Modeling Explosive Opinion Depolarization in Interdependent Topics

Understanding the dynamics of opinion depolarization is pivotal to reducing the political divide in our society. We propose an opinion dynamics model, which we name the social compass model, for interdependent topics represented in a polar space, where zealots holding extreme opinions are less prone to change their minds. We analytically show that the phase transition from polarization to consensus, as a function of increasing social influence, is explosive if topics are not correlated. We validate our theoretical framework through extensive numerical simulations and recover explosive depolarization also by using initial opinions from the American National Election Studies, including polarized and interdependent topics.

  • Received 14 December 2022
  • Accepted 22 March 2023

DOI:https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.130.207401

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