Special Issue

SIA and ABM - a special issue

The use of SIA in ABMs to understand or represent within and between-group dynamics is increasing. As the application domains are spread and the ways we formalise so diverse, we see a need for an overview, showcasing the diversity of SIA ABMs, providing guidance for modelling SIA, etc. This special issue will target exactly that...

Call for papers

If you are modelling aspects of the social Identity approach (SIA) using ABM then this special issue may be for you!

Over the years, more and more modellers are (interested in) using aspects of the SIA to improve the realism of models of social and collective behaviour (see for example https://www.siam-network.online/). At the same time, many modellers face the challenge of modelling human behaviour and decision-making and/or making use of social/behavioural theory. A key challenge for designing an ABM is to represent human behaviour in a way that is psychologically plausible, i.e., how the relevant aspects of behaviour can be formalized using computer code. This choice of how to represent human behaviour in a model is critical, as subtly different assumptions here might result in very different model results (Dressler 2018, Wijermans 2020). The challenges we have when formalising human decision-making and behaviour, and implementing social/behavioural theory, is taken on for a family of theories (SIA) that offer high potential to develop context-sensitive decision-making.

The Social Identity Approach (SIA) reflects a family of theories that explain human behaviour and decision-making in its social context representing how people might decide what to do within a specific context and social-physical situation. SIA proposes that people derive a significant part of their self-concept from the social groups to which they belong. SIA posits that social identification with others, and the perception of people as fellow group members or outsiders, is a fundamental basis for collective behaviour, and investigates how and when individuals come to feel, think and act as group members rather than as unique individuals (Tajfel, 1978; Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher & Wetherell, 1987).

We are seeking articles for a special issue in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) targeting agent-based social simulations that use SIA. With this special issue we aim to showcase a set of ABMs that actually formalise aspects of SIA. Our purpose is threefold:

  1. to make SIA accessible for modellers as a relevant psychology-based option to represent within and between-group dynamics by describing how and when individuals come to feel, think and act as group members;

  2. to enable learning from/connecting to the different formalisations and interpretations of SIA, and

  3. to create awareness of the relevance of SIA for social simulation.

We would like to invite you or anyone you know working with SIA and ABM to contribute to this special issue. We are looking for original work that makes a serious attempt to formalize SIA and integrate it into agent-based models. Justification for all SIA points & formalizations chosen and projects from interdisciplinary teams are especially welcome. To ensure a coherent set of high-quality papers and co-develop advances in the area, we plan to hold a workshop for authors to share their work in a way that allows them to profit from the expertise of all.


15 Oct 2021: Abstract submission

29 Oct 2021: Notification and feedback to authors

15 Feb 2022: Full paper submission

The abstract should be 500 words and entail details on the stage of your paper project. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • SIA-ABMs of various application fields. We aim at papers that have SIA at their core and speak to an ABM community. The models can link to empirical data, be explorative or theoretical.

  • Projects that extend existing models with SIA.

  • Projects that implement different SIA formalizations and their effects in ABM.

Please submit your abstracts and ask any questions to SIA-specialissue@mail.de

The editorial team:

Geeske Scholz, Nanda Wijermans,

Martin Neumann, Rocco Paolillo, and Anne Templeton,


Dressler, G., Groeneveld, J., Buchmann, C. M., Guo, C., Hase, N., Thober, J., et al. (2018). Implications of behavioral change for the resilience of pastoral systemsLessons from an agent-based model. Ecological Complexity, 10. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecocom.2018.06.002

Reicher, S., Spears, S., Haslam, A. (2010). The social identity approach in social psychology. In Wheterell, M., Moganty, C. (eds.). The sage handbook of identities (pp. 45-62). London: Sage.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin, & S. Worchel (Eds.). The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33-47). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole

Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.

Wijermans, N., Boonstra, W. J., Orach, K., Hentati-Sundberg, J., & Schlüter, M. (2020). Behavioural diversity in fishing—Towards a next generation of fishery models. Fish and Fisheries, 274(2), 30–19. http://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12466