Fitting In and Breaking Up: A Nonlinear Version of Coevolving Voter Models

20 August 2019

We investigate a nonlinear version of coevolving voter models, in which both node states and network structure update as a coupled stochastic dynamical process. Most prior work on coevolving voter models has focused on linear update rules with fixed rewiring and adopting probabilities. By contrast, in our nonlinear version, the probability that a node rewires or adopts is a function of how well it "fits in" within its neighborhood. To explore this idea, we incorporate a parameter σ that represents the fraction of neighbors of an updating node that share its opinion state. In an update, with probability σq (for some nonlinearity parameter q), the updating node rewires; with complementary probability 1−σq, the updating node adopts a new opinion state. We study this mechanism using three rewiring schemes: after an updating node deletes a discordant edge, it then either (1) "rewires-to-random" by choosing a new neighbor in a random process; (2) "rewires-to-same" by choosing a new neighbor in a random process from nodes that share its state; or (3) "rewires-to-none" by not rewiring at all (akin to "unfriending" on social media). We compare our nonlinear coevolving model to several existing linear models, and we find in our model that initial network topology can play a larger role in the dynamics, whereas the choice of rewiring mechanism plays a smaller role. A particularly interesting feature of our model is that, under certain conditions, the opinion state that is initially held by a minority of nodes can effectively spread to almost every node in a network if the minority nodes views themselves as the majority. In light of this observation, we relate our results to recent work on the majority illusion in social networks.



Kureh, Yacoub H., and Mason A. Porter. "Fitting In and Breaking Up: A Nonlinear Version of Coevolving Voter Models." arXiv preprint arXiv:1907.11608 (2019).