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Imitation, Learning, and Communication

Neoclassical models in microeconomics often describe an atomized society, in which every individual makes his or her own decision based on individual independent preference without the communication and interaction with the fellow members within the same community.1 Therefore, static economic theory cannot explain collective behavior and changes of social trends, such as fashion, popular name brand, political middling or polarization.Physicists have been interested in collective phenomena caused by the success of ferromagnetic theory in explaining collective phenomena under thermodynamic equilibrium. The Ising fish model2 and the public opinion model3 represented the early efforts in developing complex dynamic theory of collective behavior. However, the human society is an open system, there is no ground to apply the technique of equilibrium statistical mechanics, especially, the Maxwell-type transition probability, to social behavior. Therefore, these pioneer models have been discussed in physics community, but received little attention among social scientists.However, the development of nonequilibrium thermodynamics and theory of dissipative structure open new way to deal with complex dynamics in chemical systems and biological systems,4,5,6 that have many similarities with the behavior of social systems. In this short article, we will introduce new transition probability into master equation from the consideration of socio-psychological mechanism. The model may shed light on social behavior such as fashion, public choice and political campaign.

IMITATION LEARNING AND COMMUNICATION CENTRAL OR POLARIZED PATTERNS IN COLLECTIVE ACTIONS

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