The process by which genes and memes influence behaviour is poorly understood. Genes generally may have a strong influence as predispositions directing individuals towards certain behaviours; whereas memes may have a less direct influence as information inputs to cognitive processes determining behaviour. In certain areas of medical science, knowledge has progressed towards approximate quantification of genetic influences, while social psychology can provide models of mimetic influence as the spread of attitudes. This paper describes a computational model integration of genetic and mimetic influences in a healthcare domain. It models mimetic influences of advertising and health awareness messages in populations with genetic predispositions towards obesity; environmental variables influence both gene expression and mimetic force. Sensitivity analysis using the model with different population network structures is used to investigate the relative force of meme spread and influence.
Alistair Sutcliffe and Di Wang (2012)
Investigating the Relative Influence of Genes and Memes in Healthcare
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 15 (2) 1