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Cascade: More people to join could be wrong

Human are social animals, so our action is generally being influenced by others, in particular when we are in the situation where surround a lot of people.  Therefore, we might have tendency to follow the crow in daily basis. From one particular example that I learned from chapter 16 from the book, comparing two restaurants A and B; restaurant A has few people, but restaurant B has more people, so we generally conclude that restaurant B is better. Therefore, following the crowd could be beneficial for us to make certain decisions.


From the article that I read from wall street Journal “Humans Naturally Follow Crowd Behavior”, which demonstrates that human are social animals that have dedicated brain mechanisms for coordinating their action. In the experiment from the article, a few ringers simply joined the crowd and stared up at a spot in the sky for 60 seconds. Then the researchers recorded and analyzed the movements of the people around them. The scientists found that within seconds hundreds of people coordinated their attention in a highly systematic way. People consistently stopped to look toward exactly the same spot as the ringers. Therefore, Individuals were much more likely to follow the gaze of several people than just a few, so there was a cascade of looking as more people joined in. Beside the example that I read from the article and what I learned from the class, it explains that a cascade starts quickly, it may spread even if there’s wrong choice. For example, 2008 financial crisis; people kept overvalue the real restate until the bubble burst.  However, we only realized the that was a financial crisis when it actually happened.


The concept of cascades and conformism really allow us to understand the consequence of following in the crows. Yet, I hope there will be research about how to detect the incorrect tendency of following a crowd in the future.





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October 2016