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A modelling methodology for social interaction experiments

by   Susan C. Fennell, et al.

Analysis of temporal network data arising from online interactive social experiments is not possible with standard statistical methods because the assumptions of these models, such as independence of observations, are not satisfied. In this paper, we outline a modelling methodology for such experiments where, as an example, we analyse data collected using the Virtual Interaction Application (VIAPPL) --- a software platform for conducting experiments that reveal how social norms and identities emerge through social interaction. We apply our model to show that ingroup favouritism and reciprocity are present in the experiments, and to quantify the strengthening of these behaviours over time. Our method enables us to identify participants whose behaviour is markedly different from the norm. We use the method to provide a visualisation of the data that highlights the level of ingroup favouritism, the strong reciprocal relationships, and the different behaviour of participants in the game. While our methodology was developed with VIAPPL in mind, its usage extends to any type of social interaction data.


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