Theoretical models and empirical research

Workshop on Polarization and Radicalization in Social Systems


Group polarization and radicalization is a threat to open, democratic societies. Polarization into radically different ideological camps may hamper the possibility of finding political consensus. Radicalized, extremist subgroups may adopt highly irrational beliefs that can lead to extremist and even violent behavior.

How does polarization occur? What are the conditions under which an exchange of opinions does not lead to consensus in the long run, but to separated radicalized views, or to a fragmentation of a community into opinion bubbles? How do institutions affect and are affected by such processes? In this workshop we want to consider these issues from theoretical and empirical perspectives, with a focus on formal models and quantitative empirical research, and the aim of exploring common themes and possibilities for collaboration.

From a theoretical perspective, the workshop presents and discusses formal models and simulations for understanding such opinion dynamics as well as their social epistemology that have been developed in philosophy. From an empirical perspective, the workshop presents and discusses work in social psychology and sociology on polarization and radicalization dynamics.

The workshop is organised by Prof. Daniel Cohnitz (Humanities) and Prof. Werner Raub (Social and Behavioral Sciences).

The workshop contributes to IOS-work on urgent societal issues that require fundamental scientific research that benefits from approaches from different disciplines.


12:30-13:30 Rainer Hegselmann: Modeling Radicalization

13:45-14:45 Kees van den Bos: Unfairness and Radicalization

14:45-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-16:30 Tobias Stark: Understanding the Role of Social Networks for the Development of Islamic and Right-Wing Extremism

16:40-17:40 Michael Baurmann and Daniel Cohnitz: Trust no one? The (social) epistemological consequences of belief in conspiracy theories

17:40-18:30 Drinks

Start date and time
End date and time
Kanunnikenzaal, University Hall, Domplein 29 in Utrecht

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