Individual heterogeneity is a key characteristic of many real-world systems, from organisms to humans. However, its role in determining the system's collective dynamics is not well understood. Here we study how individual heterogeneity impacts the system network dynamics by comparing linking mechanisms that favor similar or dissimilar individuals. We find that this heterogeneity-based evolution drives an unconventional form of explosive network behavior, and it dictates how a polarized population moves toward consensus. Our model shows good agreement with data from both biological and social science domains. We conclude that individual heterogeneity likely plays a key role in the collective development of real-world networks and communities, and it cannot be ignored.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics