In the News (from Stanford): “Engineering researchers at Stanford University have devised a mathematical model that helps demonstrate what’s behind the growing rift in American society. They have used the knowledge to create Internet-based social systems that counteract polarization. …
“The prevailing sociological theory, known as homophily, is that like seeks like. Those who have similar opinions tend to aggregate together and reinforce opinions that grow more divergent from the center over time. This is the echo chamber model that would seem to gain validation in the era of talk radio, cable news and the Internet.
“According to this theory, we are polarized precisely because we have greater ability to choose our social networks and news sources. We narrowly tailor our information sources by selecting them based on how closely they mirror our own tastes.
“Mathematical models that try to use homophily to explain polarization have come up short, however. Most are based on something known as De Groot’s model that assumes that people form opinions in a way that minimizes overall disagreement within their network of friends and relations. As a result, an individual’s opinion gradually converges to an average of those in his or her network, or so the theory goes. The flaw in these models is that they predict that opinions in society as a whole can only become more uniform over time, resulting in depolarization rather than polarization.
“’We show that repeated averaging of opinions always results in less divergent opinions, even in networks where the people are like-minded,’ said Pranav Dandekar, a doctoral candidate in MS&E and a co-author on the paper. ‘You can’t create outliers by averaging.’…
“The Stanford team instead took a different approach based on a phenomenon well known in the social sciences called biased assimilation. In biased assimilation people more easily accept evidence that supports their opinion and, likewise, are prone to discredit evidence that does not fit. More specifically, people look at inconclusive evidence in a way that is most favorable to their existing point of view.
“’It seems counter-intuitive that two individuals would arrive at a more divergent opinion when presented with identical information that is inconclusive, but that’s what happens,’ said David Lee, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering and a co-author of the paper. ‘You might think that seeing identical evidence would produce greater moderation and agreement, but it doesn’t.’
“’It seems we look at the world with rose-colored blinders. We see what we want and ignore what doesn’t fit,’ Dandekar said.”
My Comment: Not a single person is like another and that is why everyone’s opinion is different in one thing. Egoism is not ready to accept a different point of view. Thus, as a result of communication, opinions distance from each other. The more we develop, the greater egoism becomes. The more we develop, the more diverse egoism is. Envy, jealousy, rivalry, authoritativeness, and other egoistic qualities increase.
And when in our time, total cultural, economic, and other dependencies of everyone on everyone else are manifested, then negative opinions appear greater up to the point of hatred. The solution to this problem is only in integral education, up to mutual love because Nature will increasingly manifest itself as a single entity.