Emergence of metapopulations and echo chambers in mobile agents

Starnini, M., Frasca, M. & Baronchelli, A. (2016). Emergence of metapopulations and echo chambers in mobile agents. Scientific Reports, 6, 31834.. doi: 10.1038/srep31834

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Abstract

Multi-agent models often describe populations segregated either in the physical space, i.e. subdivided in metapopulations, or in the ecology of opinions, i.e. partitioned in echo chambers. Here we show how the interplay between homophily and social influence controls the emergence of both kinds of segregation in a simple model of mobile agents, endowed with a continuous opinion variable. In the model, physical proximity determines a progressive convergence of opinions but differing opinions result in agents moving away from each others. This feedback between mobility and social dynamics determines to the onset of a stable dynamical metapopulation scenario where physically separated groups of like-minded individuals interact with each other through the exchange of agents. The further introduction of confirmation bias in social interactions, defined as the tendency of an individual to favor opinions that match his own, leads to the emergence of echo chambers where different opinions can coexist also within the same group. We believe that the model may be of interest to researchers investigating the origin of segregation in the offline and online world.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Divisions: School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences > Department of Mathematical Science
Related URLs:
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13762

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