From evolution to revolution: Understanding mutability in large and disruptive human groups

Roger M. Whitaker, Diane Felmlee, Dinesh C. Verma, Alun Preece, Grace Rose Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the last 70 years there has been a major shift in the threats to global peace. While the 1950's and 1960's were characterised by the cold war and the arms race, many security threats are now characterised by group behaviours that are disruptive, subversive or extreme. In many cases such groups are loosely and chaotically organised, but their ideals are sociologically and psychologically embedded in group members to the extent that the group represents a major threat. As a result, insights into how human groups form, emerge and change are critical, but surprisingly limited insights into the mutability of human groups exist. In this paper we argue that important clues to understand the mutability of groups come from examining the evolutionary origins of human behaviour. In particular, groups have been instrumental in human evolution, used as a basis to derive survival advantage, leaving all humans with a basic disposition to navigate the world through social networking and managing their presence in a group. From this analysis we present five critical features of social groups that govern mutability, relating to social norms, individual standing, status rivalry, ingroup bias and cooperation. We argue that understanding how these five dimensions interact and evolve can provide new insights into group mutation and evolution. Importantly, these features lend themselves to digital modeling. Therefore computational simulation can support generative exploration of groups and the discovery of latent factors, relevant to both internal group and external group modelling. Finally we consider the role of online social media in relation to understanding the mutability of groups. This can play an active role in supporting collective behaviour, and analysis of social media in the context of the five dimensions of group mutability provides a fresh basis to interpret the forces affecting groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNext-Generation Analyst V
EditorsTimothy P. Hanratty, James Llinas
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Electronic)9781510609150
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Event5th Conference on Next-Generation Analyst - Anaheim, United States
Duration: Apr 10 2017Apr 11 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume10207
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Other

Other5th Conference on Next-Generation Analyst
CountryUnited States
CityAnaheim
Period4/10/174/11/17

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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