Gorski, Piotr J.; Klavdiya Bochenina; Janusz Holyst and Raissa M. D’Souza
Homophily between agents and structural balance in connected triads of agents are complementary mechanisms thought to shape social groups leading to, for instance, consensus or polarization. To capture both processes in a unified manner, we propose a model of pair and triadic interactions. We consider N fully connected agents, where each agent has G underlying attributes, and the similarity between agents in attribute space (i.e., homophily) is used to determine the link weight between them. For structural balance we use a triad-updating rule where only one attribute of one agent is changed intentionally in each update, but this also leads to accidental changes in link weights and even link polarities. The link weight dynamics in the limit of large G is described by a Fokker-Planck equation from which the conditions for a phase transition to a fully balanced state with all links positive can be obtained. This "paradise state" of global cooperation is, however, difficult to achieve requiring G > O(N-2) and p > 0.5, where the parameter p captures a willingness for consensus. Allowing edge weights to be a consequence of attributes naturally captures homophily and reveals that many real-world social systems would have a subcritical number of attributes necessary to achieve structural balance.