Modeling education and advertising with opinion dynamics

Thomas Moore, Patrick Finley, Nancy Brodsky, Theresa Brown, Benjamin Apelberg, Bridget Ambrose, Robert Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present a modified Deffuant-Weisbuch opinion dynamics model that integrates the influence of media campaigns on opinion. Media campaigns promote messages intended to inform and influence the opinions of the targeted audiences through factual and emotional appeals. Media campaigns take many forms: brand-specific advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships, political, religious, or social messages, and public health and educational communications. We illustrate modelbased analysis of campaigns using tobacco advertising and public health education as examples. In this example, "opinion" is not just an individual's attitude towards smoking, but the integration of a wide range of factors that influence the likelihood that an individual will decide to smoke, such as knowledge, perceived risk, perceived utility and affective evaluations of smoking. This model captures the ability of a media campaign to cause a shift in network-level average opinion, and the inability of a media message to do so if it promotes too extreme a viewpoint for a given target audience. Multiple runs displayed strong heterogeneity in response to media campaigns as the difference between network average initial opinion and broadcasted media opinion increased, with some networks responding ideally and others being largely unaffected. In addition, we show that networks that display community structure can be made more susceptible to be influenced by a media campaign by a complementary campaign focused on increasing tolerance to other opinions in targeted nodes with high betweenness centrality. Similarly, networks can be "inoculated" against advertising campaigns by a media campaign that decreases tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJASSS
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Opinion dynamics
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Moore, T., Finley, P., Brodsky, N., Brown, T., Apelberg, B., Ambrose, B., & Glass, R. (2015). Modeling education and advertising with opinion dynamics. JASSS, 18(2), 1-11. [7]. https://doi.org/10.18564/jasss.2680