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Bounded-Confidence Models of Opinion Dynamics with Neighborhood Effects

Sanjukta KrishnagopalMason A. Porter
Feb 2024
As people's opinions change, their social networks typically coevolve with them. People are often more susceptible to influence by people with similar opinions than by people with dissimilar opinions. In a bounded-confidence model (BCM) of opinion dynamics, interacting individuals influence each other through dyadic influence if and only if their opinions are sufficiently similar to each other. We introduce `neighborhood BCMs' (NBCMs) that include both the usual dyadic influence and a transitive influence, which models the effect of friends of a friend when determining whether or not an interaction with a friend influences an individual. In this transitive influence, an individual's opinion is influenced by a neighbor when, on average, the opinions of the neighbor's neighbors are sufficiently similar to their own opinion. We formulate neighborhood Deffuant--Weisbuch (NDW) and neighborhood Hegselmann--Krause (NHK) BCMs. We simulate our NDW model on time-independent networks and observe interesting opinion states that cannot occur in an associated baseline DW model. We also simulate our NDW model on adaptive networks that coevolve with opinions by changing its structure through `transitive homophily'. An individual that breaks a tie to one of its neighbors and then rewires that tie to a new individual, with a preference for individuals with a mean neighbor opinion that is closer to that individual's opinion. We explore how the qualitative opinion dynamics and network properties of our time-independent and adaptive NDWM models change as we adjust the relative proportions of dyadic and transitive influence. Finally, we study a two-layer opinion--disease model in which we couple our NDW model with disease spread through a shared adaptive network that can change both on the opinion layer and on the disease layer and we examine how the opinion dynamics affect disease spread.
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