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Dynamics of opinion expression
Oct. 6, 2020 · · Original resource · article

Modeling efforts in opinion dynamics have to a large extent ignored that opinion exchange between individuals can also have an effect on how willing they are to express their opinion publicly. Here, we introduce a model of public opinion expression. Two groups of agents with different opinion on an issue interact with each other, changing the willingness to express their opinion according to whether they perceive themselves as part of the majority or minority opinion. We formulate the model as a multigroup majority game and investigate the Nash equilibria. We also provide a dynamical systems perspective: Using the reinforcement learning algorithm of Q<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML"><mi>Q</mi></math>-learning, we reduce the N<math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML"><mi>N</mi></math>-agent system in a mean-field approach to two dimensions which represent the two opinion groups. This two-dimensional system is analyzed in a comprehensive bifurcation analysis of its parameters. The model identifies social-structural conditions for public opinion predominance of different groups. Among other findings, we show under which circumstances a minority can dominate public discourse.
covid-19
willingness
communication
modeling
expression
interaction
minority
network
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
political, attitude, partisan, democracy, ideology
Plan now to speed vaccine supply for future pandemics

Slow-lane logistics shouldn’t stymie fast-track science, says head of UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce.
covid-19
vaccine
crisis management
strategy
supply
post-pandemic
availability
approval
school, bar, nhs, urge, reopen
vaccine, trial, approve, drug, healthy
The Use of Empathic Communication During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As of May 13, 2020, the number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (novel corona virus, COVID-19) infections has risen to 4 300 000 worldwide, with over 1 300 000 confirmed cases in the United States. Various prediction models of spread indicate more hospitalization, increased ventilator use, and the shifting of medical resources to most efficiently serve the patient’s needs. Additionally, mitigation strategies such as monitoring for symptoms, social distancing, safer at home, and the wearing of masks caused our institution to implement significant operational changes to our usual practice. This included screening patients and staff for symptoms, rescheduling routine medical visits, postponing procedures, converting face-to-face visits to telephone or video visits, and changing visitor visit policies. In this article, we describe the various ways we deployed empathic communication messaging and resources across the institution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
covid-19
communication
hospitalization
empathy
patient
mitigation
screening
outdoor, student, education, enthusiast, socio
ethic, telehealth, psychology, practice, consideration
Power of and power over COVID-19 response guidelines

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that ignorance or political influence of scientifically grounded health policies does not pay off.1The LancetPolitical casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic.Lancet Infect Dis. 2020; 20: 755Summary Full Text Full Text PDF PubMed Scopus (0) Google Scholar Germany's COVID-19 response is evaluated as reasoned and scientifically grounded; however, it has exposed undue political influence on national scientific guidelines due to migration policy concerns.
covid-19
public health
policy
government response
germany
guideline
power
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
tackle, european, fund, database, indonesia
Ageing of complex networks

Many real-world complex networks arise as a result of a competition between growth and rewiring processes. Usually the initial part of the evolution is dominated by growth while the later one rather by rewiring. The initial growth allows the network to reach a certain size while rewiring to optimize its function and topology. As a model example we consider tree networks which first grow in a stochastic process of node attachment and then age in a stochastic process of local topology changes. The ageing is implemented as a Markov process that preserves the node-degree distribution. We quantify differences between the initial and aged network topologies and study the dynamics of the evolution. We implement two versions of the ageing dynamics. One is based on reshuffling of leaves and the other on reshuffling of branches. The latter one generates much faster ageing due to nonlocal nature of changes.
covid-19
longitudinal change
complex network
competition
growth
evolution
optimization
topology
dynamics
network, complex, graph, multiplex, structure
machine, twitter, learn, technology, application
Who Is Susceptible to Online Health Misinformation?

Although everyone has the potential to be misled by false information, online misinformation is not an equal opportunity aggressor. Some of us are more likely to believe misinformation than are others and serve as vectors by sharing it on social media. To effectively combat misinformation on social media, it is crucial to understand the underlying factors that lead certain people to believe and share false and misleading content online. A growing body of research has tackled this issue by investigating who is susceptible to online misinformation and under what circumstances. This literature can help shape future research and interventions to address health misinformation. We provide a brief overview of what we know about who is susceptible and what we still have to learn.
covid-19
susceptibility
misinformation
behavioral science
belief
disproportionate impact
health
overview
social media
sharing
intervention
truth
news, misinformation, internet, medium, fake
intention, behavior, message, guideline, preventive
US elections and a foreign policy for pandemics

US foreign policy on COVID-19 has failed. COVID-19 has shown the need to reframe global health in terms of solidarity, putting resources behind collective mobilisation of expertise from high-income countries and LMICs and building capacity to save lives worldwide. In 2019, the USA spent about US$8·9 billion, or 0·19% of the US federal budget, on pandemic-related global health programmes.9Kavanagh MM Thirumurthy H Katz R et al.Ending pandemics: US foreign policy to mitigate today's major killers, tomorrow's outbreaks, and the health impacts of climate change.J Int Aff. 2019; 73: 49Google Scholar That amount is clearly insufficient. Doubling pandemics spending, channelling it through high-impact multilateral and bilateral channels, and building a political strategy to increase the power of global health governance could be a game changer. The key first step, however, will be embracing a foreign policy rooted in solidarity and the shared self-interest laid bare under COVID-19.
covid-19
pandemic
usa
strategy
prevention
election
long-term impact
infectious disease
global health
country, surge, city, economy, rich
tackle, european, fund, database, indonesia
Weight-of-Evidence Strategies to Mitigate the Influence of Messages of Science Denialism in Public Discussions

In mass media, the positions of science deniers and scientific-consensus advocates are repeatedly presented in a balanced manner. This false balance increases the spread of misinformation under the guise of objectivity. Weight-of-evidence strategies are an alternative, in which journalists lend weight to each position that is equivalent to the amount of evidence that supports the position. In public discussions, journalists can invite more advocates of scientific consensuses than science deniers (outnumbering) or they can employ warnings about the false-balance effect prior to the discussions (forewarning). In three pre-registered laboratory experiments, we tested the efficacy of outnumbering and forewarning as weight-of-evidence strategies to mitigate science deniers’ influence on individuals’ attitudes towards vaccination and their intention to vaccinate. We explored whether advocates’ responses to science deniers (rebuttal) and audiences’ issue involvement moderate the efficacy of these strategies. A total of N = 887 individuals indicated their attitudes towards vaccination and their intention to vaccinate before and after watching a television (TV) discussion. The presence and absence of forewarning, outnumbering and rebuttal were manipulated between subjects; participants also indicated their individual issue involvement. We obtained no evidence that outnumbering mitigates damage from denialism, even when advocates served as multiple sources. However, forewarning about the false-balance effect mitigated deniers’ negative effects. Moreover, the protective effect was independent of rebuttal and issue involvement. Thus, forewarnings can serve as an effective, economic and theory-driven strategy to counter science denialism in public discussions, at least for highly educated individuals such as university students.
covid-19
communication
efficacy
science denial
scientific consensus
media
presentation
journalism
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
intention, behavior, message, guideline, preventive
Three questions to ask before using model outputs for decision support

Decision makers must have sufficient confidence in models if they are to influence their decisions. We propose three screening questions to critically evaluate models with respect to their purpose, organization, and evidence. They enable a more transparent, robust, and secure use of model outputs.
covid-19
modeling
empirical evidence
transparency
screening
robustness
reliability
metascience
bayesian, causal, measurement, replication, statistical
peer, publish, publication, review, preregistration
Organised crime in Western Balkans Six at the onset of coronavirus

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the consequences of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into crime-fighting and present new criminal landscapes in the Western Balkans Six (WB6) (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) at the beginning of the pandemic crisis. Design/methodology/approach The paper builds on the content analysis of legal acts, strategic documents, academic articles, media reporting, official documents, four semi-structured interviews with civil society organisations, two consultations with police officers and two consultations with civil society organisations. Findings In the first nine weeks of the spread of COVID-19, the WB6 experienced a small rise in the price of marijuana. The same applied to stimulant drugs like ecstasy and amphetamines. However, very little heroin was available. Prices of protective face masks, disinfectants and medicinal alcohol skyrocketed due to attempts at price gouging. There were cases of scams using mobile and digital technologies, as well as burglaries of newspaper or cigarette kiosks, shops, pharmacies and exchange offices. It was difficult to determine whether the smuggling of and trafficking in human beings experienced a decline or increase. No cases of sexual exploitation for providing online services were noted, although the number of calls made to organisations that assist in the area of human trafficking increased. People with drug and alcohol problems, persons living with HIV, those susceptible to stress, citizens with mental health problems, pensioners, the poor, the homeless and recently released prisoners were the biggest potential victims of crime at the onset of the crisis brought by the pandemic. Research limitations/implications The research findings are limited to specific forms of crime (illicit drug trade, economic crime, fraud, scams, theft, smuggling of and trafficking in human beings) in the WB6 and based on findings from four interviews and four consultations, together with available secondary data. Originality/value This is the first overview of criminal activities occurring in the WB6 during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
covid-19
pandemic
coronavirus
face mask
interview
mental health
minority, racial, violence, woman, capital
hotspot, u.s, rise, record, come