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Stubbornness as an unfortunate key to win a public debate: An illustration from sociophysics

Abstract : Most models of opinion dynamics are threshold-like. For two competing opinions the dynamics is one-dimensional and the associated opinion flow is shaped by at least two attractors separated by a tipping threshold, not necessarily located at 50 %. Initial supports are thus instrumental to determine the final debate outcome. In contrast, the absence of a tipping threshold implies a unique attractor making the initial conditions irrelevant. One of the opinions is predetermined to become the majority whatever initial support it has. Accordingly, to make a threshold dynamics non threshold appears to be an instrumental strategic option. An illustration of the possibility of such a reshaping of the opinion dynamics geometry is given using the Galam sequential opinion dynamics model. The key parameters are pair interactions and inflexible or stubborn agents. A new and counter intuitive light is shed on the design of winning strategies in public issues. However the findings pose ethical issues. The case of global warming is discussed.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 4:04:17 PM
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Serge Galam. Stubbornness as an unfortunate key to win a public debate: An illustration from sociophysics. Mind and Society, Springer Verlag, 2016, 15 (1), pp.117 - 130. ⟨10.1007/s11299-015-0175-y⟩. ⟨hal-03064925⟩

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