In sociology, a tipping point refers to the critical mass required for an opinion or social behavior to spread widely.
Tipping points are not necessarily negative, one example being the spread of sustainable lifestyle choices.
One crucial attribute of tipping points is that once one is reached, minor events can trigger cascades of opinion changes, which can then occur suddenly and with enormous force. In particular, when it comes to tendencies that pose a threat to democracy, a sudden shift in the social mood can have devastating consequences.
Utilizing weekly survey data, a representative opinion picture of both the German and US population is created throughout the research period. This allows potential tipping points to be reconstructed using empirical data and compared with actual events to investigate their driving forces and develop effective countermeasures for future crises.
Theoretical models are used to simulate these tipping points and investigate opinion formation and polarization in different populations. This helps to illustrate potential developments in real societies.