How is it that people you don’t like often have opposing opinions when it comes to polarizing issues? Do you dislike these people because they have a different opinion, or do you have a different opinion yourself because you do not like someone?
A team of researchers led by David Garcia of the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna examined the division of society using a refined version of the “Cognitive Balance Theory” established by Fritz Heider in 1946. This new “weighted balance model of opinion hyperpolarization” shows that there is no need for the permanent repetition of one opinion and the fading out of other points of view. Rather, it appears to be a vicious circle in which intense emotions and opinions gradually displace any moderate position and so slowly the views of role models or sympathizers are adopted.
More information on the study is available at the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation