Sarah Marzen Discusses the Physics of Opinions and Disinformation

Portrait of Sarah Marzen in front of a collage
In Physics Magazine, Assistant Professor of Physics Sarah Marzen discussed how, through machine learning and information theory, she is examining the ways in which disinformation is spread through a community. She has found that certain circumstances can cause individuals’ views to change unpredictably and randomly.
“Chaos emerges when individuals actively work to fight their innate tendencies to favor information that confirms their original beliefs,” says Marzen. ” . . . If individuals try too hard to fight their current confirmation biases, they end up with chaotic beliefs that change in a completely random manner.”