A micro-level simulation for the prediction of intention and behaviour
Richetin, J., Sengupta, A., Perugini, M., Adjali, I., Hurling, R., Vukadinovic Greetham, D. and Spence , M. (2010) A micro-level simulation for the prediction of intention and behaviour. Cognitive Systems Research, 11 (2). pp. 181-193. ISSN 1389-0417
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2009.08.001
In this contribution we aim at anchoring Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) simulations in actual models of human psychology. More specifically, we apply unidirectional ABM to social psychological models using low level agents (i.e., intra-individual) to examine whether they generate better predictions, in comparison to standard statistical approaches, concerning the intentions of performing a behavior and the behavior. Moreover, this contribution tests to what extent the predictive validity of models of attitude such as the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) or Model of Goal-directed Behavior (MGB) depends on the assumption that peoples’ decisions and actions are purely rational. Simulations were therefore run by considering different deviations from rationality of the agents with a trembling hand method. Two data sets concerning respectively the consumption of soft drinks and physical activity were used. Three key findings emerged from the simulations. First, compared to standard statistical approach the agent-based simulation generally improves the prediction of behavior from intention. Second, the improvement in prediction is inversely proportional to the complexity of the underlying theoretical model. Finally, the introduction of varying degrees of deviation from rationality in agents’ behavior can lead to an improvement in the goodness of fit of the simulations. By demonstrating the potential of ABM as a complementary perspective to evaluating social psychological models, this contribution underlines the necessity of better defining agents in terms of psychological processes before examining higher levels such as the interactions between individuals.