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The Science of Trend-Setting

As I was sitting through lecture learning about how being in a social group affects decision-making, I couldn’t help but make the immediate connection to trends. Fashion, music, hobbies, you name it; It seems that in society there’s always a steady flux of trends being set while others are shoved out of the way to make room for more. As I read through the article by Jeanna Bryner, there was a striking familiarity between what she provided as the science behind trend-setting and what was spoken of in class.

Bryner speaks of these “copy cats” being the facilitators of trend-setting. These “copy cats” seem to behave in a way that doesn’t necessarily involve some sort of rational thinking that one could influence through research or observations. “It doesn’t necessarily have to involve any rational decisions to get all the way up to the top”, meaning the success of trend-setters is completely random. This randomness very much reminds me of the marble and urn game that was described in lecture. It seems the success of a trend is dependent upon the very first people who adopt it, much like the decisions of those who reveal their guess of what the urn consists of is highly dependent on what the previous participants guessed.

Maybe that is why the fashion world is so cluttered with some of the most bizarre looks… It just takes a few bold people and some blind followers before everyone is walking around in tutus and military boots.


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October 2014