Peer pressure is a double-edged sword in vaccination dynamics
1 Institute of Computational Physics and Complex Systems, Lanzhou University - Lanzhou Gansu, 730000, China
2 School of Mathematical Science, Anhui University - Hefei 230039, China
Received: 22 July 2013
Accepted: 30 September 2013
Whether or not to change behavior depends not only on the personal success of each individual, but also on the success and/or behavior of others. Using this as motivation, we incorporate the impact of peer pressure into a susceptible-vaccinated-infected-recovered (SVIR) epidemiological model, where the propensity to adopt a particular vaccination strategy depends both on individual success as well as on the strategies of neighbors. We show that plugging into the peer pressure is a double-edged sword, which, on the one hand, strongly promotes vaccination when its cost is below a critical value, but, on the other hand, it can also strongly impede it if the critical value is exceeded. We explain this by revealing a facilitated cluster formation process that is induced by the peer pressure. Due to this, the vaccinated individuals are inclined to cluster together and therefore become unable to efficiently inhibit the spread of the infectious disease if the vaccination is costly. If vaccination is cheap, however, they reinforce each other in using it. Our results are robust to variations of the SVIR dynamics on different population structures.
PACS: 05.65.+b – Self-organized systems / 02.50.Le – Decision theory and game theory / 87.23.Ge – Dynamics of social systems
© EPLA, 2013