About this Research Topic
Understanding how society works is a difficult problem. The total outcome from every interaction between individuals and institutions is something more complex than we can describe today. However, when looked at from the macroscopic level of the society, many phenomena may be described from approximate behaviors that capture the basic characteristics needed for those phenomena. The interplay between models for the microscopic behavior and the observed aggregate consequences is a traditional problem in Statistical Mechanics. As such, some of the first mathematical models to try to describe how ideas spread through a society were inspired by traditional physical descriptions, for example, the Ising model. The last couple of decades have seen the development and strengthening of many new models and applications in Sociophysics.
This Research Topic aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the area of Opinion Dynamics and to point new directions for future research. At this point, we have several models, that can be applied to different aspects of the problem such as conditions for agreement or survival of several opinions, or the emergence and spread of extremism. Further exploration of the consequences or extensions of existing models is certainly needed as well as the development of new applications that can explain different aspects of social behavior. Opinions are behind every aspect of human social behavior, from politics to economics, including even religious beliefs or the acceptance of scientific theories. And we also need more than that. Few attempts to obtain a common theoretical ground exist. Just as few cases of prediction or comparison between model predictions and real world data have been done so far.
We are interested in any kind of approach to the field, be it theoretical or data-based. New models, new results from published ones and especially articles that address the need for empirical evidence and/or propose an advance on the theoretical structure of the are are especially very welcome. Particularly comprehensive and well planned reviews of ideas that might benefit from those as well as essays on possible future directions will also be accepted, if relevant enough for the current discussion in the area. Finally, results in Opinion Dynamics that have consequences to our knowledge of Physics are certainly of interest.
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