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A Unified General Framework for Opinion Dynamics

Abstract

Opinion dynamics is the study of how people’s opinions may change as they interact with
others in a population. This is conventionally studied by modelling people as interacting
agents with mathematical rules governing their behaviour. The field is characterised by an
uncoordinated approach to the creation of new models and rules, with no reference to a
unified general framework. This results in a large amount of duplicated work, even as a
significant portion of the parameter space remains unexplored. We propose that the
similarities between models developed even decades apart indicates the presence of a general
framework, which will inform researchers of new avenues for exploration within the
parameter space.
In this study, we unify at least 5 of the most popular models through a mathematical analysis
of their underlying rules, and develop a simulation program to experiment with our unified
framework. The effectiveness of the unified framework is demonstrated through comparison
with previous studies. This system will be able to highlight the nature of relationships
between existing models, and guide future research away from repetition and towards new
areas.

References

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