Social Influence Network Simulation Design Affects Behavior of Aggregated Entropy
Garee, M. J., Wan, H., & Ventresca, M. (2021, July 2). IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SYSTEMS.
As agents interact and influence one another in a social network, the opinions they hold about some common topic can change over time. These changes may enable us to infer mechanisms of the network that control how interactions lead to opinion change. Inferring such mechanisms from opinion data could enable analysis of social influence in data-sparse scenarios. However, limited work has focused on this problem, despite its clear value. To address this gap, we create opinion data using agent-based simulation and experimental design. By viewing opinion changes as an information-generating process, opinion dynamics can be studied using entropy. This work explores the relationships between aggregated entropy and five simulation design factors. Three entropy measures are calculated on continuous-valued opinions and are analyzed using a main effects model and cluster analysis. Overall, the choices of influence model and error distribution are most important to the entropy measures, activation regime is important to some measures, and population size is unimportant. Also, design variation can be detected using time-series cluster analysis. These findings may support work in inferring properties about real-world social influence networks using opinion data collected from their members.