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Open AccessArticle

Conformity, Anticonformity and Polarization of Opinions: Insights from a Mathematical Model of Opinion Dynamics

1
Department of Control Systems and Mechatronics, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wrocław 50-370, Poland
2
Faculty of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Wrocław University of Science and Technology, Wrocław 50-370, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Entropy 2017, 19(7), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/e19070371
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 19 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Statistical Mechanics of Complex and Disordered Systems)
Understanding and quantifying polarization in social systems is important because of many reasons. It could for instance help to avoid segregation and conflicts in the society or to control polarized debates and predict their outcomes. In this paper, we present a version of the q-voter model of opinion dynamics with two types of responses to social influence: conformity (like in the original q-voter model) and anticonformity. We put the model on a social network with the double-clique topology in order to check how the interplay between those responses impacts the opinion dynamics in a population divided into two antagonistic segments. The model is analyzed analytically, numerically and by means of Monte Carlo simulations. Our results show that the system undergoes two bifurcations as the number of cross-links between cliques changes. Below the first critical point, consensus in the entire system is possible. Thus, two antagonistic cliques may share the same opinion only if they are loosely connected. Above that point, the system ends up in a polarized state. View Full-Text
Keywords: opinion dynamics; social influence; conformity; anticonformity; polarization; agent-based modeling; dynamical systems opinion dynamics; social influence; conformity; anticonformity; polarization; agent-based modeling; dynamical systems
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Krueger, T.; Szwabiński, J.; Weron, T. Conformity, Anticonformity and Polarization of Opinions: Insights from a Mathematical Model of Opinion Dynamics. Entropy 2017, 19, 371.

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