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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 140984, 15 pages
Research Article

Modeling and Simulation of Polarization in Internet Group Opinions Based on Cellular Automata

1School of Statistics, Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan 430205, China
2School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
3School of Automation, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China

Received 30 May 2015; Accepted 9 July 2015

Academic Editor: Marko Robnik

Copyright © 2015 Yaofeng Zhang and Renbin Xiao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hot events on Internet always attract many people who usually form one or several opinion camps through discussion. For the problem of polarization in Internet group opinions, we propose a new model based on Cellular Automata by considering neighbors, opinion leaders, and external influences. Simulation results show the following: (1) It is easy to form the polarization for both continuous opinions and discrete opinions when we only consider neighbors influence, and continuous opinions are more effective in speeding the polarization of group. (2) Coevolution mechanism takes more time to make the system stable, and the global coupling mechanism leads the system to consensus. (3) Opinion leaders play an important role in the development of consensus in Internet group opinions. However, both taking the opinion leaders as zealots and taking some randomly selected individuals as zealots are not conductive to the consensus. (4) Double opinion leaders with consistent opinions will accelerate the formation of group consensus, but the opposite opinions will lead to group polarization. (5) Only small external influences can change the evolutionary direction of Internet group opinions.