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Message Dissemination in Social Networks for Support of Information Operations Planning

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Author: Svenmarck, P. · Lundin, M. · Sjöberg, E. · Huibregtse, J.N. · Vliet, A.J. van · Hemert, D.A. van · Amerongen, P.J.M. van
Type:article
Date:2010
Publisher: NATO
Source:Human Modelling for Military Application, 08/1-08/23
series:
RTO
Identifier: 426424
Report number: RTO-MP-HFM-202 AC/323(HFM-202)TP/365
Keywords: Defence · Human · HOI - Human Behaviour & Organisational Innovations · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences

Abstract

Message dissemination is often an important part of many provincial reconstruction efforts. This dissemination is affected by many factors that may only be partly known, such as the impact of the information, the social network structure, socio-cultural factors that affect the information dissemination, and at what point the information looses its news value in verbal communication. Understanding and managing how all factors that affect the message dissemination may interact pose a complex problem even for experienced Psychological Operations (PsyOps) officers. This paper therefore proposes that modelling and simulation (MoS) techniques based on epidemiological modelling can be used to cope with the complexity when planning information operations. Particularly, regarding what portion of the target population is reached by a message and within what timeframe. The paper describes how the epidemiological framework can be applied to a scenario that is used for combined staff exercises within the Swedish Armed Forces. The main focus is how cross-cultural dimensions, such as Hofstede's five dimensions, and other socio-cultural factors can be used to derive the social network structure and contact rate for message dissemination. The results illustrate the assumed effects of socio-cultural factors on message dissemination and the need for a coherent theoretical framework that provides some understanding of how the social network and contact rates are shaped by socio-cultural factors.