Have you ever arrived somewhere and wondered how you got there? Scientists at the University of Leeds believe they may have found the answer, with research that shows that humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals.
Results from a study at the University of Leeds show that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realising it.
[ ]…The findings show that in all cases, the ‘informed individuals’ were followed by others in the crowd, forming a self-organising, snake-like structure. “We’ve all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd,” says Professor Krause. “But what’s interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn’t realise they were being led by others.”
It might be nice to know how crowds behave and to plan accordingly for emergency situations yet it is also worrisome that people have a tendency to shut down individual judgments and go with the flow. One of the first comments at the link mentioned lemmings – a tired analogy that in itself displays a tendency of the writer to think in a well established pattern. I’m not against the wisdom of crowds, but retain a certain amount of cynicism or suspicion as regards group judgment. Maybe it was that required viewing of the Oxbow Incident in grade school and the lemmings legend; who wants to get caught up in some unthinking mob behavior. The larger concept invites speculation about political choices and how people vote. How did Conservatism, the antitheist of Democracy get a good thirty year ride of relative popularity. How did someone with such a dismal record of leadership get reelected. Was there some herd mentality involved. If so what was the herd thinking.
This is currently one of the most popular posts on Worpress, John Cleese’s “Letter to America”
2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour’, ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise.”
4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up “vocabulary”). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
Number two would be nice, but really we have to adopt number four, its like, you know, enough is enough. A commenter pointed out that this letter or some version of it has been floating around news groups for some time, Notice of Revocation of Independence (cont.), Part 2: History of an Internet political satire