An Agent-Based Model of MySide Bias in Scientific Debates

Monday, March 25, 2024
Speaker(s) : Louise Dupuis (LAMSADE, Univ. Paris-Dauphine)

In this paper, we present an agent-based model for studying the impact of ‘myside bias’ on the argumentative dynamics in scientific communities. Recent insights in cognitive science suggest that scientific reasoning is influenced by ‘myside bias’. This bias manifests as a tendency to prioritize the search and generation of arguments that support one’s views rather than arguments that undermine them. Additionally, individuals tend to apply more critical scrutiny to opposing stances than to their own. Although myside bias may pull individual scientists away from the truth, its effects on communities of reasoners remain unclear. The aim of our model is two-fold: first, to study the argumentative dynamics generated by myside bias, and second, to explore which mechanisms may act as a mitigating factor against its pernicious effects. Our results indicate that biased communities are epistemically less successful than non-biased ones, and that they also tend to be less polarized than non-biased ones. Moreover, we find that two socio-epistemic mechanisms help communities to mitigate the effect of the bias: the presence of a common filter on weak arguments, which can be interpreted as shared beliefs, and an equal distribution of agents for each alternative at the beginning.

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