Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?

crowd
Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain

A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown.

Research led by the University of Exeter has shown that have evolved to be overly influenced by their , rather than rely on their own instinct. As a result, groups become less responsive to changes in their natural environment.

The collaborative international study, which includes academics from Princeton University and both the Sorbonne Universites and Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) in France, is published in the Royal Society journal Interface.

Lead author of the report, Dr Colin Torney, from the University of Exeter's Mathematics department explained: "Social influence is a powerful force in nature and society.

"Copying what other individuals do can be useful in many situations, such as what kind of phone to buy, or for animals, which way to move or whether a situation is dangerous.

"However, the challenge is in evaluating when they contradict what others are doing. We showed that evolution will lead individuals to over use social information, and copy others too much than they should.

"The result is that groups evolve to be unresponsive to changes in their environment and spend too much time copying one another, and not making their own decisions. "

The team used mathematical models to look at how the use of social information has evolved within animal groups.

By using a simple model of decision-making in a dynamic environment, the team were able to show that individuals overly rely on and evolve to be too readily influenced by their neighbours. The team suggest this is due to a "classic evolutionary conflict between individual and collective interest".

Dr Torney said: "Our results suggest we shouldn't expect social groups in nature to respond effectively to changing environments. Individuals that spend too much time copying their neighbours is likely to be the norm."

The study, Social information use and the evolution of unresponsiveness in collective systems, is published in the journal Interface on December 17 2014.


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More information: Social information use and the evolution of unresponsiveness in collective systems, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, rsif.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rsif.2014.0893
Citation: Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions? (2014, December 16) retrieved 23 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-herd-mentality-bad-decisions.html
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Dec 16, 2014
I'm a little puzzled by our educational enterprises these days. Our we regressing? Of course humans have the tendency to follow each other, rather than express solid individualism. First of all, the narrative or theme is essential in communication. Second, Did Ya'll just discover fire? Cause, this has been a very consistent and reliable model all throughout history. How does social propaganda work if nobody is attracted to following & conforming to the narrative? Third, it is embedded into the very fabric of our society and culture, doesn't anyone study Sociology? How and why were social platforms created anyways? To be individual? To think independently? Our entire social environment is a hypnotizing portal capturing competence invoking attitude & emotion. Our society is Belief based branded through the power of suggestion. What do you expect? And, seriously, how is this supposed to be a new concept? Belief, Imagination, Conviction, Expectation = Personal Belief's... Gnosis.

Dec 16, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
individuals have evolved to be overly influenced by their neighbours, rather than rely on their own instinct. As a result, groups become less responsive to changes in their natural environment
Isn't it clearly visible at PO discussions? Most of posters here already lost the ability to think independently of crowd. They don't argue, only downvote.


What's to argue? All you offer is pseudoscience.

Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
imido
You do not post arguments you post ludicrous statements then expect nay DEMAND the world proves you wrong if challenged. Onus is you to prove your statements not on us to disprove it. You have a long demonstrated history of ignoring facts, posting drivel and getting banned under various account names..

Insulting Vietvet isn't a smart move. Comparing you to Vietvet is comparing a petulant ignorant teenager to an adult and unlike Vietvet you have no supporters here unless you count your sockpuppets. By the way, are you expecting your imido account to be banned in the near future and your ssb22 sockpuppet take over as your latest incarnation , I certainly am.

Dec 17, 2014
Women are programmed to make bad decisions because they suffer from MASSIVE groupthink. However I have been amazed that within that constraint they are able to grow personalities and persuasions even exceeding that of men. So perhaps it is that people can also learn from their mistakes, which is a salient characteristic of an advanced [Earth] species, and rectify their personal shortcomings based upon a model of their selves. In the end, groupthink can be mitigated with thoughtfulness and experience even if it is one's first reflex

Organized religion seems to be the best way to eliminate reflection and ingrain mindless groupthink. Of course some religions are mindless to the extreme of fascism while others are sublime to the point of mirroring aspects of advanced particle physics

Dec 17, 2014
All you offer is pseudoscience.
This is just what I'm saying: you don't argue, only label, i.e. downvote. Downvoting is easy. Labeling with pseudoscience is easy - actually every kid could manage it. "Pseudoscience" labeling is typical product of groupthink, pluralistic ignorance and herd religious mentality. But in science only argument is, what counts for discussion, not logical fallacy.


There are some things that aren't WORTH arguing about bud...like the color of the sky. THAT'S why people don't engage you in a "debate" about whether or not the laws of thermodynamics are valid...because it's a complete, total, and utter waste of time....period. There's critical thinking and discussion, and then there's pointless debate with someone who's identity depends on a pseudo scientific worldview. Debating the laws of thermodynamics is EXACTLY like debating with a Mormon over whether or not looking in a hat filled with rocks is a radio to angels....

Dec 17, 2014
Are they talking about liberal democrats? They certain fit the profile.

cjn
Dec 17, 2014
Herd mentality might lead to some bad decisions, but also leads to the execution of necessary actions. By only highlighting all of the actions one deems "bad", the authors are ignoring all the functions that the members of a population are doing that sustain themselves and the population as a whole.

The ability to see and mimic "herd" behaviors is how many species are able to instruct future generations on learned best practices, such as apes using tools and octopi using halved cocoanut shells for protection.

In times without significant environmental stresses, the "herd" is sufficiently successful, and thus continues to exist, with members not needing to develop or independently learn individual behaviors for all the actions required for survival.

Dec 17, 2014
"Our results suggest we shouldn't expect social groups in nature to respond effectively to changing environments.

What are 'social groups in nature'?

A herd must follow ...something.

If one individual in a 'social groups in nature' finds something that tastes good or discover a new way to catch ants, is it 'herd mentality' to copy a successful trait?

Modern herd mentality was believing and voting for 'hope and change'. Obama has run his lemming followers over a cliff.

Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
I suggest that the assertion "individuals have evolved to be overly influenced by their neighbours, rather than rely on their own instinct" is a hasty generalization.
Perhaps the study was affected by an inherent selection bias. I and many of those whom I know are highly resistant to peer pressure, and when pressed will more often that not actively oppose the pressure. We usually opt out of participation in surveys, polls, etc. - a problem which statistics and demographics cannot adjust for.
The 'herd' does not always appreciate us individualists, though.

Dec 17, 2014
"Are they talking about liberal democrats? They certain fit the profile."
-----------------------------------------------

"WMD!"

"Bring 'em on!"

- Screamed while cowering in an Undisclosed Location


Dec 17, 2014
Actually ALL human beings have a herd mentality...it's called culture. If we DIDN'T have those comfortable fictions that allow us to have reasonable expectations on interactions across 300 million individuals we'd still be living in caves.

So it's both a strength AND a weakness. It's just not as much of a weakness if you understand it's all a bunch of made up nonsense just so we don't kill each other on site 25% of the time like we did 150,000 years ago.

Dec 17, 2014
They don't argue, only downvote
@ZEPHIR/imido
first, argument requires communication
communication requires rules, from boundaries to evidenciary claims

you ignore the boundaries and make evidenciary claims that are not proven, making you someone who accepts conjecture over provable evidence (which is a legalistic way of saying you prefer pseudoscience to science)

there is no argument/communication with you as you will NOT accept evidence that is proven (per the legal term) which would be the empirical evidence of science

Then, to top that off, you promote PSEUDOSCIENCE
This is NOT considered labeling, but is classifying your evidence

This is proven by your acceptance of a falsified belief: daw/aw
(Falsified here: http://arxiv.org/...1284.pdf )

IOW - your evidence has all the same requirements of a religion, not science

you are not arguing or even communicating
you are proselytizing for a religious belief that is falsified

Don't forget to 1-star,Z!

Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
I explained you at least ten times
@ZEPHIR/imido
yes, you have explained a LOT to a LOT of people... but you have NEVER OFFERED PROOF or any scientific evidence supporting your conclusions

THIS is the essence of what i was saying above, but you still refuse to acknowledge

which is why you are/will always be regarded as a TROLL and a pseudoscience acolyte pushing a religion and not science

you refuse the boundaries of accepted communication and only accept what you want to believe in, from cold fusion that has failed to daw/aw that has been falsified (but you can't prove because the only evidence you have is to your pseudoscience site - like i have always said... if there is reputable science out there supporting your belief you should be able to link it, but you've given NOTHING)

this is the reason you always fail to make a point (like when you offered a retracted study as proof of cold fusion)

NO EVIDENCE or legitimate supporting science

(1-star Z, 1 star!)

Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 17, 2014
it's all a bunch of made up nonsense j

How can it be nonsense if it enabled humans to survive and thrive?

Dec 17, 2014
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Dec 18, 2014
The herd is exactly what's gonna get us extinct. Rampant consumerism, population growth, biosphere destruction and so on 'til the bacteria exhaust the petri dish. Abject stupidity FTW.

Dec 18, 2014
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Dec 18, 2014
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Dec 18, 2014
OK Imido. Build a fusion reactor using cold fusion principles. Go on! You are super brilliant are you not?

Dec 18, 2014
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Dec 18, 2014
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Dec 18, 2014
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Dec 21, 2014
Tribalism
Group selection

-The human brain developed in the wholly unnatural context of tribalism coupled with technology. Tribes whose members were more willing to sacrifice for one another in conflict with other tribes would be expected to prevail. The winners of these engagements would kill off all the males and incorporate the females.

This is not evolution and is not an adaptation to a natural environment. Humans have been continuously selected for their ability to function within the tribe. Those who could better emulate the tribal dynamic - internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity - had a greater chance of reproducing. Oddballs, loners, and malcontents were quickly identified, bullied, and culled.

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