Document Type : Original Article
Information Technology Faculty, ICT Research Institute (ITRC)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran-Iran
Knowing the current public opinion and predicting its trend using opinion formation models is very applicable. The social impact model of opinion formation is a discrete binary opinion model. It describes how interactions among individuals and sharing their opinions about a specific topic in a social network affect the dynamics of their opinions and form the opinion of society. The society could be an online social network. In this research, we considered the effect of segregation on opinion formation. Segregation is a phenomenon that happens due to homophily and is measured based upon network topology. Homophily is the tendency of individuals to interact with others who share similar traits. We used scale-free networks to model interactions between individuals. The social impact model includes a noise parameter, which is the stochastic part of the model, dealing with the inexplicable behavior of individuals and the effects of other influentials, e.g., mass media. Since this noise is a white noise with no bias toward any possible opinion, for simplicity, we assumed a noise-free social impact model, which is valid in equilibrium analysis we considered. The results reveal that with the same attributes for the individuals, the more segregated opinion group dominates the less segregated opinion group on average. Therefore, with the same population size and individual characteristics of both opinion groups, segregation is an overall influential factor for opinion formation. A more segregated opinion group attracts some individuals from the other group and becomes the majority opinion group of society in equilibrium.