Behavior and context

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SUMMARY, REMARKS AND FUTURE WORK. Culture is one of the classical examples that is normally used to define a complex system. The inherent complexity of humans interacting directly provides enough diversity of phenomena, but if we also consider sociological problems that live in wider timescales, then it becomes boundless. The subject of the interaction is no more the person alone, but the different social constructs that coexist within a society, as, for example, different kind of social norms and expressions. The growing complexity of social systems is also confusing because it has not been traditionally understood in this way, which is logical because we have studied society from the different perspectives that have appeared historically. Humanities have studied the different holistic products that appear from complexity, like literature, philosophy or the different types of artistic studies. As we stated in the introduction, a different perspective appeared when the scientific method started comparative studies of society, bringing new tools, mainly modelling of general effects and statistics. Herbert Spencer popularized the analogy of considering the society as a human being, this is, as a cooperative organization of the different organs and tissues in order to provide a collective structure. And this is the main spirit of complexity sciences, which started to have more importance in the end of the XX century, giving rise to a new wave on how to understand quantitatively social systems. At this moment, we recall the title of this thesis: Behavior and context. The problem in the description of the context is a methodological one. Context is the conjunction of relevant circumstances correlated with the social description of an individual. Traditionally, the social description of a variable has been related with socioeconomic indicators, where the presence of the social structure is only understood with scalar variables. In this work, we show the importance of the network structure in the resemblance of this social profile, and how geometry may act as a proxy of this social variables containing, potentially, more information than just scalar variables. The behavior is correlated with the geometry of this social profile. The importance of the network version of the social profile can be checked by its correlation with the cultural variables of the ego. This is important because it reveals an idiosyncratic manner of making social relationships, and, therefore, the role of social institutions. But the network version is not only a proxy for cultural variables, it is a true identifier of people. A proof of this is the connection between personal profiles and probability of connection, showing that the similarity in the close structural network may be a proxy for social homophily, connected, therefore, to personal and cultural values. Therefore, we have identified a unit component (in terms of measure) of the individual, social and cultural influence on individuals, providing a personal signature around which social homophily appears, even in a complex context where culture and social values play a key role. At the end of the day, this thesis could be summarized by saying that the geometric structure of the close social environment is a signature of the individual and of its social and cultural values. Similarity in this signature is related to social homophily. The other main message that can be extracted from this thesis is related to the importance of ethnic groups in social modelling. Social modelling can not be replicated easily with a markovian model with binary interactions. This is due to the inherent complexity that was pointed out at the beginning of the chapter. Social phenomena exist in several timescales, and because of this they have a lot of implicit information. An ethnic group may exist because of this implicit information, due to, for example, a pre-existing social symbolism; but, in order to arise spontaneously from the social outcome of a binary process (in the way game theory works), some optimization is needed. This is, the existence of a marker does not provide, necessarily, a social separation depending on that variable, if this variable does not provide some kind of improvement in the fitness. This advantage may exist due to an asymmetrical social configuration, for example, in the case of a hierarchy. Previous works have shown the spontaneous appearance of this kind of structures [102], remarking again the importance of the different timescales in this kind of phenomena. An asymmetric social configuration allows the function to be optimized with ethnic markers, and the arena where cultures may compete, reinforcing the roles of their individuals, and building therefore, the different social profiles. With respect to the experimental part, the results that we obtain suggest that ethnic markers experiment should be replicated in contexts with different social configurations, studying, again, as the title suggests, the dependence on the context. It would be interesting the replication of simple ethnic separation altogether with a hierarchy or some reputation system. Once more, following the spirit of all the thesis, connects the importance of the ethnic, personal identifications with the social organization, that regulates its importance in the social equilibrium. In view of these conclusions, future works in this field should go deeper into the importance of the geometric social profile of the ego networks as an individual identifier. In this case, more data needs to be collected, in order to research other sociological variables like different aspects of culture, religion, political views or socioeconomic measures. Note that in the case of the present work, we have focused on the nationality, as the dataset provided us with a diverse sample of nationalities and the control group. In order to study other sociological variables, like wealth, race, gender or a particular social norm, new data is needed that fits those necessities. Moreover, we have focused on networks centered in the ego, where we have a perspective on the close social structure. It would be also interesting to study how much information is needed in order to study different kinds of networks. This is interesting from a practical point of view, as it could help to use different datasets to provide further proofs of the existence of the social signature, but also to check more properties of this measure. It would be interesting, for example, to study if family networks provide us enough information to talk about the different social values and/or material conditions of different families. If the information about the signatures still can be extracted, new datasets could be reused to make a stronger point about the cultural signature, saving the time of collecting new ego networks. Another possible path to follow in the future could be the study of signed networks together with the cultural profile. In our works, we have studied the importance of the social signature in order to determine the cultural profile, and its importance in the outcome of a relationship. It would be interesting to show the connection between these two elements, providing a relationship between cultural or socioeconomic variables and the friends or enemies an individual may have. The final suggestion for future work is related to the measure of properties of this social signature.We have stressed in the introduction (and in several chapters of the thesis) that the cultural values are a holistic product, which may be assumed and created by collectivities. In this work we have focused on a model that is based in the relationship between individual and its environment (in a mean-field like approach), but this is not needed. Considering again the example of the family, perhaps the family could be understood as a whole, and study the problem of its close social environment from a perspective of networks. Given that the problem of culture exists in several scales, it would be interesting to check if new relationships arise from this point of view. At the end of the day, all of these suggestions are basically related to checking the potential of the measure. This poses also an ethical question: if the potential of the social signature is shown in more contexts, and it correlates with personal information, it is important that these studies (public or private) are carried with the utmost concert about their possible implications and misuses.
Mención Internacional en el título de doctor
Machine learning algorithms, Reinforcement learning, Experimental game theory, Grid/Group theory, Computational social modeling, Social networks, Social structure
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