How to reduce extremism? Travel!


Andre Martins studies agent-based computer models of extremism at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

We’ve heard from him before following his claim that extremism is an emergent phenomenon in our society.

Now he’s back with the results of a study on how to reduce extremism.

Martins creates a network model in which agents can hold any position on a continuous scale of opinion. Each agent updates its opinion using a simple calculation after observing the opinions of others nearby.

Martins defines extremism as “an agent who supports one choice fervently, even when a large group
believes a different idea to be a better choice”. One of the impressive aspects of Martins’ model is that extreme behaviour emerges naturally, just as it does in real societies.

Now he has studied ways in which extremism can be reduced. He offers tantalising evidence that extremism is linked to the structure of a society because different types of networks produce different levels of extremism.

But his most interesting conlcusion is that the mobility of agents within a network is crucial:

“The extremism problem can become far less important in societies where the mobility of its agents is above a certain threshold. Therefore, efforts to reduce such a mobility can have important negative impacts in the diminishing of extremism.”

So get moving.

Ref: Mobility and Social Network Effects on Extremist Opinions

2 Responses to “How to reduce extremism? Travel!”

  1. Zephir says:

    The mechanism of many “emergent” phenomena in society is very easy to understand, if we make a simulation of dense system of repulsing particles under gravitational pressure (“black hole model”).

    The increasing “social tension” between particles leads to formation of aggregates (alliances, sectas and religions), until the social pressure isn’t so high, the wild chaotic social motion will appear, followed by social upheavals & civil wars. Note that the number of possible aggregate level is strictly limited here, from this the finite number of space-time dimensions follows. Above the certain threshold of energy density all temporarily formed aggregates will disappear again and the original chaotic state of Universe is restored.

    Therefore, while the rich society is rather individualistic & pluralistic, the poorer ones are tending to behave like collective boson condensate. The totalitarian and sectarian society is brittle & thixotropic from outside perspective (do you remember the Meissner effect?). While from inside it’s behaving like superfluid with no obvious social resistance, ’cause the information memes are spreading here forcefully via propaganda.

    We can see, the Aether Wave Theory makes no principal difference between emergent phenomena of vacuum, particle gas, colony of living organisms and/or human society – all these artifacts are driven by gradients of mass/energy density, in fact.

  2. Zephir says:

    Many contemporary ethnic problems in East Europe were caused by forceful prohibiting of natural mobility of Romany populations and segregation into ghettos due the formation of communism driven totalitarian societies.