Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1441539
 
 

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The Burden of Social Proof: Shared Thresholds and Social Influence


Robert MacCoun


University of California, Berkeley - School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program; University of California, Berkeley - The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy

December 14, 2011

UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper

Abstract:     
Social influence rises with the number of influence sources, but the proposed relationship varies across theories, situations, and research paradigms. To clarify this relationship, I argue that people share some sense of where the “burden of social proof” lies in situations where opinions or choices are in conflict. This suggests a family of models sharing two key parameters, one corresponding to the location of the influence threshold, and the other reflecting its clarity – a factor that explains why discrete “tipping points” are not observed more frequently. The plausibility and implications of this account are examined using Monte Carlo and cellular automata simulations and the relative fit of competing models across classic datasets in the conformity, group deliberation, and social diffusion literatures.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 90

Keywords: norms, social influence, jury deliberation, conformity

JEL Classification: C92, D71, K42

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Date posted: August 2, 2009 ; Last revised: December 14, 2011

Suggested Citation

MacCoun, Robert, The Burden of Social Proof: Shared Thresholds and Social Influence (December 14, 2011). UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1441539 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1441539

Contact Information

Robert MacCoun (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-7518 (Phone)
University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program ( email )
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
University of California, Berkeley - The Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy ( email )
2607 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720-7320
United States
510-642-7518 (Phone)
510-643-9657 (Fax)
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