responds to any stimulus message with equal likelihood. The response of each agent is essentially determined by its ego memory. 15 (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (A) (B) .99. we ﬁrst examined the convergence to the asympotic regime. This allows us to estimate the time needed to reach the asymptotic regime. As expected. c1 = 0. c3 = (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) (X) 0.01. (∞) The asymptotic values of the alter and ego memories are given by QA PBA (∞) and QB PAB The memory matrices have a “blockwise” structure with a block of maximal probability corresponding to the stimuli known by both agents. For each case. c4 = 0.99 (A) (B) (A) (B) and c2 = c2 = c3 = c3 = 0. For each communication sequence. c4 = 0. c3 = 0. c2 = 0. In such a case. c2 = 0.

the perception that agent A has from agent B is biased by the fact that she chooses always the stimuli according to her own preferences (described in the appendix in more mathematical terms). but translated in the set of messages exchanged (contrast Figs. The response of each agent is essentially determined by its alter memory.01 (c3 = 0). To explore the reduced. c2 = 0. we simulate communication between two agents with response dispositions of both agents selected randomly (see section 4. the asymptotic alter memory does not become identical to the other agent’s response disposition. this only reduces the parameter space to 6 dimensions An full investigation of the space of parameters is therefore beyond the scope of this paper and will be done in a separate work. The asymptotic memories have an interesting structure.3 Behavior dependence on the parameters c1 ..99.01). the entropy of the alter memory as a function of c1 and c2 . extremal values.99 : 0. Even if we impose constraints of the form in Eq. c1 c2 space.99. In each sequence. We compute the asymptotic value of the joint entropy of the memories for the communication process.99]. The parameters c1 and c2 both vary in the interval [0. 4d when λ(A) = λ(E) = 1. The transition does not occur exactly at said line. we note that. The eﬀect is clear if we keep in mind that.4. e. the stimulus is always given by agent B. A prominent illustration of this is given in Fig. we focus here on the situation where agents A and B have identical coeﬃcients and where c4 is ﬁxed to a small value (0. There is an abrupt change in the entropy close to the line c1 + c2 = 0. c4 = 0. Consequently. the stimulus is always given by agent A. while for agent A’s alter memory. 4. Therefore we have a total exchange of 110000 symbols. In Fig.4) and numerical (section 4. the agent that transmit the ﬁrst message is selected at random. c1 = 0. c4 . 6. To produce a managable parameter space. These simulations shows how the ﬁnal (asymptotic) outcome of the communication may diﬀer when the parameters ci are set to diﬀerent. Then we average the entropy over 100 realizations of the response dispositions. but depends on c1 and c2 . (B) (A) one expects changes in the asymptotic regime as the parameters ci and ci vary.2. We conduct 10000 successive communication sequences of length 11 for each pair of agents.1 for details). the asymptotic matrix whose structure is the closest to the block structure of the response dispositions is the matrix in Fig. Finally. Indeed. In some sense. c3 ∈ [−0.99. 0. This allows us to present.2. in this example. c3 = −0. however. (X) (X) (X) (X) Based on theoretical (section A. 1 and 5d).99]. The role of the forgetting parameter is also important. c3 . for agent A’s ego memory. we show the joint entropy of the alter memory (the joint entropy of the ego memory is similar). that the general situation where agents A and B have diﬀerent coeﬃcients requires investigations in an 8 dimensional space.” There is a higher contrast between the blocks seen in Fig. The number of messages exchanged by the agents is nS = 11.2) considerations. but the probability is lower for selecting messages that induce responses with high uncertainty.01. (13). 5d. 5d) where the agent are able to “forget. 16 . c2 . The alter and ego memories have block structures like that of both agent’s response dispositions. Note.2.g.

and we vary the values of c1 . In (B) this latter case. that the transition is not precisely at c3 = 0. We measure the diﬀerence using the (t) distance d QA . We take the memories to be (A) (E) inﬁnite. however. shown in Fig. we show the learning rates for diﬀerent distances. The simulated communication can be limited to a ﬁnite number of exchanges with the learning rate set to zero if the target is not reached during the simulation. generally proceeding more rapidly (B) with c3 < 0.1. 7. an inferior result quickly obtained may be more desirable than a superior result reached later. with more complex structure to the learning rates. 6 shows a drastic change in the unpredictability of the pairs. the rate determined from a target distance of 0. ABA always lies in the interval [0. In general. The second type is a “learning” agent B that has more general behavior. c3 . The ﬁrst type of agent is a “teacher” agent A that has relatively simple behavior. they are not the only important factors. when crossing a critical line in the c1 c2 parameter space. but rather to a more complex line as discussed in the appendix. and c4 to investigate the dependence of learning on the various parameters. It is natural to determine this using the diﬀerence between the response disposition of the teacher agent and the alter memory of the learning agent. For this case. Its response disposition has a banded structure. 8. λB = λB = 1. s) − ABA (r.1 is shown. learning has a simple structure. We note that inclusion of the response disposition is crucial in this scenario. we simulate communication between two distinct types of agents exchanging nS = 5 messages. c2 . as described in section 4. (14) The value of d QA . since the alter and ego memories contribute nothing. The learning agent has a random response disposition. 8(b) presents quite diﬀerent results based on a target distance of 0. the learning agent uses all of its memories to determine the transition (B) (B) (B) (B) probability. deﬁned by d2 QA .4 Learning rates.The surface in Fig. To assess the simulations. In Fig. The values (E) (A) of λA and λA are irrelevant. the fastest learning occurs with c3 > 0. In particular. Fig. s) r. The teacher agent has a ﬁxed behavior de(A) (A) (A) pendent only upon its response disposition (c2 = c3 = c4 = 0). While the asymptoticly stable states of the memories are useful in understanding the results of communication. In contrast. ABA . 1].2. Note. ABA = (t) (t) 1 2 QA (r.2. In particular.05. we focus on how rapidly the learning agent is able to learn the behavior of the teacher agent. 17 . In Fig. averaged over 50 samples. and thus in the complexity of communications. 8(a). the rates at which the memories change can be important in determining the value of communication.s (t) 2 . A simple way to determine a learning rate from the memories is to base it on the number of message exchanges it takes for the distance to ﬁrst become smaller than some target distance. If N messages are exchanged before the target distance is reached. the rate is simply 1/N . 4. Additionally. the learning rate goes to zero if the learning agent suppresses its response disposition. To investigate rates.

.. QA 1 For must lie in the interval [0. This is due to an assumed period of reﬂection in which details of the communication process can be considered at greater length. we ﬁnd F T .s (T ) (T ) 2 = . we calculate the distance d F T . Focusing on agent A (a similar procedure is followed for agent B). s) has been presented as time independent. mk−1 . In section 3. λA = λA = 1) or undergo “forgetting” (i. the response disposition could be updated periodically—but less frequently than the ego and alter memories—during the communication sequence. the empirical frequency of message pairs for communication sequence T . Note that Eq. To actually make the comparison. 1] The value of the distance must be below an acceplong communication sequences. we present a scheme for update of the response disposition. s) = 1 k−1 k s r δmi δmi−1 i=2 (15) for all r and s. s). e. 18 . Not all communications are successful. we number the communication sequences and add an index to the response disposition to indicate the sequence number.e. s) − QA (r. QA (T ) (T ) (T ) using 1 2 F T (r. In this section. We can incorporate this into the model by introducing an assessment process for allowing updates to the response dispositions of the agents. m2 . we ﬁnd the distance between the behavior expressed in the communication sequence (using F T ) and that expressed by the response disposition of the agents. the distance d F T . Assuming the message sequence consists of k messages labeled m1 . For a two-party interaction. (A) (E) λA < 1 or λA < 1).5 5.1 Thus far. regardless of whether the agent ego and alter memories (E) (A) have inﬁnite memories (i. These memories are updated during the course of communication sequences in which the agent is involved. In contrast.e. . it is possible that either or both of the parties will gain nothing from the communication.. (16) Since F T and QA are both probability distributions. . giving (T ) QA (r. we presented rules for updating the ego and alter memories of an agent. or that both beneﬁt. the response disposition is held ﬁxed during communication sequences. s) r. mk . . occuring intermittently at the end of communication sequences. Assessment of communication sequences. . QA d2 F T . To generalize this.g. the response disposition QA (r.1.1 Outlook.3. using F T (r. (15) utilizes all of the messages exchanged in the communication process. we can ﬁrst calculate a joint probability distribution representative of the message sequence that was constructed in the communication process. A small distance is indicative of relevance or usefulness of the communication sequence to the agent. To begin the assessment process. while a great distance suggests that the communication sequence is. purely speculative or impractical.

19 . (17) where the update rate kA is in the interval [0. with the probability of adopting some information changing suddenly after some ﬁnite number of exposures (see. which assume spread of contagion to be a memory-free process. some extensions to the agents described in section 3. Unlike classical epidemiological models. we set the probability that agent X and agent Y communicate to be proportional to GXY GY X (the product is appropriate because the aﬃnities need not be symmetric). agents exchanging information and making decisions are aﬀected by both past and present interactions between the agents. In this work. QA < ηA . 2005).. in order to introduce rules by which agents select communication partners.tance threshold ηA that reﬂects the absorbative capacity of agent A. (t) as represented by the alter memory AAB . The update rule in Eq. we have focused on communications between pairs of agents. but also on the patterns of relations—encoded by the aﬃnity graph—within which the agents are embedded. The above considerations are used to deﬁne an update rule for the response disposition. The agent deﬁnitions are posed in a manner that generalizes readily to larger groups of agents. The interplay between network architecture and dynamical consequences is not straightforward. (18) GXY = k+d where k is a settable parameter and d is the distance deﬁned in Eq. deﬁning a ﬁxed network of agents. This process can be understood in terms of social contagion. (14).3 are needed. A pair of agents to communicate can then be chosen based on the combined aﬃnities of all the agents present in the system. The structure of the network may play an important role in inﬂuencing the global spread of information or facilitating collective action. e. For example. this is QA = (1 − kA ) QA (T ) (T −1) + kA F T −1 . Blanchard et al.. The outcomes of communications experienced by agents will depend not only on their intrinsic preferences and strategies. The probability of “infection” can exhibit threshold-like behavior. 5.g. agents can be constructed to predominately communicate with other agents they assess as similar by deﬁning k . so that communication produces a dynamically changing network. Formally. The aﬃnities can be viewed as the weights in a graph describing the agent network. (17) (T ) is applied if and only if d F T . 1]. since the properties of the graphs that are relevant to individual and collective behavior of the agents will depend on the nature of the dynamical process describing the spread of information. the aﬃnities can be determined based on the agent memories. A natural approach to take is to compare the behavior of an agent A with its expectation of the behavior of another agent B. A reasonable approach is to base rules for selecting communication partners on aﬃnities that the agents have for each other. As a starting point.2 Communities of agents. Letting GXY be the aﬃnity that agent X has for agent Y . More interestingly. the aﬃnities can be assigned predetermined values. limiting what communication sequences agent A accepts. However.

. Maillard for helpful references and comments on the mathematical aspects. Acknowledgments. we can distinguish between when an agent learns some fact. exploring learning of this sort allows a means to investigate how various network structures facilitate or hinder the spread of novel communications. We described how the response dispositions of the agents might be updated based on communications engaged in. Using analytic and numerical methods. LS). and suggested how to handle larger groups of agents. We are grateful to G. Czerny for many useu ful discussions. in the form of messages and transitions between messages. but we introduced a response disposition showing individual communication preferences for the agents. accepting it as generally relevant to the communication context. The model draws on concepts from Luhmann’s theory of social systems. Additionally. we focused on communication between pairs of agents (although the mathematical formulation is suitable for larger numbers of agents). identifying some conditions for the existence and uniqueness of stable asymptotic solutions. In networks of agents. and builds on an earlier model by Dittrich. Agent communications are formulated as the exchange of distinct messages. Since an agent uses its response disposition in communications with any of the other agents. By tracking changes to the response disposition. as well as support from FEDER/POCTI. We would like to acknowledge support from the Funda¸ao para c˜ a Ciˆncia e a Tecnologia under Bolsa de Investiga¸ao SFRH/BPD/9417/2002 e c˜ (MJB) and Plurianual CCM (MJB. A selection probability for messages is calculated from the memories. Two types of memories. In particular. as well as its dissemination.6 Summary In this work. we explored the asymptotic properties of the agent memories and selection probability as the number of messages exchanged becomes very large. We expressed the model mathematically. To analyze the properties of the model. and when the agent has merely observed said fact without learning it. Agent memories are formulated using a number of joint probability distributions. The response disposition allows us to model pre-existing knowledge. we have introduced an agent-based model of factual communication in social systems. Finally. along with a randomizing term allowing for spontaneous invention. with message selection based on individual agent properties and the history of the communication. Kr¨ ger and W. The selection probabilities are used to determine which messages the agents exchange. the ego and alter memories. and Banzhaf. In addition we thank T. these two extensions appear suﬃcient for investigating how newly introduced ideas can be either adopted or rejected in the community of agents. the response disposition serves as a sort of general knowledge base. Kron. We will pursue this line of questioning in future research. we investigated numerically the properties of learning in shorter communication sequences. we sketched out intended extensions of the model. but the selection probabilities themselves depend on the the messages exchanged through the ego and alter memories. in a form suitable for handling and arbitrary number of agents. are similar to the memories used by Dittrich et al. 20 .

A. (23) with a corresponding equation for the conditional probability. Moreover. The normalization factor NA|B is given by nS NA|B = 1 + c3 (t) (A) r=1 H AA|B (· | r) − 1 (A) (t) (21) and does not depend on time when c3 1 − c3 (A) (t) = 0. we develop the mathematical aspects summarized in section 4. Blanchard. . E. .project 40706/MAT/2001 (LS). (22) It will be useful in the following to write UA|B (r | s) in matrix form. . Though this limit is not reached in concrete situations. (t) Recall that UA|B (r | s) is the conditional probability that agent A selects message r at time t given that agent B selected s at time t − 1. The formalism presented here deals with the two-agent case. but some aspects generalize to the multi-agent case..4). It is given by Eq. with the form 1 1 . S= . Cessac warmly acknowledge the CCM for its hospitality. In this appendix. (24) 21 . Buchinger and B. where the communication sequence between the two agents is inﬁnitely long. . nS 1 UB|A . .1 Basic statements. Ph. provided that the length of the sequence is longer than the largest characteristic time for the transients (given by the spectral gap. ··· 1 .1. The asymptotic results essentially apply to the ﬁnite communication sequence case. The matrix S is the uniform ··· 1 . A Mathematical analysis. (19) where H (t) AA|B (· | r) is nS H AA|B (· | r) = − r ′ =1 (t) AA|B (r′ | r) lognS AA|B (r′ | r) (t) (t) . (20) (t) Note that this term does not depend on s. (7). see section A. (A) ≤ NA|B ≤ 1 + c3 (nS − 1) . it can give us some idea of the system behavior for suﬃciently long sequences. so that UA|B = (t) (t) 1 (t) NA|B c1 QA + c2 EA|B + c3 H AA|B + c4 S (t) (A) (A) (t) (A) (t) (A) . We are mainly interested in the asymptotic behavior of the model. UA|B (r | s) = (t) 1 NA|B (t) c1 QA (r | s) + c2 EA|B (r | s) + c3 H AA|B (· | r) + (A) (A) (t) (A) (t) c4 nS (A) .

Where possible.We use the notation H AA|B for the matrix with the r. mt−1 ] = U (t) (mt | mt−1 )P (t−1) (mt−1 ) . .2 Dynamics. However. This means that agent B selects the message at odd times t and agent A selects at even times.3 Existence and uniqueness of a stationary state. . P(t) = U(t) U(t−1) U(t−2) · · · U(2) P(1) (1) (25) . mt−1 . . In the case where c2 = c3 = 0. . Therefore one can at most expect statistical statements referring to some probability measure on the space of response disposition matrices (recall that the selection probability for the ﬁrst message is also determined by the response disposition). We therefore need to consider statistical averages to characterize the typical behavior of the (B) (A) model for ﬁxed values of the coeﬃcients ci and ci . The evolution of P (t) (r) is determined by a one parameter family of (time dependent) transition matrices. the joint probability of the sequential messages mt and (r. . . 22 . . we will further simplify the presentation by focusing on just one of the agents. mt−1 . m2 . A. As (27) Prob [mt . given that the probability for a given message to be selected at time t depends on the entire past (via the ego and alter memories). with the convention (2n+1) (2n) that U(2n) ≡ UA|B and U(2n+1) ≡ UB|A . . . s element given by H AA|B (· | r) . the ME model is basically a Markov process and it can be handled with the standard results in the ﬁeld. U (2) (m2 | m1 ) P (1) (m1 ) Thus. (26) . . an inﬁnite communication se˜ quence where mt is the t-th exchanged symbol. m1 ] = U (t) (mt | mt−1 ) U (t−1) (mt−1 | mt−2 ) . The main objective is to show the existence and uniqueness of a stationary state. (t) Call P (r) the probability that the relevant agent selects message r at time t. When it does not harm the clarity of the expressions. mt . (t) (t) A. . we have P (r) = well. s). mt−1 . In this section. For simplicity. . m2 . the evolution is not Markovian since the transition matrices depend on the entire past history (see section A. . mt has been selected is given by Prob [mt . with the argument for the other determined by a straightforward exchange of the roles of the agents. we brieﬂy discuss the asymptotics of the ME model considered as a stochastic process.3). . nS s=1 QB mt−1 is Since agent B selects the initial message. . . . The probability that the ﬁnite subsequence m1 . m2 . Denote by m = m1 . we will drop the subscripts labeling the agents from the transition probabilities and call U(t) the transition matrix at time t. we assume here that agent B always starts the communication sequence. like in Markov chains. Note that the U(t) depend on the response dispositions.

1). . m2k ). but the following construction holds for an n-th order approach. it is ergodic and in this case the empirical frequencies corresponding to alter and ego memories converge (almost surely) to a limit corresponding to the marginal probability P [ω] obtained from Eq. ωk the sequence of pairs ω1 = (m1 . When the invariant state is unique. we can deﬁne a probability on the cylinders ωm m+l P ωm = ω1 m+l P ωm |ω1 µ(ω1 ) . . Dem note by ωl = (ωl . In the following. ωm ). . m2 ). . s)) k=1 . m2 . For t = 1 the initial pair ω1 is drawn using the response disposition as described in the text.3. ω2 = (m3 . (32) This measure extends then on the space of trajectories AIN . s)|ω1 1 = t t−1 χ(ωk = (r. The corresponding sigma algebra F is constructed as usual with the cylinder sets. . If m1 . . . (31) m+l by From this relation. l > 1. ∀m. . We have not yet been able to ﬁnd rigorous conditions ensuring the existence of a stationary state. . F by Kolmogorov’s theorem. see secwith χ() being the indicatrix function (A · | ω1 tion 3. . We have n+1 m−1 n m n . where E ωt = t−1 (r. we assume this existence. (32). the transition matrices U(t) also converge to a limit. It depends on the probability µ of choice for the ﬁrst symbol (hence it depends on the response disposition of the starting agent). Call the corresponding initial probability µ. mt−1 . s)+c2 E ωt = (r. s)|ω1 +c3 H A · | ω1 P ωt = (r. m−1 m+l m+l m−1 = P ωm |ω1 P ω2 |ω1 P ωm |ω1 m−1 ω2 . where m > l. . P ωm |ω1 P ωn+1 |ω1 = P [ωn+1 |ω1 ] P ωn+2 |ω1 (30) and. n ≥ 1. we denote by ω1 . 23 . ωk = (m2k−1 . Uniqueness is expected from standard ergodic argument whenever all transitions are permitted. . . but some arguments are given below. one has ﬁrst to construct the probability on the set of inﬁnite trajectories AIN where A = {1. mt is a message sequence. . In the ME model the transition probabilities corresponding to a given agent are determined via the knowledge of the sequence of message pairs (second order approach). A stationary state is then a shift invariant measure on the set of inﬁnite sequences. . where the transition probabilities depends on a sequence of n uplets. m4 ). . Thus. s)|ω1 (r)+c4 (28) for t > 1. (29) t−1 has the same form. ω2 . nS } is the set of messages. . We construct a family of conditional probabilities given by t−1 t−1 t−1 = c1 Q(r. 2.In the general case. This is the case when both c4 > 0 and c3 > 0 (the case where c3 is negative is trickier and is discussed below).

(26) are determined by the spectral properties of the matrix product U(t) U(t−1) U(t−2) . But it is not excluded that several solutions exist. an eigenvector associated with an eigenvalue 1. it is possible that some transitions allowed by the matrix S are cancelled and that the transition matrix U(t) loses the recurrence property for suﬃciently large t. 2003). Assume that the U(t) converge to a limit. studying the statistical properties of the evolution for the spectrum of the U(t) provides information such as the rate at which agent A has stabilized its behavior when communicating with agent B. beyond the scope of this paper. We are able to identify several regions in the parameters space where the solution is unique. there exists. After a suﬃciently long exchange of messages. ergodicity is assured by the presence of the matrix S. that the transition probabilities in our model do not obey the continuity property usual in the context of chains with complete connections. Note. For c3 > 0 and c4 > 0. by the Perron-Frobenius theorem. Its own behavior. especially for c3 < 0. Then. There is in particular an interesting relation between chains with complete connections and the Dobrushin-Landford-Ruelle construction of Gibbs measures (Maillard. First. the long time behavior of the agent depends on the initial conditions.4 Transients and asymptotics. A. it is not even guaranteed that a stationary regime exists. The uncertainty term and the noise term play particular roles in the evolution determined by Eq. . and the corresponding representation (ego memory). This means that for positive c3 the asymptotic behavior of the agents does not depend on the history (but the transients depend on it. It may evaluate the probability of all possible reactions to the possible stimuli. For c3 < 0. which allows transitions from any message to any other message. The stationary state is not necessarily unique. Note that the kind of processes encountered in the ME model has interesting relations with the so-called “chains with complete connections” (see Maillard. The 24 . and they can be very long). uniqueness basically implies that the asymptotic behaviour of the agent does not depend on the past. however. corresponding to a stationary state (the states may be diﬀerent for odd and even times). and this probability is not modiﬁed by further exchanges. since the U(t) are conditional probabilities. The convergence rate of the process is determined by the spectrum of the U(t) and especially by the spectral gap (distance between the largest eigenvalue of one and the second largest eigenvalue). This convergence can be interpreted as a stabilization of the behavior of each agent when communicating with the other. . (23). each agent has a representation of the other that does not evolve in time (alter memory). The time evolution and the asymptotic properties of Eq. In such a case. the matrix S entering in the noise term has eigenvalue 0 with multiplicity nS − 1 and eigenvalue 1 with multiplicity 1. In this case. It is unique if there exist a time t0 such that for all t > t0 the matrices U(t) are recurrent and aperiodic (ergodic). U(2) . A careful investigation of this point is. is similarly ﬁxed. 2003) for a comprehensive introduction and detailed bibliography). Consequently. In the next section we derive explicit solutions for the asymptotic alter and ego memories. however.In our model.

(35) warrants several remarks. the coeﬃcient (A) (A) c3 may have either a positive or a negative value. . The action of U(t) on P(t) is then given by PA (t+1) (t) (t) (A) (A) (t) (t) (A) (t) (A) = = UA|B PB 1 N (t) c1 QA + c2 EA|B PB + c3 vA + c4 u . 6 for a striking demonstration of these changes. Recall that all the vectors (A) (t) above have positive entries. (A) (t) The uncertainty term c3 vA plays a somewhat similar role in the sense that it also has its image on a particular vector. . corresponding to maximal entropy.5 Equations of the stationary state. nS . Consequently. where v(t) is the vector (t) α1 (t) α2 v(t) = . is reached. we expect drastic changes in the model evolution when we change the (A) sign of c3 —see section 4. not necessarily unique and possibly sample dependent. . with the eﬀect of increasing the entropy whatever the initial probability and the value of the coeﬃcients. It is also apparent that. Therefore the noise term c4 u tends to “push” PB in the direction of the vector of maximal entropy. . Consequently. 1 (33) (34) and uT is the transpose of u. It corresponds therefore to a matrix where all the entries in a row are equal. we must still distinguish between odd times (agent B active) and even 25 . set αr = H AA|B (· | r) . we have H AA|B P = nS vA uT P = vA . for any probability (t) (t) (t) vector P. instead depending on the evolution via the alter memory. In this case.which is the uniform probability vector. Second. Then one can write the corresponding matrix in the form nS v(t) uT . αnS (t) eigenvector corresponding to the latter eigenvalue is 1 1 1 u= . (35) The expression in Eq. S is a projector onto u. However.2 and especially Fig. the uncertainty term does not depend on the stimulus s. More (t) (t) precisely. A positive c3 increases (A) (t) the contribution of vA but a negative c3 decreases the contribution. (A) (B) The inﬂuence of the coeﬃcients ci and ci is easier to handle when an asymptotic state. this vector is not static. Further. A. It follows that the uncertainty term has a 0 (t) nS eigenvalue with multiplicity n − 1 and an eigenvalue r=1 H AA|B (· | r) with corresponding eigenvector v(t) .

s).2. P(t) has two accumulation points depending (∞) on whether t is odd or even. Call PA (m) the probability that. s) = PBA (r. in general. s) = Thus. using the relation EA|B (r | s) = AB|A (r | s). Therefore. s) (∞) (36) . s) (∞) PBA (r. where UA|B = (∞) (∞) 1 (∞) NA|B c1 QA + c2 EA|B + c3 H AA|B + c4 S (∞) (A) (A) (∞) (A) (∞) (A) . (39) (40) PA = UA|B PB = UB|A PA (∞) (∞) (∞) PB and PA (∞) = UA|B UB|A PA = (∞) (41) . s) = r PAB (r. s). s) the asymptotic joint probability that agent A responds with message r to a stimulus message s from agent B. We will call this eigenvector the ﬁrst mode of the corresponding matrix. s) = UA|B (r | s) PB (s) = EAB (r.2. Note (∞) (∞) (∞) (∞) that. m) and PB message simultaneous is both a stimulus and a response. PAB (r. (27). the convergence to a stationary state implies that EAB (r. we have EA|B (r | s) = (∞) (∞) 1 (∞) NA|B c1 QA (r | s) + c2 EA|B (r | s) + c3 H EB|A (· | r) + c4 (A) (A) (∞) (A) (∞) (A) (45) 26 . agent A selects the message m during the communication with (∞) agent B. PAB (r. (27) and (36). s) which is precisely the asymptotic probability of stimulusresponse pairs. (44) (r | s) = (∞) (r | s) Therefore. the UA|B converge to a limit UA|B . s). call PAB (r. that is. s) converges (∞) to a limit EAB (r. (∞) (∞) PB (∞) (∞) (∞) UB|A UA|B PB (∞) (42) (∞) It follows that the asymptotic probability PA is an eigenvector of UA|B UB|A corresponding to the eigenvalue 1. Hence. we have PA (r) = (∞) (∞) s UA|B (r | s) PB (∞) (∞) (∞) (∞) (∞) (s). m) since each r PBA (r. Since alter and ego memories are empirical frequencies of stimulus-response (2n) pairs. s) = (∞) (∞) (∞) (∞) (m) = s PBA (m. But PB (∞) (s) = r PAB (r. we have EAB (r. (∞) (∞) (∞) (∞) Combining Eqs. A numerical example is provided in section 4. s) = (∞) (∞) r EAB (r. the marginal ego memory of agent A (∞) (∞) converges to the ﬁrst mode of UA|B UB|A . in the stationary regime. (37) (r. Therefore. (38) From Eq. s) = (∞) EBA (2n) (∞) PAB (r. In the same way. so UA|B (r | s) (∞) UB|A (∞) (∞) EA|B (r | s) = (∞) EB|A (43) . but PA (m) = s PAB (m.times (agent A active).

H (· | r′ ) lognS 1 + (∞) β3 H EA|B (· | r′ ) β1 QB (r′ | r) + β4 (B) (B) (B) (50) which uncouples the expression for EA|B (r | s) from that for EB|A (r | s). (47) With this deﬁnition. After some manipulation. (A) It is clear that the ﬁrst term in Eq. and the remaining terms are of higher order. with 27 (∞) . This allows (A) us to characterize the behavior of the model when c3 changes its sign. since we shall see that a transition occurs near c3 = 0. (22) ensure that β3 is small whenever c3 is small. (45) and (46) become: EA|B (r | s) EB|A (r | s) (∞) (∞) = β1 QA (r | s) + β3 H EB|A (· | r) + β4 (B) (B) (∞) (A) (A) (∞) (A) (B) (48) . the solution to Eq. (50) is diﬃcult to obtain (B) (A) for the general case and depends on all the parameters ci and ci .EB|A (r | s) = (∞) 1 (∞) NB|A c1 QB (r | s) + c2 EB|A (r | s) + c3 H EA|B (· | r) + c4 (B) (B) (∞) (B) (∞) (B) . the bounds (A) (A) given in Eq. agent A does not use its alter memory in response selection. However. the second term is of order one. (50) provides a solution of the model with two agents. (A) When c3 = 0. we discuss a few speciﬁc situations. Its asymptotic ego memory is a simple function of its response disposition. (21) and high order terms in the expansion are tricky to obtain. (A) This form has the advantage that it accomodates series expansion in c3 . Eq. (46) A. (A) (∞) However. (49) into Eq. (49) = β1 QB (r | s) + β3 H EA|B (· | r) + β4 We next plug Eq. since it captures the asymptotic behavior of the ego and alter memories (provided the stationary regime exists). Eqs. This is of principle importance. β3 depends on EA|B via the normalization factor from Eq.6 Deﬁne Solutions of the stationary equations. βi (A) = ci (∞) (A) (A) Ni|A − c2 . we obtain EA|B (r | s) = β1 QA (r | s) + β4 − β3 (A) r′ (A) (∞) − β 3 β3 (A) (B) + β3 H β1 QB (· | r) + β4 (B) (∞) β3 H EA|B (· | r′ ) (B) (B) (β1 QB (r′ | r) + β4 ) lognS 1 + (B) (B) β1 QB (r′ | r) + β4 lognS β1 QB (r′ | r) + β4 (∞) EA|B (B) (B) (A) (A) (B) (B) H EA|B (· | r′ ) (∞) (∞) r′ (A) (B) β 3 β3 r′ − . In some sense. (48). (50) is of order zero in β3 . Below. Despite this.

the asymptotic selection probability is also uniform and the asymptotic marginal probability (∞) of messages PA (r) is the uniform probability distribution.the form (A) EA|B (r | s) = β1 QA (r | s) + β4 (∞) (∞) (A) (A) . However. near c3 = 0. convergence to the stationary state is mainly dominated by the ego memory. therefore. Also. nonlinear equation for the ego memory. with limit cycles occurring on long times. as described in (∞) section A. but the time required to reach the asymptotic state can be very long. the entropy is high. possibly (A) sharp. when c2 is large for both agents. we have (B) (∞) β3 H EA|B (· | r′ ) (A) (B) (∞) (∞) EA|B (r | s) = −β3 β3 H EA|B (· | r′ ) lognS 1 + (B) (B) β1 QB (r′ | r) + β4 r′ (53) The right hand side is therefore independent of r and s. there may exist a large number of distinct metastable state. (43).5. the derivative of EA|B (r | s) with respect to c3 is proportional to H β1 QB (· | r) + β4 nonlinearly on the coeﬃcients (B) β1 Q B (B) β4 (B) c1 (B) (B) . Consistent with the choice of the coeﬃcients. EA|B (r | s) becomes a nonlinear function of the conditional response disposition for agent B. the communication will correspond to metastability. In practical terms. s) has occurred once. (B) if c1 is small. several solutions may exist. There exists therefore a transition. we expect an eﬀective (that is on the time scale of 28 (B) c4 . It is thus constant and (∞) corresponds to a uniform EA|B (r | s). and that. (A) (∞) (A) For small values of c3 . 6 . note that if c2 is large (but strictly lower than one). the transition (t) (t) probability UA|B (r | s) will be dominated by the ego term UA|B (r | s) and the agent will tend to reproduce the previous answer. the early communication (t) steps. For example. Thus. This slope can be steep if the uncertainty in agent B’s response disposition is high. since the ego memory is based on actual message selections. (A) As β3 further increases. s) are zero. However. (51) When c3 is small. are driven by the response disposition and by the noise term. so that EA|B (r | s) = β1 QA (r | s) + β4 (∞) (A) (A) + β3 H β1 QB (· | r) + β4 (A) (B) (B) (52) An explicit. In the general case. this means that when c4 is small and c2 is large for each of the two agents. where few messages have been exchanged and many of the EAB (r. using Eq. Indeed. though there exists a unique asymptotic state as soon as c4 > 0. we must deal with a more complex. Note that the derivative depends level lines and = C depend where the H (· | r) + levels lines are drawn—they do not coincide with c3 = 0). as soon as the stimulus-response pair (r. (A) Next. PA (r) has maximal entropy. Hence. The noise term allows the system to escape periodic cycles generated by the ego memory. the (B) (B) on c1 and c4 (see Fig. in this case. unique solution exists in this case. (A) (B) A simple case corresponds to having c3 = c3 = 1.

Martin.org/physics/0505031.surrey. C. Theory. France. July. Ph. Niklas Luhmann. Niklas Luhmann: an introduction. u second edition. Social Systems. Dirk Baecker. Submitted to Phys. e. 27:379–423. When c1 is nearly one for both agents. Niklas Luhmann.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/paper. The Bell System Technical Journal. Krueger.bell-labs. many metastable states may be present. • c3 drives the agent to either pursue or avoid uncertainty. A. Feb 2001. and Wolfgang Banzhaf. URL http://jasss. E. and P. (19) are: • c1 emphasizes the role of the response disposition. In Sergio Albeverio. References Jakob Arnoldi.uk/6/1/3. the asympotic behavior is determined by the spectral properties of the product of the conditional response disposition. Thomas Kron. 1984. 2003. Krueger. Rouen. Chaˆnes a liaisons compl`tes et mesures de Gibbs unidimensionı ` e nelles. Springer Verlag. 1995. 2005. 623–656. • c2 enhances the tendency of an agent to reproduce its previous responses. 18(1):1–13. Soziale Systeme. and Holger Kantz. Peter Dittrich. Shannon. URL http://cm.html. Niklas Luhmann. Rev. Volker Jentsch. 18(1):59–74. URL http://arxiv. Feb 2001. Why systems? Theory. URL http://arxiv. To summarize. Berlin-Heidelberg. 2004. Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag.html. editors.E. A positive c3 favors the increase of entropy. • c4 is a noise term ensuring ergodicity.org/cond-mat/0501730.g. Computer simulations of opinions. Culture & Society. 29 . even though the characteristic time needed to reach stationarity (measured using. JASSS.. Einf¨hrung in die Systemtheorie. Stanford University Press. G. Maillard. Santo Fortunato and Dietrich Stauﬀer.a typical communication) ergodicity breaking with a wide variety of metastable states. PhD thesis. October 1948. The epidemics of corruption. while a negative c3 penalizes responses increasing the entropy. T. Blanchard. It has a strong inﬂuence on the transients and when c2 is large. 2005. the spectral gap in the asymptotic selection probability matrices) can be very long. jan 31 2003. 6(1). Extreme Events in Nature and Society. Suhrkamp.ac. On the scalability of social order: Modeling the problem of double and multi contingency following Luhmann. the roles of the various coeﬃcients in Eq. Culture & Society. A mathematical theory of communication.soc.

Guillaume Deﬀuant. J. 38:339–343. Warren Weaver. Shannon and Warren Weaver.org/cond-mat/0410200. University of Illinois Press.Dietrich Stauﬀer. Persuasion dynamics. Gerard Weisbuch. Phys. Some recent contributions to the mathematical theory of communication. 1949. 2005. In Claude E. Preprint. Eur. The mathematical theory of communication. Dietrich Stauﬀer. B. URL http://arxiv.org/cond-mat/0307352. Martin Hohnisch. URL http://arxiv. 2004. The coevolution of individual economic characteristics and socioeconomic networks. Gerard Weisbuch.org/cond-mat/0311279. How many diﬀerent parties can join into one stable government? URL http://arxiv. editors. Bounded conﬁdence and social networks.org/cond-mat/0402670. 30 . and Sabine Pittnauer. Preprint. 2004. Urbana. Physica A: Statistical and Theoretical Physics. In press. and Frederic Amblard. URL http://arxiv. 2003.

0 1 2 3 4 Response 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 0 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 Stimulus 8 9 10 11 12 (a) agent A 0 1 2 3 4 Reponse 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 Stimulus 8 9 10 11 12 (b) agent B Figure 1: Block-structured response dispositions. The size of the circle is proportional to the value of the corresponding entry. 31 .

99) memories.8 0.01 0.0001 1000 10000 t 1e+05 Figure 2: Evolution of the distance between the vector EA (r) and the ﬁrst (∞) (∞) mode of UA|B UB|A as the number of communication sequences increases. c4=0.99.8 S 0. c3=0.1 0 S c1=0.499) distance 0.9 0.2 0. c4=0.7 0.001 0. c3=-0.5 0.9 0.3 0. λ=0.99 S(E).01 c1=0. λ=1 S(E).6 0. λ=1 S(A). c4=0.8 0.99.99.7 0.6 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 1e+05 t 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 1e+05 t Figure 3: Evolution of the joint entropy of alter and ego memory with inﬁnite (λ(A) = λ(E) = 1) and ﬁnite (λ(A) = λ(E) = 0.99.0.01 1 0.9 0.6 1 S(A). 32 . c4=0. c2=0.8 0.161*x^(-0. λ=0.4 0.01 Empirical data fit: 0. c3=0.99. c2=0.99 c1=0. c2=0.6 1 0. c3=0. c2=0.7 0. (t) c1=0.01 1 0.99.

c2=0.99. c2=0. with inﬁnite memories. 33 . c2=0.99. The matrices shown here are calculated by averaging over 10 initial conditions. c4=0. c2=0. c2=0. c3=-0. c3=0. c2=0. c2=0.99. c4=0. c3=0.99.01 c1=0. The sizes of the red circles are proportional to the corresponding matrix elements. c2=0. c3=-0.01 c1=0. c3=0. c4=0. c4=0.99.99. while the sizes of the blue squares are proportional to the mean square deviations.99.01 Ego c1=0. c3=0. c3=0.01 c1=0.99.99.99.Alter c1=0. c4=0.99. c4=0.01 c1=0. c3=0.01 Figure 4: Average asymptotic memories for agent A after 128000 communications steps. c4=-0.01 c1=0. c4=0.99.01 c1=0.

01 c1=0.99. c2=0.99.99. c4=0. c3=-0.99. c2=0. c3=0.01 c1=0. c3=0.01 c1=0. while the sizes of the blue squares are proportional to the mean square deviations. The sizes of the red circles are proportional to the corresponding matrix elements.99.99. c3=0. c2=0. c3=0. 34 . c2=0. c4=0.99.99. c2=0. c4=0.01 Ego c1=0.01 c1=0. with ﬁnite memories (λ(A) = λ(E) = 0.Alter c1=0.01 c1=0. c2=0.99.99. c3=-0. c4=0.01 c1=0. c4=0. c4=-0. c3=0.01 Figure 5: Average asymptotic memories for agent A after 128000 communications steps. The matrices shown here are calculated by averaging over 10 initial conditions.99. c2=0.99). c4=0. c4=0.99. c3=0. c2=0.

5 -1 SAlter 0.5 0 -0.6 0.4 c2 (a) Inﬁnite memory (λ(A) = λ(E) = 1). 35 .8 1 0 0.5 0 -0.2 0.7 0.4 c1 0.6 c3 0. Figure 6: Asymptotic joint entropy for alter memory of agent A. 1 0. while the black line shows where the c3 = 0 plane intersects the c1 -c2 plane.8 0.5 c3 0.5 0 -0.6 0.6 0.2 0.5 0 -0.6 0. The colored lines in the c1 -c2 plane are level lines for the joint entropy.6 0.9 0.2 0.8 1 0 0. with (a) inﬁnite memories and (b) ﬁnite memories. The plane represents c3 = 0.5 -1 SAlter 0.5 0 0.8 0.4 c1 0.4 c2 1 (b) Inﬁnite memory (λ(A) = λ(E) = 1).5 1 0 0.9 0.8 0.2 0.7 0.8 0.1 0.

36 . The size of the circle is proportional to the value of the corresponding entry.0 1 2 Response 3 4 5 6 0 1 2 3 Stimulus 4 5 6 Figure 7: Banded response disposition.

9 1 0 (b) Target distance 0.0015 0.0015 0.8 c1 0.1 0.2 0.4 c2 0.008 0.016 0.3 0.1 1 0 0.7 0.6 0.3 0.5 0.0.001 0.1 1 0 0.9 0.015 0.5 0.002 0.4 c2 0.8 c1 0.002 0 0.005 Learning rate 0.8 0.002 0.7 0.0025 0.2 0.0025 0.2 0.001 0.10 Learning rate 0.0005 0 0.5 0.7 0.9 0.6 0. 37 .003 0.006 0.8 0.0005 0.01 0.4 0.6 0.01 0.4 0.05 Figure 8: Learning rates showing how rapidly the alter memory of the learning agent approaches the response disposition of the teacher agent.9 1 0 (a) Target distance 0.5 0.012 0.6 0.014 0.3 0.1 0. The colored lines in the c1 -c2 plane are level lines for the learning rates.7 0.3 0.2 0.004 0.

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