World of agents: prospects of agent-based modeling for communication research.

Author(s)
Annie Waldherr, Martin Hilbert, Sandra Gonzales-Bailon
Abstract

Agent-based computational models create virtual laboratories in which to formalize and simulate dynamic, multi-level theories of communication. They allow the systematic development of thought experiments, and they improve our understanding of the generative mechanisms that underlie patterns observed in empirical data. Simulation models help explore hypothetical and unprecedented scenarios, serving as powerful hypothesis generators for future theoretical and empirical research. This Special Issue showcases a collection of studies that demonstrate the analytical potential and methodological contribution of agent-based modeling (ABM) for media and communication research. In this introduction, we highlight five major benefits of this modeling approach to communication scholarship: (1) formalization, (2) understanding, (3) explanation, (4) prediction, and (5) exploration. We then present the four studies of this special issue, which contribute methodologically and theoretically to diverse key areas of communication: the emergence of meanings; political deliberation; information diffusion; and media use and social influence. We conclude with outlining future perspectives of ABM in communication research.

Organisation(s)
Department of Communication
External organisation(s)
University of California, Davis, University of Pennsylvania
Journal
Communication Methods & Measures
Volume
15
Pages
243-254
No. of pages
12
ISSN
1931-2458
DOI
https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2021.1986478
Publication date
10-2021
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/world-of-agents-prospects-of-agentbased-modeling-for-communication-research(f17fb1da-8aa5-484a-89dc-048939d7dd6a).html