Persuasion without polarization? Modelling persuasive argument communication in teams with strong faultlines

Thomas Feliciani*, Andreas Flache, Michael Mäs

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Strong demographic faultlines are a potential source of conflict in teams. To study conditions under which faultlines can result in between-group bi-polarization of opinions, a computational model of persuasive argument communication has been proposed. We identify two hitherto overlooked degrees of freedom in how researchers formalized the theory. First, are arguments agents communicate influencing each other's opinions explicitly or implicitly represented in the model? Second, does similarity between agents increase chances of interaction or the persuasiveness of others' arguments? Here we examine these degrees of freedom in order to assess their effect on the model's predictions. We find that both degrees of freedom matter: in a team with strong demographic faultline, the model predicts more between-group bi-polarization when (1) arguments are represented explicitly, and (2) when homophily is modelled such that the interaction between similar agents are more likely (instead of more persuasive).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-92
Number of pages32
JournalComputational and Mathematical Organization Theory
Volume27
Early online date6-Aug-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Polarization
  • Work teams
  • Faultlines
  • Persuasion
  • Agent-based modeling
  • Social influence
  • BIASED ASSIMILATION
  • DEMOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY
  • COMPUTATIONAL MODEL
  • SHORT-TERM
  • DYNAMICS
  • SIMILARITY
  • SUBGROUPS
  • EMERGENCE
  • COHESION
  • CULTURE

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