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Re: Tipping point for the revolution

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  • Ann Bragdon
    fyi. This fascinating article was sent me -- I guess the secret is the concept of unshakeable . Polls show 60 to 70% of the population support higher taxes
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2011
      fyi. This fascinating article was sent me -- I guess the secret is
      the concept of "unshakeable". Polls show 60 to 70% of the population
      support higher taxes for corporations and the wealthy, but Republicans
      obviously refuse to tip! Bert

      To create a winning movement....
      > Public release date: 25-Jul-2011
      > Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
      > demarg@...
      > 518-276-6542
      > Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
      > Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of
      > ideas
      > Caption: In this visualization, we see the tipping point where
      > minority opinion (shown in red) quickly becomes majority opinion.
      > Over time, the minority opinion grows. Once the minority opinion
      > reached 10 percent of the population, the network quickly changes as
      > the minority opinion takes over the original majority opinion (shown
      > in green).
      > Troy, N.Y. �Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have
      > found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an
      > unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the
      > majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the
      > Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at
      > Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover
      > the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority
      > opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of
      > societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the
      > movement of political ideals.
      > "When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent,
      > there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would
      > literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the
      > universe for this size group to reach the majority," said SCNARC
      > Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt
      > Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. "Once that number grows above
      > 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame."
      > As an example, the ongoing events in Tunisia and Egypt appear to
      > exhibit a similar process, according to Szymanski. "In those
      > countries, dictators who were in power for decades were suddenly
      > overthrown in just a few weeks."
      > The findings were published in the July 22, 2011, early online
      > edition of the journal Physical Review E in an article titled
      > "Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities."
      > An important aspect of the finding is that the percent of committed
      > opinion holders required to shift majority opinion does not change
      > significantly regardless of the type of network in which the opinion
      > holders are working. In other words, the percentage of committed
      > opinion holders required to influence a society remains at
      > approximately 10 percent, regardless of how or where that opinion
      > starts and spreads in the society.
      > To reach their conclusion, the scientists developed computer models
      > of various types of social networks. One of the networks had each
      > person connect to every other person in the network. The second
      > model included certain individuals who were connected to a large
      > number of people, making them opinion hubs or leaders. The final
      > model gave every person in the model roughly the same number of
      > connections. The initial state of each of the models was a sea of
      > traditional-view holders. Each of these individuals held a view, but
      > were also, importantly, open minded to other views.
      > Once the networks were built, the scientists then "sprinkled" in
      > some true believers throughout each of the networks. These people
      > were completely set in their views and unflappable in modifying
      > those beliefs. As those true believers began to converse with those
      > who held the traditional belief system, the tides gradually and then
      > very abruptly began to shift.
      > "In general, people do not like to have an unpopular opinion and are
      > always seeking to try locally to come to consensus. We set up this
      > dynamic in each of our models," said SCNARC Research Associate and
      > corresponding paper author Sameet Sreenivasan. To accomplish this,
      > each of the individuals in the models "talked" to each other about
      > their opinion. If the listener held the same opinions as the
      > speaker, it reinforced the listener's belief. If the opinion was
      > different, the listener considered it and moved on to talk to
      > another person. If that person also held this new belief, the
      > listener then adopted that belief.
      > "As agents of change start to convince more and more people, the
      > situation begins to change," Sreenivasan said. "People begin to
      > question their own views at first and then completely adopt the new
      > view to spread it even further. If the true believers just
      > influenced their neighbors, that wouldn't change anything within the
      > larger system, as we saw with percentages less than 10."
      > The research has broad implications for understanding how opinion
      > spreads. "There are clearly situations in which it helps to know how
      > to efficiently spread some opinion or how to suppress a developing
      > opinion," said Associate Professor of Physics and co-author of the
      > paper Gyorgy Korniss. "Some examples might be the need to quickly
      > convince a town to move before a hurricane or spread new information
      > on the prevention of disease in a rural village."
      > The researchers are now looking for partners within the social
      > sciences and other fields to compare their computational models to
      > historical examples. They are also looking to study how the
      > percentage might change when input into a model where the society is
      > polarized. Instead of simply holding one traditional view, the
      > society would instead hold two opposing viewpoints. An example of
      > this polarization would be Democrat versus Republican.
      > ###
      > The research was funded by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
      > through SCNARC, part of the Network Science Collaborative Technology
      > Alliance (NS-CTA), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Office of
      > Naval Research (ONR).
      > The research is part of a much larger body of work taking place
      > under SCNARC at Rensselaer. The center joins researchers from a
      > broad spectrum of fields � including sociology, physics, computer
      > science, and engineering � in exploring social cognitive networks.
      > The center studies the fundamentals of network structures and how
      > those structures are altered by technology. The goal of the center
      > is to develop a deeper understanding of networks and a firm
      > scientific basis for the newly arising field of network science.
      > More information on the launch of SCNARC can be found at http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenter
      > ... var=page(1)
      > Szymanski, Sreenivasan, and Korniss were joined in the research by
      > Professor of Mathematics Chjan Lim, and graduate students Jierui Xie
      > (first author) and Weituo Zhang.
      > http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 072511.php

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