Opinion Dynamics Under Opposition

48 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2013

Date Written: October 20, 2013


We study a DeGroot-like opinion dynamics model in which agents may oppose other agents. As an underlying motivation, in our setup, agents want to adjust their opinions to match those of the agents they follow (their 'ingroup' or those they trust) and, in addition, they want to adjust their opinions to match the 'inverse' of those of the agents they oppose (their 'outgroup' or those they distrust). Our paradigm can account for a variety of phenomena such as consensus, neutrality, disagreement, and (functional) polarization, depending upon network (multigraph) structures and specifications of deviation functions, as we demonstrate, both analytically and by means of simple simulations. Psychologically and socio-economically, we interpret opposition as arising either from rebels; countercultures; rejection of the norms and values of disliked others, as 'negative referents'; or, simply, distrust.

Keywords: social networks, DeGroot learning, opinion dynamics, opposition, polarization

JEL Classification: C72, D83, D85, Z13

Suggested Citation

Eger, Steffen, Opinion Dynamics Under Opposition (October 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2352555 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2352555

Steffen Eger (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Gr├╝neburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323

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