Opinion Network Modeling and Experiment
We present a model describing the temporal evolution of opinions due to interactions among a network of individuals. This Accept-Shift-Constrict (ASC) model is formulated in terms of coupled nonlinear differential equations for opinions and uncertainties. The ASC model dynamics allows for the emergence and persistence of majority positions so that the mean opinion can shift even for a symmetric network. The model also formulates a distinction between opinion and rhetoric in accordance with a recently proposed theory of the group polarization effect. This enables the modeling of discussion-induced shifts toward the extreme without the typical modeling assumption of greater resistance to persuasion among extremists. An experiment is described in which triads engaged in online discussion. Simulations show that the ASC model is in qualitative and quantitative agreement with the experimental data.
This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research under grant N00014–15–1–2549.