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Talk abstract
Collective Choice and Mutual Knowledge Structures

Diana Richards
Department of Political Science
University of Minnesota

Key Words: Complex system, stability, collective choice, knowledge structures, cognition.

Joint work with B.D. McKay and W.A. Richards

The conditions under which the aggregation of information from interacting agents results in a stable or an unstable collective outcome is an important puzzle in the study of complex systems. We show that if a complex system of aggregated choice respects a mutual knowledge structure, then the prospects of a stable collective outcome are considerably improved. Our domain-independent results apply to collective choice ranging from perception, where an interpretation of sense data is made by a collection of perceptual modules, to social choice, where a group decision is made from a set of preferences held by individuals.

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1998-1999 Mathematics in Biology