The Benefit of Imitating Particular Individuals

7 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013

See all articles by Yasuaki Sakamoto

Yasuaki Sakamoto

AXA Direct Japan

Hongyuan Shi

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

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Date Written: June 18, 2013

Abstract

We examined the benefits of different search strategies by testing four computational models. In one model, agents in a group always innovated. The other three models incorporated some mechanisms of imitation. In the second model, each agent imitated the best solution of a random other. In the third model, each agent followed preferential attachment and imitated the best solution of the agent that was asked by many agents. In the fourth model, each agent developed a familiarity with an agent based on how often it asked a certain agent, and imitated this agent. In two simulation studies, following the most popular or the most familiar agent resulted in a good compromise between efficiency and diversity in finding good solutions. People’s desire to follow particular individuals may be a key to their adaptive behavior, allowing them to disseminate ideas efficiently while encouraging the exploration of new ideas.

Keywords: Innovation and imitation, computational modeling, social learning, search

Suggested Citation

Sakamoto, Yasuaki and Shi, Hongyuan, The Benefit of Imitating Particular Individuals (June 18, 2013). Howe School Research Paper No. 2013-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281525 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2281525

Yasuaki Sakamoto (Contact Author)

AXA Direct Japan ( email )

Japan

Hongyuan Shi

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

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