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Voter models and external influence Majmudar, Jimit


Opinions, and subsequently opinion dynamics, depend not just on interactions among individuals, but also on external influences such as the mass media. The dependence on local interactions, however, has received considerably more attention. In this work, we extend the classical voter model, the biased voter model, and the threshold voter model to include external influences. We study the new models both analytically and computationally, and we show that some of the new models can be understood after employing diffusion approximations and mean field approximations. We derive results pertaining to the probability of reaching consensus on a particular opinion and also the expected consensus time for the different models. We find that although including an external influence leads a faster consensus in general, this effect is more pronounced in the classical voter model as compared to the threshold voter model. Some of our findings suggest the potential importance of “macro-level” phenomena such as the external influences as compared to the “micro-level” local interactions, in modelling opinion dynamics.

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