Multistability, intermittency and hybrid transitions in social contagion models on hypergraphs


Although ubiquitous, interactions in groups of individuals are not yet thoroughly studied. Frequently, single groups are modeled as critical-mass dynamics, which is a widespread concept used not only by academics but also by politicians and the media. However, less explored questions are how a collection of groups will behave and how their intersection might change the dynamics. Here, we formulate this process as binary-state dynamics on hypergraphs. We showed that our model has a rich behavior beyond discontinuous transitions. Notably, we have multistability and intermittency. We demonstrated that this phenomenology could be associated with community structures, where we might have multistability or intermittency by controlling the number or size of bridges between communities. Furthermore, we provided evidence that the observed transitions are hybrid. Our findings open new paths for research, ranging from physics, on the formal calculation of quantities of interest, to social sciences, where new experiments can be designed.

Nature Communications