Dynamics of social contagions with memory of nonredundant information

Wei Wang, Ming Tang, Hai-Feng Zhang, Ying-Cheng Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


A key ingredient in social contagion dynamics is reinforcement, as adopting a certain social behavior requires verification of its credibility and legitimacy. Memory of nonredundant information plays an important role in reinforcement, which so far has eluded theoretical analysis. We first propose a general social contagion model with reinforcement derived from nonredundant information memory. Then, we develop a unified edge-based compartmental theory to analyze this model, and a remarkable agreement with numerics is obtained on some specific models. We use a spreading threshold model as a specific example to understand the memory effect, in which each individual adopts a social behavior only when the cumulative pieces of information that the individual received from his or her neighbors exceeds an adoption threshold. Through analysis and numerical simulations, we find that the memory characteristic markedly affects the dynamics as quantified by the final adoption size. Strikingly, we uncover a transition phenomenon in which the dependence of the final adoption size on some key parameters, such as the transmission probability, can change from being discontinuous to being continuous. The transition can be triggered by proper parameters and structural perturbations to the system, such as decreasing individuals' adoption threshold, increasing initial seed size, or enhancing the network heterogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012820
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants No. 11105025, No. 61473001, and No. 91324002, the Program of Outstanding Ph.D. Candidate in Academic Research by UESTC under Grand No. YXBSZC20131065, and Open Foundation of State key Laboratory of Networking and Switching Technology
(Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications) (SKLNST-2013-1-18). Y.C.L. was supported by ARO under Grant No. W911NF-14-1-0504.


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