Hiding opinions by minimizing disclosed information

an obfuscation-based opinion dynamics model

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In the field of opinion dynamics, the hiding of opinions is routinely modeled as staying silent. However, staying silent is not always feasible. In situations where opinions are indirectly expressed by one’s observable actions, people may however try to hide their opinions via a more complex and intelligent strategy called obfuscation, which minimizes the information disclosed to others. This study proposes a formal opinion dynamics model to study the hitherto unexplored effect of obfuscation on public opinion formation based on the recently developed Action-Opinion Inference Model. For illustration purposes, we use our model to simulate two cases with different levels of complexity, highlighting that the effect of obfuscation largely depends on the subtle relations between actions and opinions.