Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Operational Sciences
John O. Miller, PhD
Opinion dynamics is the study of how opinions in a group of individuals change over time. A goal of opinion dynamics modelers has long been to find a social science-based model that generates strong diversity -- smooth, stable, possibly multi-modal distributions of opinions. This research lays the foundations for and develops such a model. First, a taxonomy is developed to precisely describe agent schedules in an opinion dynamics model. The importance of scheduling is shown with applications to generalized forms of two models. Next, the meta-contrast influence field (MIF) model is defined. It is rooted in self-categorization theory and improves on the existing meta-contrast model by providing a properly scaled, continuous influence basis. Finally, the MIF-Local Repulsion (MIF-LR) model is developed and presented. This augments the MIF model with a formulation of uniqueness theory. The MIF-LR model generates strong diversity. An application of the model shows that partisan polarization can be explained by increased non-local social ties enabled by communications technology.
DTIC Accession Number
Weimer, Christopher W., "Generating Strong Diversity of Opinions: Agent Models of Continuous Opinion Dynamics" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 1956.