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Complex Adaptive Systems Modeling

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Adaptive computing systems, Game theory -- Application to political science, Multiagent systems, Democratization


Purpose: In the context of modernization and development, a complex adaptive systems framework can help address the coupling of macro social constraint and opportunity with individual agency. Combining system dynamics and agent based modeling, we formalize a simulation approach of the Human Development (HD) perspective to explore the interactive effects of economics, culture, society and politics across multiple human scales.

Methods: Based on a system of asymmetric, coupled nonlinear equations, we first capture the core qualitative logic of HD theory, empirically validated from World Values Survey (WVS) data. Using a simple evolutionary game approach, second we fuse endogenously derived individual socio-economic attribute changes with Prisoner’s Dilemma in an agent based model of the interactive political-cultural effects of heterogeneous, spatial intra-societal economic transactions. We then explore a new human development dynamics (HDD) model behavior via quasiglobal simulation methods to identify paths and pitfalls towards economic development, cultural plasticity, social and political change behavior.

Results: Our preliminary results suggest strong nonlinear path dependence and complexity in three areas: adaptive development processes, co-evolutionary societal transactions and near equilibrium development trajectories, with significant implications for anticipating and managing positive development outcomes. Strong local epistatic interactions characterized by adaptive co-evolution, shape higher order global conditions and ultimately societal outcomes.

Conclusions: Techno-social simulations such as this can provide scholars and policymakers alike insights into the nonlinear, complex adaptive effects of societal co-evolution. We believe complex adaptive or evolutionary systems approaches are necessary to understand both near and potentially catastrophic, far-from-equilibrium behavior and societal outcomes across all human scales of modernization.


© Abdollahian et al.; licensee Springer. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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