Communicating Social Simulation Models to Sceptical Minds


When talking to fellow modellers about the feedback we get on our simulation models the conversation quickly shifts to anecdotes of rejective scepticism. Many of us experience that they get only few remarks, and especially only little helpful constructive feedback on their simulation models. In this forum paper, we give an overview and reflections on the most common criticisms experienced by ABM modellers. Our goal is to start a discussion on how to respond to criticism, and particularly rejective scepticism, in a way that makes it help to improve our models and consequently also increase acceptance and impact of our work. We proceed by identifying common criticism on agent-based modelling and social simulation methods and show where it shifts to rejection. In the second part, we reflect on the reasons for rejecting the agent-based approach, which we mainly locate in a lack of understanding on the one hand, and academic territorialism on the other hand. Finally, we also give our personal advice to socsim modellers of how to deal with both forms of rejective criticism.


Link to centre authors: Wijermans, Nanda
Publication info: Waldherr, A., Wijermans, N. 2013. 'Communicating Social Simulation Models to Sceptical Minds' Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 16 (4) 13


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