Many models have been proposed to explain opinion formation in groups of individuals; most of these models study opinion propagation as the interaction between nodes/agents in a social network. Opinion formation is a complex process and a realistic model should also take into account the important feedbacks that the opinions of the agents have on the structure of the social networks and on the characteristics of the opinion dynamics. In this paper we will show that associating to different agents different kinds of interconnections and different interacting behaviours can lead to interesting scenarios, like the coexistence of several opinion clusters, namely pluralism. In our model agents have opinions uniformly and continuously distributed between two extremes. The social network is formed through a social aggregation mechanism including the segregation process of the extremists that results in many real communities. We show how this process affects the opinion dynamics in the whole society. In the opinion evolution we consider the different predisposition of single individuals to interact and to exchange opinion with each other; we associate to each individual a different tolerance threshold, depending on its own opinion: extremists are less willing to interact with individuals with strongly different opinions and to change significantly their ideas. A general result is obtained: when there is no interaction restriction, the opinion always converges to uniformity, but the same is happening whenever a strong segregation process of the extremists occurs. Only when extremists are forming clusters but these clusters keep interacting with the rest of the society, the survival of a wide opinion range is guaranteed.
|Titolo:||Can extremism guarantee pluralism?|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|