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Can a few fanatics influence the opinion of a large segment of a society?

Können einige wenige Fanatiker die Meinung der Bevölkerung in großem Umfang beeinflussen?
[journal article]

Stauffer, Dietrich; Sahimi, Muhammad

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-205226

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Abstract 'Models that provide insight into how extreme opinions about any social phenomenon may spread in a society or at the global scale are of great current interest. A realistic model must account for the fact that globalization, internet, and other means of mass communications have given rise to scale-free (SF) networks of interactions between people. We carry out extensive simulations of a new model which takes into account the SF nature of the interactions network, and provides some key insights into the phenomenon. The insights include, (1) the existence of a fundamental difference between a hierarchical network whereby people are influenced by those that are higher in the hierarchy but not by those below them, and a symmetrical network where person-on-person influence works mutually, and (2) the key result that a few 'fanatics' can influence a large fraction of the population either temporarily (in the hierarchical interaction networks) or permanently (in symmetrical interaction networks). Even if the fanatics themselves disappear, the population may still remain susceptible to the ideologies or opinion originally advocated by them. The model is, however, general and applicable to any phenomenon for which there is a degree of enthusiasm, or susceptibility to, in the population.' (author's abstract)|
Keywords influenceability; opinion; opinion formation; model construction; minority; fanaticism; public opinion; opinion leader; network; diversity of opinion
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods; Sociology of Communication, Sociology of Language, Sociolinguistics; Impact Research, Recipient Research
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 31-42
Journal Sozialwissenschaftlicher Fachinformationsdienst soFid (2006) Methoden und Instrumente der Sozialwissenschaften 2006/1
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications