Characteristics of successful opinion leaders in a bounded confidence model

Shuwei Chen, DH Glass, M McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper analyses the impact of competing opinion leaders on attracting followers in a social group based on a bounded confidence model in terms of four characteristics: reputation, stubbornness, appeal and extremeness. In the model, reputation differs among leaders and normal agents based on the weights assigned to them, stubbornness of leaders is reflected by their confidence towards normal agents, appeal of the leaders is represented by the confidence of followers towards them, and extremeness is captured by the opinion values of leaders. Simulations show that increasing reputation, stubbornness or extremeness makes it more difficult for the group to achieve consensus, but increasing the appeal will make it easier. The results demonstrate that successful opinion leaders should generally be less stubborn, have greater appeal and be less extreme in order to attract more followers in a competing environment. Furthermore, the number of followers can be very sensitive to small changes in these characteristics. On the other hand, reputation has a more complicated impact: higher reputation helps the leader to attract more followers when the group bound of confidence is high, but can hinder the leader from attracting followers when the group bound of confidence is low.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Early online date11 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 May 2016


  • social agents
  • opinion dynamics
  • complex networks


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