Publication IV

Abstract

As scientists we like to think that modern societies and their members base their views, opinions and behaviour on scientific facts. This is not necessarily the case, even though we are all (over-) exposed to information flow through various channels of media, i.e. newspapers, television, radio, internet, and web. It is thought that this is mainly due to the conflicting information on the mass media and to the individual attitude (formed by cultural, educational and environmental factors), that is, one external factor and another personal factor. In this paper we will investigate the dynamical development of opinion in a small population of agents by means of a computational model of opinion formation in a co-evolving network of socially linked agents. The personal and external factors are taken into account by assigning an individual attitude parameter to each agent, and by subjecting all to an external but homogeneous field to simulate the effect of the media. We then adjust the field strength in the model by using actual data on scientific perception surveys carried out in two different populations, which allow us to compare two different societies. We interpret the model findings with the aid of simple mean field calculations. Our results suggest that scientifically sound concepts are more difficult to acquire than concepts not validated by science, since opposing individuals organize themselves in close communities that prevent opinion consensus. Citation: Iñiguez G, Tagüeña-Martı́nez J, Kaski KK, Barrio RA (2012) Are Opinions Based on Science: Modelling Social Response to Scientific Facts. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42122. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042122 Editor: Petter Holme, Umeå University, Sweden Received February 27, 2012; Accepted July 2, 2012; Published August 8, 2012 Copyright: 2012 Iñiguez et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: GI and KK acknowledge the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Center of Excellence program 2006–2011, under Project No. 129670. KK acknowledges support from EU’s FP7 FET Open STREP Project ICTeCollective No. 238597. KK and RAB want to acknowledge financial support from Conacyt through Project No. 79641. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail: gerardo.iniguez@aalto.fi

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Iiguez2013PublicationI, title={Publication IV}, author={Gerardo I{\~n}iguez and Julia Tag{\"{u}e{\~n}a-Mart{\'i}nez and Kimmo Kaski and Julia Tag{\"{u}e{\~n}a-Martı́nez and Rafael A. Barrio}, year={2013} }