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Development and evaluation of an agent-based model of sexual partnership

Publication Abstract

Knittel, A., R. Riolo, and Rachel C. Snow. 2011. "Development and evaluation of an agent-based model of sexual partnership." Adaptive Behavior, 19(6): 425-450.

The agent-based model presented here builds on existing models, allowing for multiple partnerships, including those overlapping in time, to examine sexual partnerships, with the goal of hypothesis testing and guiding data collection. Within each model run, agents are assigned characteristics (including quality, aspiration, courtship duration, and ideal number of lifetime partners) and then search for partners; existing couples choose whether they should break up, remain dating, or become sexual partners. Model behavior was tested across a wide range of parameters and compared with empirical data. The model produces numbers of lifetime sexual partners, and partners in the last year, rates of concurrency, and relationship durations similar to nationally representative data from the United States; it also generates correlations in partners' quality similar to those reported for marriage and dating partners. Model results highlight the importance of individual preferences, interactions between individuals, and contextual factors in sexual decision making.

DOI:10.1177/1059712311422611 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States.

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