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A number of studies have explored the dynamics of opinion change among interacting knowledge workers, using different modeling techniques. We are particularly interested in the transition from cognitive convergence (a positive group phenomenon) to collapse (which can lead to overlooking critical information). This paper extends previous agent-based studies of this subject in two directions. First, we allow agents to belong to distinct social groups and explore the effect of varying degrees of within-group affinity. Second, we provide exogenous drivers of agent opinion in the form of a dynamic set of documents that they may query. We exhibit a metastable configuration of this system with three distinct phases, and develop an operational metric for distinguishing convergence from collapse in the final phase. Then we use this metric to explore the system's dynamics, over the space defined by social affinity and precision of queries against documents, and under a range of different functions for the influence that an interaction partner has on an agent.
Date of Conference: 3-7 Oct. 2011