Concept: Social influence
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 2 years ago
People are exposed to persuasive communication across many different contexts: Governments, companies, and political parties use persuasive appeals to encourage people to eat healthier, purchase a particular product, or vote for a specific candidate. Laboratory studies show that such persuasive appeals are more effective in influencing behavior when they are tailored to individuals' unique psychological characteristics. However, the investigation of large-scale psychological persuasion in the real world has been hindered by the questionnaire-based nature of psychological assessment. Recent research, however, shows that people’s psychological characteristics can be accurately predicted from their digital footprints, such as their Facebook Likes or Tweets. Capitalizing on this form of psychological assessment from digital footprints, we test the effects of psychological persuasion on people’s actual behavior in an ecologically valid setting. In three field experiments that reached over 3.5 million individuals with psychologically tailored advertising, we find that matching the content of persuasive appeals to individuals' psychological characteristics significantly altered their behavior as measured by clicks and purchases. Persuasive appeals that were matched to people’s extraversion or openness-to-experience level resulted in up to 40% more clicks and up to 50% more purchases than their mismatching or unpersonalized counterparts. Our findings suggest that the application of psychological targeting makes it possible to influence the behavior of large groups of people by tailoring persuasive appeals to the psychological needs of the target audiences. We discuss both the potential benefits of this method for helping individuals make better decisions and the potential pitfalls related to manipulation and privacy.
Persuasion is at the core of norm creation, emergence of collective action, and solutions to ‘tragedy of the commons’ problems. In this paper, we show that the directionality of friendship ties affect the extent to which individuals can influence the behavior of each other. Moreover, we find that people are typically poor at perceiving the directionality of their friendship ties and that this can significantly limit their ability to engage in cooperative arrangements. This could lead to failures in establishing compatible norms, acting together, finding compromise solutions, and persuading others to act. We then suggest strategies to overcome this limitation by using two topological characteristics of the perceived friendship network. The findings of this paper have significant consequences for designing interventions that seek to harness social influence for collective action.
More effective models of care delivery are needed, but their successful implementation depends on effective care teams and good management of local operations (clinical microsystems). Clinicians influence both, and local clinician leaders will have several key tasks.
For group-living animals traveling through heterogeneous landscapes, collective movement can be influenced by both habitat structure and social interactions. Yet research in collective behavior has largely neglected habitat influences on movement. Here we integrate simultaneous, high-resolution, tracking of wild baboons within a troop with a 3-dimensional reconstruction of their habitat to identify key drivers of baboon movement. A previously unexplored social influence - baboons' preference for locations that other troop members have recently traversed - is the most important predictor of individual movement decisions. Habitat is shown to influence movement over multiple spatial scales, from long-range attraction and repulsion from the troop’s sleeping site, to relatively local influences including road-following and a short-range avoidance of dense vegetation. Scaling to the collective level reveals a clear association between habitat features and the emergent structure of the group, highlighting the importance of habitat heterogeneity in shaping group coordination.
Our society is increasingly relying on the digitized, aggregated opinions of others to make decisions. We therefore designed and analyzed a large-scale randomized experiment on a social news aggregation Web site to investigate whether knowledge of such aggregates distorts decision-making. Prior ratings created significant bias in individual rating behavior, and positive and negative social influences created asymmetric herding effects. Whereas negative social influence inspired users to correct manipulated ratings, positive social influence increased the likelihood of positive ratings by 32% and created accumulating positive herding that increased final ratings by 25% on average. This positive herding was topic-dependent and affected by whether individuals were viewing the opinions of friends or enemies. A mixture of changing opinion and greater turnout under both manipulations together with a natural tendency to up-vote on the site combined to create the herding effects. Such findings will help interpret collective judgment accurately and avoid social influence bias in collective intelligence in the future.
The recent wave of mobilizations in the Arab world and across Western countries has generated much discussion on how digital media is connected to the diffusion of protests. We examine that connection using data from the surge of mobilizations that took place in Spain in May 2011. We study recruitment patterns in the Twitter network and find evidence of social influence and complex contagion. We identify the network position of early participants (i.e. the leaders of the recruitment process) and of the users who acted as seeds of message cascades (i.e. the spreaders of information). We find that early participants cannot be characterized by a typical topological position but spreaders tend to be more central in the network. These findings shed light on the connection between online networks, social contagion, and collective dynamics, and offer an empirical test to the recruitment mechanisms theorized in formal models of collective action.
Affective presence is a novel personality construct that describes the tendency of individuals to make their interaction partners feel similarly positive or negative. We adopt this construct, together with the input-process-output model of teamwork, to understand how team leaders influence team interaction and innovation performance. In 2 multisource studies, based on 350 individuals working in 87 teams of 2 public organizations and 734 individuals working in 69 teams of a private organization, we tested and supported hypotheses that team leader positive affective presence was positively related to team information sharing, whereas team leader negative affective presence was negatively related to the same team process. In turn, team information sharing was positively related to team innovation, mediating the effects of leader affective presence on this team output. The results indicate the value of adopting an interpersonal individual differences approach to understanding how affect-related characteristics of leaders influence interaction processes and complex performance in teams. (PsycINFO Database Record
Cyberbullying is a problem affecting a meaningful proportion of youth as they embrace online communication and interaction. Research has identified a number of real-world negative ramifications for both the targets and those who bully. During adolescence, many behavioral choices are influenced and conditioned by the role of major socializing agents, including friends, family, and adults at school. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which peers, parents, and educators influence the cyberbullying behaviors of adolescents. To explore this question, data were analyzed from a random sample of approximately 4,400 sixth through twelfth grade students (49 % female; 63 % nonwhite) from thirty-three schools in one large school district in the southern United States. Results indicate that cyberbullying offending is associated with perceptions of peers behaving similarly, and the likelihood of sanction by adults. Specifically, youth who believed that many of their friends were involved in bullying and cyberbullying were themselves more likely to report cyberbullying behaviors. At the same time, respondents who believed that the adults in their life would punish them for cyberbullying were less likely to participate. Implications for schools and families are discussed with the goal of mitigating this behavior and its negative outcomes among adolescent populations.
Although much is known about the effect of one’s cognitions on alcohol consumption, there has been considerably less examination of their contextually varying nature. Using panoramic filming and projection as a system of controlled contextual cueing the present study examined the effect of social influence and environmental cues on alcohol-related cognitions. A 2 × 2 factorial design simultaneously varied environmental cues (bar or lecture based panoramic videos) with social influence (peer group or solitary assessment). Results indicated that participants' positive outcome expectancies were higher, and drink refusal self efficacy was lower, when they were assessed as part of a group rather than alone. Participants exposed to pub, as opposed to lecture-based cues, also showed greater expectancies and lower drink refusal self efficacy. An interactive effect of social influence and environmental cues was observed for both positive and negative expectancies. Group testing and alcohol-related cueing also resulted in higher ratings of participants' own and others' alcohol consumption when compared with solitary testing and neutral cueing conditions. It is concluded that environmental and social contextual factors may be important mediators of alcohol-related cognitions, a finding that potentially has implications for the delivery of interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2012 APA, all rights reserved).