Quarterly of Applied Mathematics

Quarterly of Applied Mathematics

Online ISSN 1552-4485; Print ISSN 0033-569X



A bistable belief dynamics model for radicalization within sectarian conflict

Authors: Yao-Li Chuang, Maria R. D’Orsogna and Tom Chou
Journal: Quart. Appl. Math. 75 (2017), 19-37
MSC (2010): Primary 91D10, 34C28, 62H30
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1090/qam/1446
Published electronically: August 1, 2016
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Abstract: We introduce a two-variable lattice model to describe conflict within communities. Our model includes polarization and radicalization of individuals, each of which harbors a continuous belief variable and a discrete radicalization level describing their tolerance to others. A novel feature of our work is the incorporation of a bistable radicalization process that models memory-dependent social behavior and that may explain contradicting observations on the role of social segregation in exacerbating or alleviating conflicts. We further include institutional influence, such as through propaganda or education, and examine its effectiveness. In some parameter regimes, we find that institutional influence may suppress radicalization and allow for social conformity and appeasement over time. In other cases, institutional intervention may be counterproductive and exacerbate the spread of radicalization within a non-homogeneous population. In such instances, our analysis implies that social segregation may be a viable option against sectarian conflict.

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Additional Information

Yao-Li Chuang
Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, California State University at Northridge, Northridge, California 91330 — and —Department of Biomathematics, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1766
Email: yaoli.chuang@csun.edu

Maria R. D’Orsogna
Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, California State University at Northridge, Northridge, California 91330 — and — Department of Biomathematics, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1766
Email: dorsogna@csun.edu

Tom Chou
Affiliation: Departments of Biomathematics and Mathematics, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1766
Email: tomchou@ucla.edu

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1090/qam/1446
Received by editor(s): May 2, 2016
Published electronically: August 1, 2016
Additional Notes: This work was made possible by support from grants ARO W1911NF-14-1-0472, ARO MURI W1911NF-11-10332, and NSF DMS-1516675.
Article copyright: © Copyright 2016 Brown University

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