Posted: 3 Sep 2003
This book discusses social influences on individual behavior and the risk of error stemming from conformity. Special attention is given to three phenomena: individual conformity to erroneous positions held by group members; informational and reputational cascades; and group polarization, by which individuals end up in a more extreme position in line with their predeliberation tendencies. Applications include legal precedent; terrorism; the effects of largely unenforced law; jury behavior; judicial behavior on panels; free speech; and affirmative action. New data, discussing how judicial votes are affected by judicial colleagues, attests to the pervasiveness of conformity and group polarization. Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests the importance of individual disclosure and dissent to prevent errors by a wide range of social groups.
Notes: This is a description of the book and not an actual excerpt.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Sunstein, Cass R., Why Societies Need Dissent. Sunstein, Cass R., WHY SOCIETIES NEED DISSENT, Harvard University Press, September 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=441340