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Cohesion, consensus and extreme information in opinion dynamics

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DOI: 10.1142/S0219525913500355
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Opinion formation is an important element of social dynamics. It has been widely studied in the last years with tools from physics, mathematics and computer science. Here, a continuous model of opinion dynamics for multiple possible choices is analysed. Its main features are the inclusion of disagreement and possibility of modulating information, both from one and multiple sources. The interest is in identifying the effect of the initial cohesion of the population, the interplay between cohesion and information extremism, and the effect of using multiple sources of information that can influence the system. Final consensus, especially with external information, depends highly on these factors, as numerical simulations show. When no information is present, consensus or segregation is determined by the initial cohesion of the population. Interestingly, when only one source of information is present, consensus can be obtained, in general, only when this is extremely mild, i.e. there is not a single opinion strongly promoted, or in the special case of a large initial cohesion and low information exposure. On the contrary, when multiple information sources are allowed, consensus can emerge with an information source even when this is not extremely mild, i.e. it carries a strong message, for a large range of initial conditions.


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