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Pages 401-406
First published 2 July 2012

Effects of Individual Differences on Knowledge and Wisdom of Society: A Social Modeling Approach

Toshihiko Matsuka, Hidehito Honda


Categorically organized knowledge is the main vehicle in high-level cognitive processes. The previous empirical and theoretical studies on categorization paid almost exclusive attention to how individuals learn categorical knowledge. In the real world, however, people acquire knowledge not only through individual learning, but also through interacting with others. In the present study, using computational modeling, we explored how social interactions would produce unique dynamics of knowledge acquisition that cannot be examined by studies on micro level processes. The results of simulation studies showed that when there were several clusters of individuals in a society where individuals held different beliefs about what constitutes "good" knowledge, then the society as a whole formed Pareto-optimal knowledge. That is, there was no cluster of knowledge that was simultaneously worse in two important aspects of knowledge (i.e., accuracy and simplicity) as compared with those of other clusters in a mature society.