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Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point For the Spread of Ideas

By RPI News

July 27, 2011

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers have found that just 10 percent of a population is enough to sway the majority of a society.

The researchers used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point in which a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The research also found that the percent of committed opinion holders required to shift majority opinion does not change significantly with the type of network in which the opinion holders are working.

The researchers developed computer models of three types of social networks. The first network had each person connect to every other person in the network, the second model had a few individuals serve as hubs, and the third model gave every person in the network about the same number of connections. After the networks were constructed, the researchers planted a few "true" believers into each of the networks. As the true believers began to interact with the others in the network, the opinion of a majority of the individuals gradually, and then very rapidly, began to shift.

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