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Agent Based Modelling of Pluralistic Ignorance in Social Systems

posted on 02.06.2021, 00:59 by FATIMA BILKIS SEEME
Often in our social life, we follow the crowd and conform to a norm that differs from our actual belief because we mistakenly assume that everyone else is a true conformist. This situation, known as Pluralistic Ignorance, takes many forms and leads to many social problems. This thesis proposes agent-based models to explore pluralistic ignorance from different perspectives. The models explored how pluralistic ignorance emerges in groups, how it can spread unpopular norms, or facilitate the rise of a dictator. The models also suggest ways how this can be avoided. This thesis also shows that pluralistic ignorance is closely related to other dysfunctional social-psychological phenomena, including various cognitive biases. By analysing the similarities and causal relationships, common underlying mechanisms found include misperception about other’s genuine opinions, drive to belong to a group and fear of rejection/isolation.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

David Green

Additional supervisor 1

Carlo Kopp

Additional supervisor 2

Julian Garcia

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Clayton School of IT


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type