We expect that democracy enables us to utilize collective intelligence such that our collective decisions build and enhance social welfare, and such that we accept their distributive and normative consequences. Collective decisions are produced by voting procedures which aggregate individual preferences and judgments. Before and after, individual preferences and judgments change as their underlying attitudes, values, and opinions change through discussion and deliberation. In large groups, these dynamics naturally go beyond the scope of the individual and consequently might show unexpected self-driven macroscopic systems dynamics following socio-physical laws. On the other hand, aggregated information and preferences as communicated through media, polls, political parties, or interest groups, also play a large role in the individual opinion formation process. Further on, actors are also capable of strategic opinion formation in the light of a pending referendum, election or other collective decision. Opinion dynamics and collective decision should thus not only be tackled by social choice, game theory, political and social psychology, but also from a systems dynamics and sociophysics perspective.
Advances in Complex SystemsVol. 21, No. 06n07, 1802002 (2018) Full Access
OPINION DYNAMICS AND COLLECTIVE DECISIONS
JAN LORENZ and MARTIN NEUMANN