Media Influence

Authors: Alex Tee Neng Heng, David G. Green

One impact of the introduction of television, according to widely held views, is an undermining of traditional values and social organization. In this study, we simulated this process by representing social communication as a network in which the individuals are nodes, and each node’s state represents an opinion (yes / no) about some issue. Television is modelled as having a direct link to every node in the network.

During each iteration of the model, the individuals are first connected to the television, then to the social network. The time spent in the social network is determined by the Social time/phase setting.

How to use the simulation

On the control panel on the right, there are four network architectures to choose from:

  • Random network: the distribution of nodes is approximately uniform, the only parameter is the connectivity;
  • Tree: is a network with branches stemming off a single “root”, the main parameter is the number of branches;
  • Small world: is a regular network with a degree of random “long range” connections;
  • Scale free network: is one in which the distribution of links per node follows a power law distribution;

Users can also configure the following settings:

  • Social time/phase: The time spend by individuals in socialising.
  • Influence: the probability that during an interaction between agents, one will change to be in the same state as the other.
  • TV influence: the probability an agent influenced by the TV during an interaction.


  • Stocker, R., Cornforth, D. and Green, D.G. (2003). A simulation of the impact of media on social cohesion. Journal of Advances in Complex Systems, to appear.

Demo screenshot