Effects of Deception in Social Networks

See on Scoop.itIt Comes Undone-Think About It

Honesty plays a crucial role in any situation where organisms exchange information or resources. Dishonesty can thus be expected to have damaging effects on social coherence if agents cannot trust the information or goods they receive. However, a distinction is often drawn between prosocial lies (‘white’ lies) and antisocial lying (i.e. deception for personal gain), with the former being considered much less destructive than the latter. We use an agent-based model to show that antisocial lying causes social networks to become increasingly fragmented. Antisocial dishonesty thus places strong constraints on the size and cohesion of social communities, providing a major hurdle that organisms have to overcome (e.g. by evolving counter-deception strategies) in order to evolve large, socially cohesive communities. In contrast, ‘white’ lies can prove to be beneficial in smoothing the flow of interactions and facilitating a larger, more integrated network. Our results demonstrate that these group-level effects can arise as emergent properties of interactions at the dyadic level. The balance between prosocial and antisocial lies may set constraints on the structure of social networks, and hence the shape of society as a whole.


Effects of Deception in Social Networks
Gerardo Iñiguez, Tzipe Govezensky, Robin Dunbar, Kimmo Kaski, Rafael A. Barrio


Eli Levine‘s insight:

Accuracy is critical for the well being and survival of the individual and the society as a whole.  Honesty is essentially accuracy, although bear in mind, that there are times when information needs to be withheld, due to the fact that the presence of that information can have a negative and sometimes long lasting impact upon that individual and, potentially, upon the whole of the societal unit as a whole.

This kind of relates back to quantum physics, in my mind, since what we observe and how we observe it ends up leading to what happens in our universe, for better and for worse as well.  Information, its content and delivery, effects us in ways that we usually don’t fathom.  But the general rule of thumb, that accurate information leads to healthier results for the system (be it an individual, an organization or a society) while inaccurate information or negatively effective information, leads to less than healthy results, no matter what the justification or reasoning behind it was in the first place.


Think about it.

See on arxiv.org


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  1. Effects of Deception in Social Networks | Gaia Gazette - June 9, 2014

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