Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
We present a model for opinion dynamics on a network. Opinions are assumed to be a continuous variable, reflecting a possible spectrum of real world opinions. A node’s opinion is updated to become more similar to a randomly selected neighbor’s opinion, provided that the neighbor’s opinion differs by less than a threshold. Initially considering a static network, we establish criteria to determine whether consensus or clustering will be the outcome of the dynamics and on what time scales these states will be reached. We find that smaller step size of opinion update will facilitate consensus formation in the network. Next, in contrast to the static networks with fixed structures, we incorporate the changing nature of the interpersonal relations in real-life social networks. In addition to the opinion dynamics, links that do not communicate due to divergent opinions may be broken with some probability and new links are randomly created. In this way, the network changes in an adaptive manner, which combines the topological evolution of the network with dynamics in the network nodes. Our investigation reveals that adaptation fosters the formation of larger clusters at small mean degrees, while it promotes the division of the major cluster at comparatively large mean degrees.
Zhang, Xinyu, "Continuous Opinion Dynamics on an Adaptive Network" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1410.
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