Monday, March 18
Ellie, Sarah, Susan, and Michael
If lots of people say it’s good, it must be good. Social proof is the tendency to adopt the most popular behavior because its social clout seemingly suggests that it is the “correct” or “best” behavior. Social proof is evident in “liking” on Facebook, foot traffic patterns across campus, and a certain sports rivalry between Duke and a school down the road. This week’s readings will explore four dimensions of social proof: (1) critical social consequences, (2) the tendency to follow others (i.e., “herd mentality”), (3) the role of social proof in value and belief creation, and (4) the failure to detect social proof.
(1) Critical social consequences:
- Pulp Fiction (check your email for a clip from the movie)
(2) Herd mentality:
- Chapters 2 & 3 of A Study of Some Social Factors in Perception by Muzafer Sherif
- “A Tent City for Fun and Profit” by Bill Morris
- “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Anderson
(3) Value and belief creation:
- “Facebook Can Motivate Users, and Friends of Users, to Political Action, Study Finds” by Lee Gardner
- Clips from Mean Girls: “Meet Regina George”, “Pranking Regina George”, and “The Politics of Girl World” (entire movie optional)
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (optional)
(4) Failure to detect social proof:
- “Normative Social Influence is Underdetected” by J. M. Nolan et al.
- “The Odd One” in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
After completing the readings and watching the videos, include in your blog post responses to the following questions.
(1a) For Category 1:
- Describe your reaction to the video clip.
(1b) For Categories 2, 3, and 4:
- Discuss any insights, objections, parallels, or connections that you gained from these readings (DO NOT include summaries of the readings).
- What questions do you have that you would like to hear Professors Ariely and Davidson discuss and offer their opinions on?
(2) As an overall response:
- Having now completed these readings, where do you see social proof in your own life?
Post your response to the blog by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 8. Then, reply to a peer’s response after class by 11:59 pm on Monday, March 18. Note that no work will be required over Spring Break! Enjoy.