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Keywords:

  • opinion dynamics;
  • agent-based models;
  • diversity;
  • communication costs

Abstract

We study the dynamics of public opinion in a model where agents change their opinions as a result of random binary encounters if the opinion difference is below their individual thresholds that evolve over time. We ground these thresholds in a simple individual cost-benefit analysis with linear benefits of diversity and quadratic communication costs. We clarify and deepen the results of earlier continuous-opinion dynamics models (Deffuant et al., Adv Complex Systems 2000, 3, 87–98; Weisbuch et al., Complexity 2002, 7, 55–63) and establish several new results regarding the patterns of opinions in the asymptotic state and the cluster formation time. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 2009