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Abstract: Many models have been proposed to explain opinion formation in groups ofindividuals; most of these models study opinion propagation as the interactionbetween nodes-agents in a social network. Opinion formation is a complexprocess and a realistic model should also take into account the importantfeedbacks that the opinions of the agents have on the structure of the socialnetworks and on the characteristics of the opinion dynamics. In this paper wewill show that associating to different agents different kinds ofinterconnections and different interacting behaviours can lead to interestingscenarios, like the coexistence of several opinion clusters, namely pluralism.In our model agents have opinions uniformly and continuously distributedbetween two extremes. The social network is formed through a social aggregationmechanism including the segregation process of the extremists that results inmany real communities. We show how this process affects the opinion dynamics inthe whole society. In the opinion evolution we consider the differentpredisposition of single individuals to interact and to exchange opinion witheach other; we associate to each individual a different tolerance threshold,depending on its own opinion: extremists are less willing to interact withindividuals with strongly different opinions and to change significantly theirideas. A general result is obtained: when there is no interaction restriction,the opinion always converges to uniformity, but the same is happening whenevera strong segregation process of the extremists occurs. Only when extremists areforming clusters but these clusters keep interacting with the rest of thesociety, the survival of a wide opinion range is guaranteed.

Autor: Floriana Gargiulo, Alberto Mazzoni


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