The media effect in Axelrod's model explained
Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo - Caixa Postal 369, 13560-970 São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil
Accepted: 12 September 2011
We revisit the problem of introducing an external global field —the mass media— in Axelrod's model of social dynamics, where in addition to their nearest neighbors, the agents can interact with a virtual neighbor whose cultural features are fixed from the outset. The finding that this apparently homogenizing field actually increases the cultural diversity has been considered a puzzle since the phenomenon was first reported more than a decade ago. Here we offer a simple explanation for it, which is based on the pedestrian observation that Axelrod's model exhibits more cultural diversity, i.e., more distinct cultural domains, when the agents are allowed to interact solely with the media field than when they can interact with their neighbors as well. In this perspective, it is the local homogenizing interactions that work towards making the absorbing configurations less fragmented as compared with the extreme situation in which the agents interact with the media only.
PACS: 87.23.Ge – Dynamics of social systems / 89.75.Fb – Structures and organization in complex systems / 05.50.+q – Lattice theory and statistics (Ising, Potts, etc.)
© EPLA, 2011