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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of agent-based modeling (ABM), a computational method that allows researchers to simulate how macro-level phenomena spontaneously arise from micro-level interactions, and examines how sociologists might apply it to chart the emergence of cultural phenomena from individual cognitive processing. After providing some historical context for the concepts of “emergence” and the “micro-to-macro” transition in social theory and summarizing contributions ABM has already made in this arena, this work makes a case for how cognitive sociology might employ ABM toward the end of developing new, nonrational microfoundations for social theory and lays out the argument for why it should. The chapter concludes by offering a brief introduction to the basics of ABM design along with an overview of resources available to researchers interested in getting started with it.

Keywords: agent-based modeling, computer simulation, emergence, nonrational, microfoundation

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