|<< 1 >>
Canessa, E., & Chaigneau, S. (2014). The dynamics of social agreement according to Conceptual Agreement Theory. Qual. Quant., 48(6), 3289–3309.
Abstract: Many social phenomena can be viewed as processes in which individuals in social groups develop agreement (e.g., public opinion, the spreading of rumor, the formation of social and linguistic conventions). Conceptual Agreement Theory (CAT) models social agreement as a simplified communicational event in which an Observer and Actor exchange ideas about a concept , and where uses that information to infer whether 's conceptual state is the same as its own (i.e., to infer agreement). Agreement may be true (when infers that is thinking and this is in fact the case, event ) or illusory (when infers that is thinking and this is not the case, event ). In CAT, concepts that afford or become more salient in the minds of members of social groups. Results from an agent-based model (ABM) and probabilistic model that implement CAT show that, as our conceptual analyses suggested would be the case, the simulated social system selects concepts according to their usefulness to agents in promoting agreement among them (Experiment 1). Furthermore, the ABM exhibits more complex dynamics where similar minded agents cluster and are able to retain useful concepts even when a different group of agents discards them (Experiment 2). We discuss the relevance of CAT and the current findings for analyzing different social communication events, and suggest ways in which CAT could be put to empirical test.
Canessa, E. C., & Chaigneau, S. E. (2016). When are concepts comparable across minds? Qual. Quant., 50(3), 1367–1384.
Abstract: In communication, people cannot resort to direct reference (e.g., pointing) when using diffuse concepts like democracy. Given that concepts reside in individuals' minds, how can people share those concepts? We argue that concepts are comparable across a social group if they afford agreement for those who use it; and that agreement occurs whenever individuals receive evidence that others conceptualize a given situation similarly to them. Based on Conceptual Agreement Theory, we show how to compute an agreement probability based on the sets of properties belonging to concepts. If that probability is sufficiently high, this shows that concepts afford an adequate level of agreement, and one may say that concepts are comparable across individuals' minds. In contrast to other approaches, our method considers that inter-individual variability in naturally occurring conceptual content exists and is a fact that must be taken into account, whereas other theories treat variability as error that should be cancelled out. Given that conceptual variability will exist, our approach may establish whether concepts are comparable across individuals' minds more soundly than previous methods.
Chaigneau, S. E., Canessa, E., Barra, C., & Lagos, R. (2018). The role of variability in the property listing task. Behav. Res. Methods, 50(3), 972–988.
Abstract: It is generally believed that concepts can be characterized by their properties (or features). When investigating concepts encoded in language, researchers often ask subjects to produce lists of properties that describe them (i.e., the Property Listing Task, PLT). These lists are accumulated to produce Conceptual Property Norms (CPNs). CPNs contain frequency distributions of properties for individual concepts. It is widely believed that these distributions represent the underlying semantic structure of those concepts. Here, instead of focusing on the underlying semantic structure, we aim at characterizing the PLT. An often disregarded aspect of the PLT is that individuals show intersubject variability (i.e., they produce only partially overlapping lists). In our study we use a mathematical analysis of this intersubject variability to guide our inquiry. To this end, we resort to a set of publicly available norms that contain information about the specific properties that were informed at the individual subject level. Our results suggest that when an individual is performing the PLT, he or she generates a list of properties that is a mixture of general and distinctive properties, such that there is a non-linear tendency to produce more general than distinctive properties. Furthermore, the low generality properties are precisely those that tend not to be repeated across lists, accounting in this manner for part of the intersubject variability. In consequence, any manipulation that may affect the mixture of general and distinctive properties in lists is bound to change intersubject variability. We discuss why these results are important for researchers using the PLT.