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Dynamics of Public Opinion: Diverse Media and Audiences’ Choices

Zhongtian Chen () and Hanlin Lan ()

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 2021, vol. 24, issue 2, 8

Abstract: Studies on the fundamental role of diverse media in the evolution of public opinion can protect us from the spreading of brainwashing, extremism, and terrorism. Many fear the information cocoon may result in polarization of the public opinion. Hence, in this work, we investigate how audiences' choices among diverse media might influence public opinion. Specifically, we aim to figure out how peoples' horizons (i.e., range of available media) and quantity, as well as the distribution of media, may shape the space of public opinion. We propose a novel model of opinion dynamics that considers different influences and horizons for every individual, and we carry out simulations using a real-world social network. Numerical simulations show that diversity in media can provide more choices to the people, although individuals only choose media within the bounds of their horizons, extreme opinions are more diluted, and no opinion polarizations emerge. Furthermore, we find that the distribution of media's opinions can effectively influence the space for public opinion, but when the number of media grows to a certain level, its effect will reach a limitation. Finally, we show that the effect of campaigns for consciousness or education can be improved by constructing the opinion of media, which can provide a basis for the policy maker in the new media age.

Keywords: Opinion Dynamics; Social Media; Polarization; Agent-Based Modeling; Opinion Guidance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-03-31
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:jas:jasssj:2020-131-2

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