In the News (from scienceblog.com): “When just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society….
“‘When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas…,’ said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. ‘Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame’….
“An important aspect of the finding is that the percent of committed opinion holders required to shift majority opinion does not change significantly regardless of the type of network in which the opinion holders are working. In other words, the percentage of committed opinion holders required to influence a society remains at approximately 10 percent, regardless of how or where that opinion starts and spreads in the society….
“The research has broad implications for understanding how opinion spreads. ‘There are clearly situations in which it helps to know how to efficiently spread some opinion or how to suppress a developing opinion,’ said Associate Professor of Physics and co-author of the paper Gyorgy Korniss. ‘Some examples might be the need to quickly convince a town to move before a hurricane or spread new information on the prevention of disease in a rural village.’…
“The researchers are now looking for partners within the social sciences and other fields to compare their computational models to historical examples. They are also looking to study how the percentage might change when input into a model where the society is polarized.”