The Complex Evolution of a Simple Traffic Convention: The Functions and Implications of Habit
This paper explores the evolution of a simple traffic convention concerning the side of the road on which to drive. This agent-based simulation probes some of the deeper conceptual issues involved in the evolution of conventions, particularly the nature of rational decision-making and its possible reliance upon habit. The simulations show that the systemic convergence to a left/right convention is often improved or sustained by habit, alongside other “intelligent” and calculative attributes of agents. We show that habit formation is part of a possible mechanism of “reconstitutive downward causation” among agents where the preferences of each agent are partly malleable.