The Majority Illusion - Deepstash
The Majority Illusion

The Majority Illusion


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The Majority Illusion

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Everyone Else Is Married And I Am Still Single!

Have you felt sometimes that most of your friends are travelling around beautiful places and having a good time while you are struggling in a city managing work and home?

Or you might feel that everyone in your age group has got married and settled down and you are still searching for a partner and nothing is working!! Why am I single while everyone else is married and possibly living happily ever after?

This might be a Majority illusion.


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Defining The Majority Illusion

The “majority illusion” suggests that under some conditions, individuals will overestimate the prevalence of some behaviours or the absence of a behaviour or certain attributes. Let's say people might feel everyone is leaving the company and joining a start-up, or there is no empowerment in the organization.

While this could be just an illusion when we dig deeper.

If people who have "felt" attrition is high or there is no empowerment, they will respond like that to a perception-based survey. And most of the surveys we do in organizations are perception based. 


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The Cause Of Majority Illusion

The phenomenon called majority illusion can influence the way we answer a perception-based survey on Engagement or culture.

The majority illusion happens when few people who are highly connected in the network demonstrate certain behaviours even though these behaviours are relatively rare in the larger organisation.

This is because the high-degree nodes(people who are connected to others most), or hubs of a social network, present such behaviours to a lot of different people, creating a skewed perception of the behaviour’s popularity in the network.


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The Majority Illusion Diagram

The red nodes have the capacity to create a majority illusion as they are highly connected in their network and others might perceive reality based on their experience with "just" these three people.


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