Combining social network analysis and agent-based modelling to explore dynamics of human interaction: A review
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agent-based modelling
social network analysis
human behaviour

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Will, M., Groeneveld, J., Frank, K., & Muller, B. (2020). Combining social network analysis and agent-based modelling to explore dynamics of human interaction: A review. Socio-Environmental Systems Modelling, 2, 16325.


Agent-based modelling (ABM) and social network analysis (SNA) are both valuable tools for exploring the impact of human interactions on a broad range of social and ecological patterns. Integrating these approaches offers unique opportunities to gain insights into human behaviour that neither the evaluation of social networks nor agent-based models alone can provide. There are many intriguing examples that demonstrate this potential, for instance in epidemiology, marketing or social dynamics. Based on an extensive literature review, we provide an overview on coupling ABM with SNA and evaluating the integrated approach. Building on this, we identify current shortcomings in the combination of the two methods. The greatest room for improvement is found with regard to (i) the consideration of the concept of social integration through networks, (ii) an increased use of the co-evolutionary character of social networks and embedded agents, and (iii) a systematic and quantitative model analysis focusing on the causal relationship between the agents and the network. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of a comprehensive and clearly structured model conceptualization and documentation. We synthesize our findings in guidelines that contain the main aspects to consider when integrating social networks into agent-based models.

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