Abstract for:An agent-based model of information dissemination and belief formation in social networks of urban ethnic minority groups
Social networks play a mediating role in the dissemination of information and beliefs in which trust increases the likelihood that a person receives information and accepts beliefs from a particular source. Trust is often grounded in group identity, where people are more likely to receive and accept information disseminated by sources aligned with their identity group(s) than from sources aligned with groups that are in conflict with their identity group(s). This paper contributes to social network theory by developing an agent-based model to simulate the dynamic interaction of group heterogeneity and inter-group resentment in shaping the dissemination of beliefs within a society. The model developed for this study simulates an information environment in which certain identity-group sources disseminate subjective beliefs that conflict with information disseminated by neutral sources. Whether an agent receives and accepts a message will depend on their trust in the source, which is specified as a function of group identity and the extent to which messages received from other more trusted sources are in conflict. The model is applied to develop theoretical expectations for the substantive context of the dissemination of information and beliefs about oral health care in low-income Chinese American communities of New York City.