Discrete Model of Opinion Changes Using Knowledge and Emotions as Control Variables
We present a new model of opinion changes dependent on the agents emotional state and their information about the issue in question. Our goal is to construct a simple, yet nontrivial and flexible representation of individual attitude dynamics for agent based simulations, that could be used in a variety of social environments. The model is a discrete version of the cusp catastrophe model of opinion dynamics in which information is treated as the normal factor while emotional arousal (agitation level determining agent receptiveness and rationality) is treated as the splitting factor. Both variables determine the resulting agent opinion, which itself can be in favor of the studied position, against it, or neutral. Thanks to the flexibility of implementing communication between the agents, the model is potentially applicable in a wide range of situations. As an example of the model application, we study the dynamics of a set of agents communicating among themselves via messages. In the example, we chose the simplest, fully connected communication topology, to focus on the effects of the individual opinion dynamics, and to look for stable final distributions of agents with different emotions, information and opinions. Even for such simplified system, the model shows complex behavior, including phase transitions due to symmetry breaking by external propaganda.