Modeling the role of networks and individual differences in inter-group violence

Alexander Isakov, Amelia Holcomb, Luke Glowacki, Nicholas A. Christakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There is significant heterogeneity within and between populations in their propensity to engage in conflict. Most research has neglected the role of within-group effects in social networks in contributing to between-group violence and focused instead on the precursors and consequences of violence, or on the role of between-group ties. Here, we explore the role of individual variation and of network structure within a population in promoting and inhibiting group violence towards other populations. Motivated by ethnographic observations of collective behavior in a small-scale society, we describe a model with differentiated roles for individuals embedded within friendship networks. Using a simple model based on votinglike dynamics, we explore several strategies for influencing group-level behavior. When we consider changing population level attitude changes and introducing control nodes separately, we find that a particularly effective control strategy relies on exploiting network degree. We also suggest refinements to our model such as tracking fine-grained information spread dynamics that can lead to further enrichment in using evolutionary game theory models for sociological phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0148314
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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