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Scientific Polarization

O'Connor, Cailin and Weatherall, James Owen (2017) Scientific Polarization. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Contemporary societies are often "polarized", in the sense that sub-groups within these societies hold stably opposing beliefs, even when there is a fact of the matter. Extant models of polarization do not capture the idea that some beliefs are true and others false. Here we present a model, based on the network epistemology framework of Bala and Goyal ["Learning from neighbors", \textit{Rev. Econ. Stud.} \textbf{65}(3), 784-811 (1998)], in which polarization emerges even though agents gather evidence about their beliefs, and true belief yields a pay-off advantage. The key mechanism that generates polarization involves treating evidence generated by other agents as uncertain when their beliefs are relatively different from one's own.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
O'Connor, Cailincailino@uci.edu
Weatherall, James Owenweatherj@uci.edu0000-0003-1461-7821
Keywords: Polarization, social networks, epistemic networks, trust
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Science and Society
Depositing User: James Owen Weatherall
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2017 03:34
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 03:34
Item ID: 14199
Subjects: General Issues > Decision Theory
General Issues > Science and Society
Date: 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14199

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