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The Interplay Between Conformity and Anticonformity and its Polarizing Effect on Society

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Abstract

Simmering debates leading to polarization are observed in many domains. Although empirical findings show a strong correlation between this phenomenon and modularity of a social network, still little is known about the actual mechanisms driving communities to conflicting opinions. In this paper, we used an agent-based model to check if the polarization may be induced by a competition between two types of social response: conformity and anticonformity. The proposed model builds on the q-voter model (Castellano et al, 2009b) and uses a double-clique topology in order to capture segmentation of a community. Our results indicate that the interplay between intra-clique conformity and inter-clique anticonformity may indeed lead to a bi-polarized state of the entire system. We have found a dynamic phase transition controlled by the fraction L of negative cross-links between cliques. In the regime of small values of L the system is able to reach the total positive consensus. If the values of L are large enough, anticonformity takes over and the system always ends up in a polarized stated. Putting it the other way around, the segmentation of the network is not a sufficient condition for the polarization to appear. A suitable level of antagonistic interactions between segments is required to arrive at a polarized steady state within our model.

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  • Patryk Siedlecki & Janusz SzwabiÅ„ski & Tomasz Weron, 2016. "The Interplay Between Conformity and Anticonformity and its Polarizing Effect on Society," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 19(4), pages 1-9.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2016-29-3
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/19/4/9/9.pdf
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    1. Zeev Maoz, 2006. "Network Polarization, Network Interdependence, and International Conflict, 1816–2002," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 43(4), pages 391-411, July.
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    1. Jędrzejewski, Arkadiusz & Sznajd-Weron, Katarzyna, 2018. "Impact of memory on opinion dynamics," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 505(C), pages 306-315.

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