Opinion Formation under the Two-Step Flow Model and the GR Game Framework


The Gur game, an artificial game, associates voters in the game with finite state automata and a moderator with a reward function. The “two-step flow communication model”, a hypothesis based on empirical studies and then popular in marketing and diffusion research, addresses that the influence from the mass media may not be received by audience directly, instead mediated by "opinion leaders" to their followers. In this paper, we seek to discover the roles of opinion leaders and individuals following one or more opinion leaders with distinct opinions under the Gur game framework and the two-step flow model. Each follower is associated with a finite state automaton to reflect the state of mind. An opinion leader has a reward function to predict the probability of any follower changing the state of mind after he/she updates status or comments on an issue. Different from the standard Gur game model, multiple moderators are involved in the proposed model. We examine a scenario with two groups led by two opinion leaders with opposite opinions on an issue, and explore the parameters of group size, the role of overlapped followers and opinion convergence speed. We discuss when a group led by a dominated and opinionated opinion leader converges faster than a group with a weak leader, how the overlapped followers influence the group with a weak leader. In addition, we explore how parameters mentioned above influence opinion formation when a smaller group is formed inside a larger group in the Gur game framework.

Author Information
Shu-Yuan Wu, City University of New York, USA
Theodore Brown, City University of New York, USA

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2015
Stream: Social Work

This paper is part of the ACSS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon