Opinion Dynamics and Learning in Social Networks
62 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2010
Date Written: August 30, 2010
We provide an overview of recent research on belief and opinion dynamics in social networks. We discuss both Bayesian and non-Bayesian models of social learning and focus on the implications of the form of learning (e.g., Bayesian vs. non-Bayesian), the sources of information (e.g., observation vs. communication), and the structure of social networks in which individuals are situated on three key questions: (1) whether social learning will lead to consensus, i.e., to agreement among individuals starting with different views; (2) whether social learning will effectively aggregate dispersed information and thus weed out incorrect beliefs; (3) whether media sources, prominent agents, politicians and the state will be able to manipulate beliefs and spread misinformation in a society.
Keywords: Bayesian updating, consensus, disagreement, learning, misinformation, non-Bayesian models, rule of thumb behavior, social networks
JEL Classification: C72, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation