AAAI Publications, The Twenty-Ninth International Flairs Conference

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Towards a Computational Model of Human Opinion Dynamics in Response to Real-World Events
Kallirroi Georgila, David V. Pynadath

Last modified: 2016-03-30


Accurate multiagent social simulation requires a computational model of how people incorporate their observations of real-world events into their beliefs about the state of their world. Current methods for creating such agent-based models typically rely on manual input that can be both burdensome and subjective. In this investigation, we instead pursue automated methods that can translate available data into the desired computational models. For this purpose, we use a corpus of real-world events in combination with longitudinal public opinion polls on a variety of opinion issues. We perform two experiments using automated methods taken from the literature. In our first experiment, we train maximum entropy classifiers to model changes in opinion scores as a function of real-world events. We measure and analyze the accuracy of our learned classifiers by comparing the opinion scores they generate against the opinion scores occurring in a held-out subset of our corpus. In our second experiment, we learn Bayesian networks to capture the same function. We then compare the dependency structures induced by the two methods to identify the event features that have the most significant effect on changes in public opinion.


social simulation; opinion formation; real-world events; maximum entropy models; Bayesian networks

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