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Trends and Individual Boredom

Society is always presented with a variety of options to choose from and more often than not the majority tend to choose the same thing at a given time and place. The choices can range anything from music genres to television shows. This recurring shift in preferences over a period of time is known as a trend. Some trends are easy to understand the reasoning behind than others (e.g. why department stores decide to cut down prices of sweaters and jackets during the winter). However, it is often difficult to comprehend trends that may have various factors that play a role in ascertaining the result. In an article written by Anish Das Sarma et al., the researchers presented a model that explained these very trends.

The model was created for studying fashion trends that are explained in terms of three parameters of popular items. These parameters are an individual’s innate utility (1), and individual’s boredom related to constant usage of an item (2), and social influences associated with preferences of other individuals (3). Despite contemporary belief that trends evolve from social influence (e.g. celebrities sport the item, fashion magazines, etc.), the researchers found that boredom plays an immense role in the choices that are made individually and socially. The paper showed how boredom explains the cyclic choices that an individual can make in any given scenario. Essentially, boredom increases as the usage of an item increase. Therefore, the individual is prompted to change his or her mind and use another item instead. This is then projected onto several individuals and thus showing how trends are made.

The influence of social media, friends, acquaintances, and individual boredom are all ties that come into play when making a decision and/or choice.

Source:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1009.2617#

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