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The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd

Take advantage of the bandwagon effect

For example, you could choose to openly display social proof or bandwagon cues, in order to signal to other people that there is support for whatever it is you are promoting

Video-sharing sites demonstrate the benefits of displaying these cues, since people often use popularity cues such as the number of views that a video has in order to decide whether to watch it or not.

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The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd

The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd

https://effectiviology.com/bandwagon/

effectiviology.com

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Key Ideas

The bandwagon effect

It's a cognitive bias that causes people to think or act in a certain manner because they believe that other people are doing the same.

For example, the bandwagon effect might cause someone to adopt a certain political ideology, simply because influential people in their social circle have adopted the same ideology.

Examples of the bandwagon effect

  • The bandwagon effect can influence people’s political choices.
  • It can influence consumers’ decisions regarding which products to buy.
  • It can influence users’ decisions regarding how to rate stories or comments.
  • It can influence investors’ financial choices.
  • It can influence doctors’ medical decisions.
  • It can influence organizations’ implementation of new technologies.

Why the bandwagon effect happens

It serves as a mental shortcut that people instinctively use in order to make a decision quickly.

Specifically, bandwagon cues, which are signs that other people believe something or are doing something, can trigger the thought that “if other people like this, then I should too”.

Avoid the bandwagon effect

  • Slow down your reasoning process. Let some time pass between the point at which you encounter social cues and the point at which you make a final decision on something.
  • Set up optimal conditions for decision making. Choose to only make a certain decision when you’re by yourself.
  • Consider alternative options. Think about alternative options that you can choose beyond the one that is adopted by the majority.

Take advantage of the bandwagon effect

For example, you could choose to openly display social proof or bandwagon cues, in order to signal to other people that there is support for whatever it is you are promoting

Video-sharing sites demonstrate the benefits of displaying these cues, since people often use popularity cues such as the number of views that a video has in order to decide whether to watch it or not.

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The Verbatim Effect

The verbatim effect is a cognitive bias that makes people remember the general outline and meaning of the information that is provided and not the exact, complete details.

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Why We Experience the Verbatim Effect

There are two main memory processes:

  • Gist Memory concentrates on the core meaning of the information.
  • Verbatim Memory focuses on the surface form or the easily visible part of the information.

The Gist Memory is encoded in a better way because it is an important part of the information, and is not apparent at first, making it desirable and thus easier to retain.

Variance in the Verbatim Effect

The Verbatim Effect varies in its influence on people and may or may not occur in situations, as it depends on several factors like:

  • The individual's preferences, abilities, and experience.
  • The type of information, along with the reason for interacting with the information. A meaningless piece of information will not have any verbatim effect on an individual.

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The egocentric bias
The egocentric bias

It is a cognitive bias that causes people to rely too much on their own point of view when they examine or remember events in their life.

This means that people tend to either underest...

Examples of the egocentric bias
  • When you are giving a public talk, you assume that your nervousness is more apparent to others than is actually the case.
  • You overestimate the amount of work that you contributed to a group project.
  • You might believe that your colleagues all share your political beliefs and social values.
  • You might remember yourself as having been the key player in a past event, despite the fact that you only played a relatively minor role in it.
What causes the egocentric bias

It occurs primarily due to the fact that we tend to naturally examine and remember events primarily through our personal point of view.

Even when we realize that we should adjust our perspective to see things through other people’s eyes, we tend to anchor this new perspective to our own, and we often fail to adjust from our original viewpoint enough to properly assess how other people feel.

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The curse of knowledge

... is a cognitive bias that causes people to fail to account for the fact that others don’t know the same things that they do. 

Why we experience the curse of knowledge

Since we spend the majority of the time experiencing things from our own perspective, we struggle to imagine the perspective of others.

The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that makes it difficult for people to account for the fact that other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and views are different from their own.

Minimize the curse of knowledge

You need to be conscious of the fact that people have different levels of knowledge than you.

  • Ask for feedback from the people you are communicating with, in order to confirm that they understand what you are saying.
  • Make sure that you explain the technical terms and concepts that you use as you are using it.

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