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Quantifying the effects of social influence.

Mavrodiev P, Tessone CJ, Schweitzer F - Sci Rep (2013)

Bottom Line: It holds across all questions analysed, even though the correct answers differ by several orders of magnitude.We argue that the nature of the response crucially changes with the level of information aggregation.This insight contributes to the empirical foundation of models for collective decisions under social influence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 58, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
How do humans respond to indirect social influence when making decisions? We analysed an experiment where subjects had to guess the answer to factual questions, having only aggregated information about the answers of others. While the response of humans to aggregated information is a widely observed phenomenon, it has not been investigated quantitatively, in a controlled setting. We found that the adjustment of individual guesses depends linearly on the distance to the mean of all guesses. This is a remarkable, and yet surprisingly simple regularity. It holds across all questions analysed, even though the correct answers differ by several orders of magnitude. Our finding supports the assumption that individual diversity does not affect the response to indirect social influence. We argue that the nature of the response crucially changes with the level of information aggregation. This insight contributes to the empirical foundation of models for collective decisions under social influence.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Scatter plots for questions 1 (first and third column) and 3 (second and fourth column).The green lines show median smoothing: the x-axis has been split into equally sized bins of size 10 (arbitrary), and the medians in each bin are plotted. The bottom row shows median smoothing with shaded areas corresponding to error bars between the first and third quartile of each bin. Note the scaling of the x- and y-axis.
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f1: Scatter plots for questions 1 (first and third column) and 3 (second and fourth column).The green lines show median smoothing: the x-axis has been split into equally sized bins of size 10 (arbitrary), and the medians in each bin are plotted. The bottom row shows median smoothing with shaded areas corresponding to error bars between the first and third quartile of each bin. Note the scaling of the x- and y-axis.

Mentions: At the finest granularity of the data, there are N = 12 subjects answering a given question for a given information condition over five rounds. In total, one would have 12 × 4 = 48 data points. Considering, however, that each question was asked four times at a given information condition (see Table 1), we pool these responses together to produce 48 × 4 = 192 samples per information condition and per question. In Figure 1, we have plotted typical Δxi(t) vs. for two questions. The left column shows that in the no information regime there is no particular dependency between the distance to the average and the ensuing adjustment of one's guess. In contrast, there is a positive linear relation in the aggregate information regime.


Quantifying the effects of social influence.

Mavrodiev P, Tessone CJ, Schweitzer F - Sci Rep (2013)

Scatter plots for questions 1 (first and third column) and 3 (second and fourth column).The green lines show median smoothing: the x-axis has been split into equally sized bins of size 10 (arbitrary), and the medians in each bin are plotted. The bottom row shows median smoothing with shaded areas corresponding to error bars between the first and third quartile of each bin. Note the scaling of the x- and y-axis.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3584930&req=5

f1: Scatter plots for questions 1 (first and third column) and 3 (second and fourth column).The green lines show median smoothing: the x-axis has been split into equally sized bins of size 10 (arbitrary), and the medians in each bin are plotted. The bottom row shows median smoothing with shaded areas corresponding to error bars between the first and third quartile of each bin. Note the scaling of the x- and y-axis.
Mentions: At the finest granularity of the data, there are N = 12 subjects answering a given question for a given information condition over five rounds. In total, one would have 12 × 4 = 48 data points. Considering, however, that each question was asked four times at a given information condition (see Table 1), we pool these responses together to produce 48 × 4 = 192 samples per information condition and per question. In Figure 1, we have plotted typical Δxi(t) vs. for two questions. The left column shows that in the no information regime there is no particular dependency between the distance to the average and the ensuing adjustment of one's guess. In contrast, there is a positive linear relation in the aggregate information regime.

Bottom Line: It holds across all questions analysed, even though the correct answers differ by several orders of magnitude.We argue that the nature of the response crucially changes with the level of information aggregation.This insight contributes to the empirical foundation of models for collective decisions under social influence.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 58, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
How do humans respond to indirect social influence when making decisions? We analysed an experiment where subjects had to guess the answer to factual questions, having only aggregated information about the answers of others. While the response of humans to aggregated information is a widely observed phenomenon, it has not been investigated quantitatively, in a controlled setting. We found that the adjustment of individual guesses depends linearly on the distance to the mean of all guesses. This is a remarkable, and yet surprisingly simple regularity. It holds across all questions analysed, even though the correct answers differ by several orders of magnitude. Our finding supports the assumption that individual diversity does not affect the response to indirect social influence. We argue that the nature of the response crucially changes with the level of information aggregation. This insight contributes to the empirical foundation of models for collective decisions under social influence.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus