Polarisation of opinions across communities can lead to social conflict, reputational damage and the disruption of operations and markets. Social influence models have been widely used to better understand processes driving conflict from a theoretical perspective. Using aquaculture as a case study, we demonstrate how such models can be extended to accurately hindcast the transition from population consensus to high conflict, including observed catastrophic tipping points. We then use the model to quantitatively evaluate strategies aimed at reducing aquaculture conflict. We found that persuasive advocacy was ineffective and often counterproductive, whereas meaningful engagement, collaborative learning and improving scientific literacy targeted broadly across the population was effective in moderating opinions and reducing conflict. When such messaging was targeted too narrowly or too infrequently, it tended to be negated by ongoing exchange of misinformation within the population. Both the modelling approach and lessons on effective communication strategies are relevant to a broad range of environmental conflicts.
|Publication status||Published - 20 Dec 2022|
- Persuasive Communication
- Longitudinal Studies
ASJC Scopus subject areas