Eureka simulation demonstrates the devastating social consequences of "slight" prejudice

Article by Ken Thompson, 06 Apr 2017

A neat sim, based on the Schelling Segregation Model and implemented using the Anylogic simulation tool in agent-based mode, shows what happens when you have two divided communities living in the same place such as a city or a country.


The shared living space is modelled as a very large chessboard and each house owner has a preference for living next to their own kind (race, tribe, religion, class, sexual preference etc). If this preference is met then they stay where they are otherwise they move house which leads to self-organisation of the chessboard. The simulation shows that even a mild preference for living next door to your own kind soon produces a totally segregated society. Also when you play the demo try putting a very strong preference (greater than 80%) on living next door to your own kind. This produces total chaos .... due to the fact that everybody just keeps on moving house and no stable state is ever reached!

This is what I call a "Eureka Simulation" as it gives the players a blinding flash of insight, in this case, even a very slight level of social intolerance brings devastating consequences in the longer-term !!!


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Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Managing Director of Business Simulations Ltd.

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