Monday, January 17, 2022

"A Multilayer Network Model of the Coevolution of the Spread of a Disease and Competing Opinions"

A new paper of mine just came out in final form. Here are some details.

Title: A Multilayer Network Model of the Coevolution of the Spread of a Disease and Competing Opinions

Authors: Kaiyan Peng, Zheng Lu, Vanessa Lin, Michael R. Lindstrom, Christian Parkinson, Chuntian Wang, Andrea L. Bertozzi, Mason A. Porter

Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicting opinions on physical distancing swept across social media, affecting both human behavior and the spread of COVID-19. Inspired by such phenomena, we construct a two-layer multiplex network for the coupled spread of a disease and conflicting opinions. We model each process as a contagion. On one layer, we consider the concurrent evolution of two opinions — pro-physical-distancing and anti-physical-distancing — that compete with each other and have mutual immunity to each other. The disease evolves on the other layer, and individuals are less likely (respectively, more likely) to become infected when they adopt the pro-physical-distancing (respectively, anti-physical-distancing) opinion. We develop approximations of mean-field type by generalizing monolayer pair approximations to multilayer networks; these approximations agree well with Monte Carlo simulations for a broad range of parameters and several network structures. Through numerical simulations, we illustrate the influence of opinion dynamics on the spread of the disease from complex interactions both between the two conflicting opinions and between the opinions and the disease. We find that lengthening the duration that individuals hold an opinion may help suppress disease transmission, and we demonstrate that increasing the cross-layer correlations or intra-layer correlations of node degrees may lead to fewer individuals becoming infected with the disease.

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