Cultural polarization and the role of extremist agents: A simple simulation model

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cultural dynamics can be heavily influenced by extremists. To better understand this influence, temporal dynamics of an arbitrary cultural belief are simulated in a simple computational model. Extremist agents, holding an immutable and extreme belief, are used to examine the process of polarization - adoption of the extremist belief by the entire population. Two possible methods of counteracting polarization are examined, removal of the extremist agent and introducing a counter-extremist which holds an immutable belief at the opposite extreme. Eliminating the extremist agent is only effective at the onset of cultural transition, while introducing a counter-extremist is effective at any time and will lead to a dynamic intermediate belief. Finally, a parameter governing the society's willingness to adopt new beliefs is varied. As it decreases, extremist agents are unable polarize a society. Instead the population breaks permanently into two or more belief groups. The study closes with a possible pathway for extremists to nevertheless polarize a society not open to new beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction - 6th International Conference, SBP 2013, Proceedings
Pages93-101
Number of pages9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 14 2013
Event6th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction, SBP 2013 - Washington, DC, United States
Duration: Apr 2 2013Apr 5 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7812 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Other

Other6th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction, SBP 2013
CountryUnited States
CityWashington, DC
Period4/2/134/5/13

Keywords

  • consensus
  • cultural transitions
  • extremism
  • networks
  • social simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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    Shutters, S. (2013). Cultural polarization and the role of extremist agents: A simple simulation model. In Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction - 6th International Conference, SBP 2013, Proceedings (pp. 93-101). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); Vol. 7812 LNCS). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-37210-0_11