Effects of Groups’ Spatial Segregation on Processes of Opinion Polarization

Thomas Feliciani, Andreas Flache

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


We contribute to the literature about processes of opinion formation, investigating theoretically how the spatial segregation of two groups affects opinion polarization as a possible outcome of opinion formation. We focus on two processes of opinion polarization (negative influence and persuasive arguments communication) that according to previous modelling work can be expected to make conflicting predictions about the relationship between segregation and opinion polarization. With a Schelling-type ABM of residential segregation, we generate initial environments systematically varying levels of residential segregation. Then we simulate the processes of opinion polarization, and compare how, under their different sets of assumptions, group segregation relates to opinion polarization. We show how the negative influence model predicts a negative relationship between segregation and opinion polarization, whereas the persuasive arguments model predicts a mild positive relationship. Moreover, negative influence is shown to predict more alignment between group identification and opinion, both at global and local levels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference USB Social Simulation 2015
Subtitle of host publicationEleventh Conference of the European Social Simulation Association
Place of PublicationGroningen
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 14-Sep-2015
EventEleventh Conference of the European Social Simulation Association - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 14-Sep-201518-Sep-2015


ConferenceEleventh Conference of the European Social Simulation Association

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