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Modelling Opinion Formation with Physics Tools: Call for Closer Link with Reality

The growing field of studies of opinion formation using physical formalisms and computer simulation based tools suffers from relative lack of connection to the 'real world' societal behaviour. Such sociophysics research should aim at explaining observations or at proposing new ones. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as many works concentrate more on the models themselves than on the social phenomena. Moreover, the simplifications proposed in simulations often sacrifice realism on the altar of computability. There are several ways to improve the value of the research, the most important by promoting truly multidisciplinary cooperation between physicists aiming to describe social phenomena and sociologists studying the phenomena in the field. In the specific case of modelling of opinion formation there are a few technical ideas which might bring the computer models much closer to reality, and therefore to improve the predictive value of the sociophysics approach.

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File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/12/1/11/11.pdf
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Article provided by Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation in its journal Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.

Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 11

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Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2008-72-2
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  6. Joshua M. Epstein, 2008. "Why Model?," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 11(4), pages 12.
  7. Katarzyna Sznajd-Weron & Jozef Sznajd, 2000. "Opinion evolution in closed community," HSC Research Reports HSC/00/04, Hugo Steinhaus Center, Wroclaw University of Technology.
  8. Scott Moss & Bruce Edmonds, 2005. "Towards Good Social Science," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 8(4), pages 13.
  9. Dietrich Stauffer & Adriano Sousa & Christian Schulze, 2004. "Discretized Opinion Dynamics of the Deffaunt Model on Scale-Free Networks," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 7(3), pages 7.
  10. Barabási, Albert-László & Ravasz, Erzsébet & Vicsek, Tamás, 2001. "Deterministic scale-free networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 299(3), pages 559-564.
  11. Galam, Serge, 1997. "Rational group decision making: A random field Ising model at T = 0," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 238(1), pages 66-80.
  12. Dorogovtsev, S.N. & Mendes, J.F.F., 2003. "Evolution of Networks: From Biological Nets to the Internet and WWW," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198515906, December.
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