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Influence of media on collective debates

Quattrociocchi, Walter and Caldarelli, Guido and Scala, Antonio Influence of media on collective debates. Working Paper # /2013 ArXiv (Submitted)

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The information system (T.V., newspapers, blogs, social network platforms) and its inner dynamics play a fundamental role on the evolution of collective debates and thus on the public opinion. In this work we address such a process focusing on how the current inner strategies of the information system (competition, customer satisfaction) once combined with the gossip may affect the opinions dynamics. A reinforcement effect is particularly evident in the social network platforms where several and incompatible cultures coexist (e.g, pro or against the existence of chemical trails and reptilians, the new world order conspiracy and so forth). We introduce a computational model of opinion dynamics which accounts for the coexistence of media and gossip as separated but interdependent mechanisms influencing the opinions evolution. Individuals may change their opinions under the contemporary pressure of the information supplied by the media and the opinions of their social contacts. We stress the effect of the media communication patterns by considering both the simple case where each medium mimics the behavior of the most successful one (in order to maximize the audience) and the case where there is polarization and thus competition among media reported information (in order to preserve and satisfy their segmented audience). Finally, we first model the information cycle as in the case of traditional main stream media (i.e, when every medium knows about the format of all the others) and then, to account for the effect of the Internet, on more complex connectivity patterns (as in the case of the web based information). We show that multiple and polarized information sources lead to stable configurations where several and distant opinions coexist.

Item Type: Working Paper (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Subjects: Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Computers and Society (cs.CY); Social and Information Networks (cs.SI); Computational Physics (physics.comp-ph)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Q Science > QC Physics
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Ms T. Iannizzi
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2014 13:57
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2014 13:57
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2124

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