The outbreak of epidemics, the rise of religious radicalization or the motivational influence of fellow students in classrooms are some of the issues that can be described as diffusion processes in heterogeneous groups. Understanding the role that interaction patterns between groups (e.g. homophily or segregation) play in the diffusion of certain traits or behaviours is a major challenge for contemporary societies. Here, we study the impact on diffusion processes of mixing (or, alternatively, segregating) two groups that present different sensitivities or propensities to contagion. We find non-monotonic effects of mixing and inefficient segregation levels, i.e. situations where a change in the mixing level can benefit both groups, e.g. where an increase in the mixing level can reduce the expected contagion levels in both groups. These findings can have fundamental consequences for the design of inclusion policies.
Mixing and diffusion in a two-type population
Segismundo S. Izquierdo, Luis R. Izquierdo, Dunia López-Pintado
Royal Society Open Science
Published 21 February 2018.DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172102