The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd - Effectiviology

  
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The Bandwagon Effect: Why People Tend to Follow the Crowd - Effectiviology
The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to think or act a certain way if they believe that others are doing the same.

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Critical Thinkers


We often wonder how an individual can possibly think a certain way.   We see it everyday in terms of political views, religious views, trends (e.g. tattooing), economic views, sociological views, etc.    There are a number of factors that affect they way we think, but one of the most obvious (and powerful) is good old fashioned 'follow the crowd'.   It is a method of taking the most comfortable route where one's confidence in being right draws from 'can they all be wrong?' thinking.

While collective wisdom (the net wisdom of a group of disparate minds) has been shown, in specific cases, to be superior to that of an individual mind, it is not reliable.   The modern trend of physical fitness indicates a plausible collective wisdom (it is smart to exercise and eat properly to achieve a long life with quality).    But then again, most people five centuries ago thought the Earth was flat.   A surge in buying for a particular stock does not necessarily mean the stock is a good investment.   The election of Trump as PotUS does not mean the electorate was exercising wisdom.   

The bandwagon effect is directly in opposition to critical thinking where one looks at the available facts and uses sound logic with as much objectivity as possible to arrive at a conclusion.   It is a great way for a lot of people to be wrong and end up making poor decisions or gaining false confidence that their emotionally-driven feelings (beliefs) are correct.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to think or act a certain way if they believe that others are doing the same. For example, the bandwagon effect can cause someone to adopt a certain political ideology, because they see that other people in their social circle have adopted the same ideology.

The bandwagon effect can have a powerful influence on people in many areas of life, so it's important to understand it. As such, in the following article you will learn more about the bandwagon effect, understand why people experience it, and see what you can do in order to account for its influence.

Table of contents

  • Examples of the bandwagon effect
  • Why people experience the bandwagon effect
    • How the bandwagon effect spreads
  • How to avoid the bandwagon effect
  • How to use the bandwagon effect
  • Additional information
    • Individual variation in the bandwagon effect
    • Reverse bandwagon effect
    • Social norms
  • Summary and conclusions

Examples of the bandwagon effect


One example of the bandwagon effect is that when people see a comment on social media that received a lot of likes or upvotes, they become more likely to upvote it themself. Another example of the bandwagon effect is that when people see that others are pumping money into the stock market, they become likely to invest too, which can lead to speculative bubbles and market crashes.

Furthermore, there are various other areas of life where the bandwagon effect can influence people. For example:

  • The bandwagon effect can influence people's political choices. For example, voters sometimes provide increased support for a certain political party, simply because that party is doing well in recent polls (a behavior sometimes referred to as bandwagon voting, or the rally-around-the-winner effect or follow-the-winner effect).
  • The bandwagon effect can influence consumers' decisions regarding which products to buy. For example, people often buy the same type of clothes that other people that they know are wearing, because they want to show that they're following the latest fashion trends (a behavior sometimes referred to as bandwagon consumption, which is taken advantage of in marketing and advertising).
  • The bandwagon effect can influence doctors' medical decisions. For example, many medical procedures have been widely practiced for long stretches of history, despite a lack of sufficient supporting evidence for their efficacy, because they were considered popular by the medical community.
  • The bandwagon effect can influence people's tendency to litter. For example, people are more likely to litter if they're in an environment that's already littered, and less likely to litter if they're in an environment that's clean.
  • The bandwagon effect can influence organizations' implementation of new technologies. For example, many businesses in the hospitality market ended up implementing new features on their websites only when it became popular to do so, despite the fact that doing it earlier could have given them a competitive advantage in the market.

Another well-known example of the bandwagon effect appears in what is often referred to as the elevator experiment:


"[The elevator experiment] appeared on the TV show Candid Camera in 1962. In the episode titled Face the Rear… unknowing individuals entered an elevator where everyone else was facing backwards. Despite this being a completely unnatural thing to do, many individuals 'went with the crowd' and rode the elevator facing away from the doors."
— From "Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes" (Howard, 2019)

In addition, the bandwagon effect can also influence people in a more general manner. As one scholar notes:


"The bandwagon effect may also affect people not just with a specific decision, but with regard to the overall culture and work environment. Group attitudes and norms are 'contagious.' We are unconsciously influenced by the attitudes and behaviors of those around us. We have all found ourselves in an unpleasant group before, perhaps one of many angry airline passengers waiting for a delayed flight. The tension can be palpable, and we may find our own anxiety rising in response to that of the strangers next to us. Similarly, experiences such as sporting events and performances are enjoyable largely because the excitement of the crowd spreads to us all."
— From "Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes" (Howard, 2019)

Finally, the bandwagon effect also plays a central role in various related phenomena. This includes, for example, herd behavior, which is the way individuals in a group think and act in a similar way due to local interactions rather than centralized coordination, groupthink, which is the way certain groups strive for conformity in the thoughts and actions of group members in an uncritical and detrimental manner, as well as other phenomena, such as social contagion, mob mentality, and the false consensus effect.

Note: the term "bandwagon effect" is sometimes used in a specialized sense in specific contexts. For example, in the context of consumption and economics, the bandwagon effect is often used to refer to increased demand for a certain good as a result of seeing others use it.

Why people experience the bandwagon effect


The bandwagon effect—together with the behaviors that are associated with it, such as following the crowd and following popular trends—can be attributed to several psychological causes.

One such cause is normative social influence, which represents the tendency to conform with others out of a desire to fit in with the crowd and gain approval from others.

Another such cause is informational social influence, which represents the tendency to conform with others out of a desire to be right, under the assumption that others may know something that you don't, or may understand the situation better than you.

Furthermore, relying on the opinion and actions of others can often serve as a useful heuristica mental shortcut that helps people form judgments and make decisions, especially in certain situations, such as when people need to choose quickly or under uncertainty. The use of the bandwagon effect as a heuristic in this manner can either be something that people do intuitively without being aware of, or it can be something that people actively choose to do.

All these causes of the bandwagon effect mean that when people encounter bandwagon cues (sometimes also referred to as popularity cues), which are signs that other people believe something or are doing something, they use those cues to guide their own actions, under the assumption that it's beneficial to act the same way as others or that other people's judgment is worth relying on. For example, when people are asked to rate the importance of news articles, they tend to give higher ratings to articles when they believe that those articles cover a topic that's also covered by other news agencies, since this serves as a signal of the importance of the story.

Finally, other factors can cause people to experience the bandwagon effect or to be more susceptible to it in certain situations. For example, in some cases, the fear of missing out can make people susceptible to the bandwagon effect, such as when someone sees that other people are taking advantage of a unique investment opportunity, which pushes this person to do the same, even if they're not sure that this opportunity is actually good. Similarly, in the case of voting for a candidate because they're in the lead, the desire to support a "winner" (or avoid support a "loser") can be what makes people susceptible to the bandwagon effect.

Note that any combination of these causes may be responsible for people's bandwagon thinking and behavior, and the causes of the bandwagon effect can vary across people and circumstances. This means, for example, that different people may experience the bandwagon effect due to different causes under the same circumstances, and that the same person may experience the bandwagon effect due to different causes under different circumstances.

Overall, people experience the bandwagon effect for various reasons, such as because they want to conform with others in order to gain their approval, because they believe that relying on the opinion of others is beneficial, or because they're motivated by additional mechanisms, such as the fear of missing out.

Note: because various mechanisms can lead to the bandwagon effect, different people may experience it for different reasons under the same circumstances, and the same person might experience the bandwagon effect for different reasons under different circumstances. In addition, people sometimes engage in bandwagon behaviors even though they're not influenced by the bandwagon effect, but rather because they are driven to it by something else, such as strategic considerations.

How the bandwagon effect spreads


In many situations, the bandwagon effect can spread quickly and on a large-scale through a positive feedback loop, whereby the more people are affected by it, the more likely other people are to be affected by it too. This can be attributed to a number of underlying mechanisms, such as the increased likelihood of observing someone display the behavior that's prompted by the bandwagon effect, and the increased pressure to act the same way as a result of that behavior becoming an accepted norm.

A practical example of how the bandwagon effect can spread appears in the case of the medical sciences, which are generally viewed as rigorous, objective, and empirically-driven, and therefore less likely to be influenced by this and similar phenomena. One paper on the topic, titled "The Bandwagons of Medicine", describes how a new medical concept or treatment can gain momentum and become mainstream, as a result of a large-scale bandwagon effect:

  • The media finds out about a new treatment and publicizes it, often by publishing pieces that are exaggerated and misleading.
  • Various organizations, such as government agencies, research foundations, and private companies also promote the new treatment, because they have some vested interest in seeing it succeed.
  • The public picks up on the now-publicized treatment, and pressures medical practitioners such as doctors to adopt it, especially when that treatment is perceived as being novel.
  • Doctors often want to accept the new treatment, because it offers a compelling solution to a difficult problem.
  • Furthermore, since doctors have to consume increasingly large amounts of medical information in order to stay aware of the latest trends in their field, it's sometimes difficult for them to read new material in a sufficiently critical manner.

This demonstrates how a new concept, which is originally promoted by only a single advocate or a small group of advocates, can quickly grow and become widely popular, even when lacking sufficient supporting evidence.

Though this example focuses on the topic of medicine, similar processes can occur in other fields, such as fashion and politics. In all of these fields, what happens is that a new concept gains a small following, which grows until it reaches a critical mass, for instance until it starts being covered by mainstream media, at which point a large-scale bandwagon effect begins, which causes more people to support this concept, in increasingly large numbers.

This is associated with a closely related concept called the availability cascade, which is a self-reinforcing process through which a certain stance gains increasing prominence in public discourse.

Note: a closely related phenomenon is the "diffusion of innovations", which explains how new technologies and trends are adopted. In this process, there are generally five classes of people: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards, and as more people adopt the new technology (especially those with high reputation), more people who were initially reluctant to do so also change their mind and jump on the bandwagon.

How to avoid the bandwagon effect


Since the bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias, you can reduce its impact on you and on others by using appropriate debiasing techniques, which help you think and act in a rational manner. Such techniques include the following:

  • Create distance from the bandwagon cues. For example, you can create physical distance from those cues by moving away from people who exert peer pressure before you make a decision, or you can create temporal distance by waiting for a day after talking to people before you make a decision.
  • Create optimal conditions for judgment and decision-making. For example, before you make a decision that might be influenced by the bandwagon effect, go somewhere quiet, where you can properly concentrate while thinking about the situation.
  • Slow down your reasoning process. This involves taking time to think through the situation in a slow and analytical manner, rather than relying on intuition or hurried reasoning.
  • Make your reasoning process explicit. For example, if you're debating whether to follow a certain course of action that's associated with bandwagon cues, you can explicitly list its pros and cons, and then clearly verbalize what decision you've made and why.
  • Hold yourself accountable for your decisions. Remind yourself that ultimately, you're responsible for any decision that you make, even if that decision is prompted by the bandwagon effect or other types of social influence.
  • Examine the bandwagon. For example, try to identify who's promoting it and why they're doing so (e.g. a marketer is promoting it because they're trying to get people to buy their product).
  • Recall similar situations in the bandwagon effect played a role. Thinking of similar situations in which you experienced the bandwagon effect can help you assess its current influence on you, identify the potential consequences of that influence, and remember that just because something appears popular, that doesn't mean that it's right or that it's the best course of action.
  • Consider alternative options. For example, try to identify one alternative course of action than the one suggested by the bandwagon cues, and consider its potential advantages.
  • Create psychological self-distance. When considering how you should act in light of bandwagon cues, you can improve your ability to think rationally by creating psychological self-distance, for example by using self-distancing language and asking yourself "what should you do in this situation?".
  • Visualize the consequences of your decisions. Specifically, consider what the consequences would be if you followed the course of action suggested by the bandwagon effect, in terms of factors such as what would happen and how you would feel.
  • Elicit external feedback. For example, you can talk to a trusted individual, who isn't likely to be influenced by the particular bandwagon effect that you're worried about, and ask them what they think about your reasoning process.

In addition, it's often beneficial to identify the causes of your bandwagon effect (e.g. desire to fit in), since this can help you figure out which techniques you should use to reduce it. This has the added benefit of helping you identify situations where you're likely to experience this bias, which can help you prepare for it in advance, for example by setting a standardized implementation plan, in terms of how you'll react if you feel that you're about to experience this bias.

Furthermore, it's important to remember to keep the bandwagon effect in mind in various situations, since you generally need to be aware of its potential influence in order to address it properly. This means, for example, that whenever you're about to make a decision while experiencing some pressure from others, you should remind yourself of this effect, so you can properly account for its potential influence.

Finally, note even though it's beneficial to be able to avoid the bandwagon effect, that doesn't mean that bandwagon cues are necessarily wrong and should be ignored. Rather, they can sometimes be valuable tools that lead you to an optimal decision.

As such, you generally shouldn't dismiss those cues without consideration, but rather make sure to analyze them in a rational manner, without falling for the bandwagon effect. This means, for example, that if you're trying to decide which book to read or which product to buy, you can likely benefit from looking at ratings and reviews that people left, while making sure to analyze them in a rational manner, and also taking other relevant factors into consideration if possible.

Overall, to reduce the bandwagon effect, you can use various debiasing techniques, such as creating distance from the bandwagon cues, slowing down your reasoning process, holding yourself accountable for your decisions, visualizing the consequences of your decisions, and considering alternative options. In addition, it's often beneficial to identify the causes of your bandwagon effect, and it's important to remember that even though the bandwagon effect can be problematic, bandwagon cues aren't necessarily wrong, so you should generally assess them properly rather than dismiss them with no consideration.

How to use the bandwagon effect


In some cases, it can be beneficial to use the bandwagon effect in order to influence people's thoughts and actions. For example, if you're an author, you might want to include bandwagon cues and similar signals of social proof on your book cover, such as blurbs from influential people or notifications of best-seller status, in order to prompt people to buy your book.

To use the bandwagon effect in an optimal manner, it's important to first understand what it is, why people experience it, and how it can affect people. Then, you should assess the situation to determine how to best apply the bandwagon effect in your particular situation, by asking yourself questions such as the following:

  • What outcome am I trying to achieve?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are the characteristics of the target audience, when it comes to things that pertain to the bandwagon effect? For example, am I targetting just one group of people or multiple ones? If I'm targeting multiple groups, in what ways do these groups differ from one another socially?
  • What underlying psychological mechanisms could cause my target audience to experience the bandwagon effect? For example, are people in the target audience likely to experience the bandwagon effect because they rely on other people's assessment of information?
  • What can I do to promote a bandwagon effect in practice? For example, which signs of social proof can I use to generate the bandwagon effect?
  • How will my target audience respond to the different approaches that I can use to create a bandwagon effect? Specifically, which approaches will my target audience respond to favorably, and which approaches will they respond to negatively (and why)?

Sometimes, you may not have all the relevant information that you need at the start. For example, you may not immediately know how your target audience will respond to different approaches. To get the necessary information, there are several things that you can do:

  • Talk to relevant individuals, in order to get their perspective directly, while keeping in mind that people aren't always fully aware of why or how they act, or of how they're likely to act, due to issues such as the empathy gap.
  • Observe relevant individuals, for example to see how they respond to bandwagon cues in practice, while keeping in mind that your observation of their behavior gives you limited insights into what they're thinking and why they act the way that they do.
  • Consider relevant research and case studies, in order to get relevant insights; for example, if you're designing a website, you can examine related websites and research into how bandwagon cues, such as ratings and reviews, influence people's opinions.
  • Run experiments, in order to directly test how well your approaches work in your particular situation.

Overall, using the bandwagon effect can be beneficial in a wide range of situations. To use it effectively, you should first learn how the bandwagon effect works, and then assess your situation to determine how you should use it, by considering aspects such as who your target audience is and what are the outcomes that you're trying to achieve, and by potentially also gathering relevant information through methods such as observing individuals and running experiments.

Additional information


Individual variation in the bandwagon effect


There is substantial individual variability when it comes to people's susceptibility to the bandwagon effect, which can be attributed to various personal and situational factors. This means that different people are likely to be influenced by the bandwagon effect to different degrees, in different ways, and for different reasons.

For example, when it comes to politics, people who are strongly invested in their current political party likely won't vote for an opposing party just because it's doing well in the polls, while people who are unsure who to vote for might be swayed by these polls, especially if they don't have strong preexisting political beliefs.

The concept of individual variation in the bandwagon effect is illustrated in one of the best-known experiments on the topic, generally referred to as the Asch conformity experiment, which is described as follows:


"A group of eight individuals was instructed to judge a series of simple, clearly structured perceptual relations—to match the length of a given line with one of three unequal lines.

Each member of the group announced his judgments publicly. In the midst of this monotonous 'test' one individual found himself suddenly contradicted by the entire group, and this contradiction was repeated again and again in the course of the experiment.

The group in question had, with the exception of one member, previously met with the experimenter and rece1ved instructions to respond at certain points with wrong—and unanimous—judgments. The errors of the majority were large… and of an order not encountered under control conditions. The outstanding person—the critical subject—whom we had placed in the position of a minority of one in the midst of a unanimous majority—was the object of Investigation. He faced, possibly for the first time in his life, a situation in which a group unanimously contradicted the evidence of his senses…

The quantitative results are clear and unambiguous…

There was a marked movement toward the majority. One-third of all estimates in the critical group were errors identical with or in the direction of the distorted estimates of the majority. The significance of this finding becomes clear in the light of the virtual absence of errors in control groups the members of which recorded their estimates in writing…

At the same time the effect of the majority was far from complete. The preponderance of estimates in the critical group (68 per cent) was correct despite the pressure of the majority…

We found evidence of extreme individual differences. There were in the critical group subjects who remained independent without exception, and there were those who went nearly all the time with the majority…

The differences between the critical subjects in their reactions to the given conditions were equally striking. There were subjects who remained completely confident throughout. At the other extreme were those who became disoriented, doubt-ridden, and experienced a powerful impulse not to appear different from the majority."

— As described by Asch in "Effects of Group Pressure upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgments" (a chapter in a 1983 book, which is adapted from the original publication of the experiment—a chapter with the same name published in the 1951 book "Groups, Leadership and Men: Research in Human Relations")

Accordingly, the bandwagon effect is sometimes limited in scope, meaning that it influences only a proportion of the people involved in a certain situation.

Reverse bandwagon effect


The reverse bandwagon effect (also referred to as the snob effect in certain contexts) is a cognitive bias that causes people to avoid doing something, because they believe that other people are doing it. For example, the reverse bandwagon effect can cause someone to avoid wearing a luxury brand of clothing, after they've seen many other people wearing that brand.

Thus, the reverse bandwagon effect influences people in an opposite manner than the regular bandwagon effect, by leading them to engage in non-conforming behavior, as opposed to the bandwagon effect, which causes people to engage in conforming behavior.

The reverse bandwagon effect can be driven by various psychological mechanisms, such as the desire to feel unique and the desire to dissociate from others. For example, one study found that when people are in close proximity to others who may have bought a certain product, people's desire to be unique can cause them to avoid that product.

However, note that reverse-bandwagon behaviors, which go against what is done by others, are not always driven by the associated cognitive bias. For example, people sometimes become more likely to support a political candidate when that candidate is viewed as unlikely to win (a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the underdog effect), due to sympathy for that candidate. Similarly, in other cases, things such as strategic considerations may drive people's reverse-bandwagon behavior.

Social norms


Understanding social norms can help you understand the bandwagon effect.

When it comes to social norms, a distinction is often drawn between two main types of norms:

  • Injunctive norms, which represent what people typically approve or disapprove of.
  • Descriptive norms, which represent what people typically do in practice.

People's formulation and perception of these norms are based on various factors, such as observation, communication, and preexisting personal attitudes.

In addition, the salienceof social norms can also influence the way these norms affect people in any given situation. Specifically, in general, the more salient a norm is, meaning that people are aware of it at a given time, the more strongly this norm affects people, and this is especially important when there is a conflict between multiple different sets of norms.

Note: other distinctions are sometimes used when discussing social norms, such as the distinction between prescriptive norms (what should be done) and proscriptive norms (what shouldn't be done).

Summary and conclusions

  • The bandwagon effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to think or act a certain way if they believe that others are doing the same.
  • The bandwagon effect can influence people when it comes to things such as which political candidate to vote for, which products to buy, and which investment to put their money into.
  • People experience the bandwagon effect for various reasons, such as because they want to conform with others in order to gain their approval, because they believe that relying on the opinion of others is beneficial, or because they're motivated by additional mechanisms, such as the fear of missing out.
  • To reduce the bandwagon effect, you can use various debiasing techniques, such as creating distance from the bandwagon cues, slowing down your reasoning process, holding yourself accountable for your decisions, visualizing the consequences of your decisions, and considering alternative options.
  • When reducing the bandwagon effect, it's often beneficial to first identify the causes of your bandwagon effect, and it's also important to remember that even though the bandwagon effect can be problematic, bandwagon cues aren't necessarily wrong, so you should generally assess them properly rather than dismiss them with no consideration.

Other articles you may find interesting:

  • The Availability Cascade: How Information Spreads on a Large Scale
  • FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
  • Knoll's Law of Media Accuracy: Remember that Not Everything in the News Is True

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TᵢG
Professor Principal
1  seeder  TᵢG    8 months ago

An interesting discussion on something we all see everyday.

There are examples of where the bandwagon effect can be good (arguably the cleanliness, efficiency, etc. of Japan is a result of this being engrained into their collectivist culture).   And there are plenty of examples where it is bad.

So is following the leader net good in the USA?   Should we strive to think critically or just assume 'they' know what is 'right'?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2  sandy-2021492    8 months ago
So is following the leader net good in the USA?

That's a tough one.  As you said, there are instances where it does good, as in encouraging cleanliness.  I would say that it can also encourage tolerance and generosity - we're more likely to donate money to a charity if our friends urge donation, and tolerant societies promote tolerance in individuals.

But absolutely, there are examples of the bandwagon effect being bad.  Racist societies, for example.  Street gangs.  Harmful superstitions.  Bad science, including bad medicine.

I'd say it's not a net good, on the whole.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    8 months ago

When a bandwagon is in effect I would encourage new prospective members to step back and ask why they think this is a good idea.   The reason cannot be:  'many others think so' but rather a set of facts of rational reasoning that determines it is a good idea.   If someone adopts an idea they should be able to explain why —on the merits of the idea— in terms of facts and not feelings.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
3  Bob Nelson    8 months ago

Good seed.

The bandwagon effect explains most of America today. Trumpism, fundamentalism, and (let's be honest) some left-ism... are all largely explained thus.

As I have pointed out many times, ''thinking'' is hard. Expliciting a problem, collecting pertinent data, sifting, collating, ... ''Thinking'' is hard. Most people never think. They copy. They hop on the bandwagon.

Most people copy others' behavior, others' words, ... Trumpists parrot their Great Leader. Fundamentalists parrot their preacher. Very few can defend their positions with data, logic, and reason, because they never learned those things. 

They learn by rote. They hop on a bandwagon.

I doubt that there is any real ''thinking'' on the right. Certainly, we have observed none, here on NT. I have been challenging our Usual Suspects for years, to produce policy ideas. All we have ever seen from our local righties is obfuscation. (This is why I don't say that all Trumpists are fascists, despite the fact that they follow an obvious fascist: they don't understand what they're following. They've never learned to ''think''. They're on a bandwagon.

Does that matter, though? Whether Trumpists are consciously fascist, or just fascist-fellow-travelers... the effect is the same: they are tens of millions, all intent on destroying democracy in America.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @3    8 months ago

Thanks for a great summary of the seed Bob as well as your recognizing the reason I seeded this article.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4  Nerm_L    8 months ago

A society constantly flooded with hype is more savvy than is being credited.  A simplistic explanation consistent with Edward Bernays ruminations would be apropos if we turn back the clock a century to a time when there weren't marketing campaigns, public relations spectaculars, or academic political activism. 

Society is no longer being passively influenced; society has now begun using the tools of hype and propaganda to actively influence.  Social media has democratized propaganda and more of society has become propagandists.  The 'bandwagon' is no longer the sole province of institutional influencers.

'Fake news' is recognition of institutional efforts to manipulate public opinion using methods of marketing, public relations, and propaganda.  'Fake news' isn't about the facts being fake; it's about the news being a phony dissemination of facts to manipulate public opinion.  Not surprisingly, these institutional manipulators want to view the public as being passively susceptible to being influenced.  But the public is no longer that naive.  

In our modern society the concept of a 'bandwagon effect' has become stale and obsolete.  The public is more aware today concerning efforts to manipulate public opinion.  As a result the public has become reticent to accept facts as simply being facts.  Facts are a tool used by propagandists to spread 'fake news'.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4    8 months ago
In our modern society the concept of a 'bandwagon effect' has become stale and obsolete. 

You just witnessed it with the adoption by millions of the utterly absurd claim that Trump was the true winner of the election and lost due to an historical level of fraud.    Modern access to information has not made this phenomenon obsolete but rather provides a more effective way of informing people of an available bandwagon on which to jump.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1    8 months ago
You just witnessed it with the adoption by millions of the utterly absurd claim that Trump was the true winner of the election and lost due to an historical level of fraud.    Modern access to information has not made this phenomenon obsolete but rather provides a more effective way of informing people of an available bandwagon on which to jump.

I disagree.  What we witnessed was those who shared a desire for a given result using the same methods employed by institutions to manipulate public opinion.  

Institutional news organizations attempted to create a 'bandwagon' by using facts as a medium to spread opinion about Trump supporters.  The reporting wasn't about the election itself; the reporting was about disseminating a biased judgement of the psychological personality and mentality of Trump and Trump supporters.  The reality is that the facts mattered little to what both sides were attempting to disseminate.

Propaganda doesn't focus attention on facts.  Propaganda is about describing people's behavior and motivations to create either an emotional connection with a given point of view or an emotional rejection of a given point of view.  Facts are only a medium used to convey an emotive narrative about allies and opponents.

If we continue with the obsolete idea of bandwagons; there was a Biden bandwagon as well as a Trump bandwagon.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.2  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.1    8 months ago
If we continue with the obsolete idea of bandwagons; there was a Biden bandwagon as well as a Trump bandwagon. 

Bandwagons are not some option that we choose.   The bandwagon is an observed phenomenon.   And, yes, of course, the bandwagon phenomenon is not limited to a particular party / ideology / religion / culture / gender / species / etc.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.2    8 months ago
Bandwagons are not some option that we choose.   The bandwagon is an observed phenomenon.   And, yes, of course, the bandwagon phenomenon is not limited to a particular party / ideology / religion / culture / gender / species / etc.

That seems contrary to the point of the seeded article.  

I submit the observations are being made from an obsolete perspective of how information and influence is spread in the modern world.  The public are no longer passive recipients of influential opinion.  The public is pushing back.  The public is now demanding that institutions and leaders get with the program.

Trump was a follower of public opinion; not a creator of public opinion.  Trump was a megaphone for the masses.  That's all.  While it's true that the public opinion was not established in a vacuum; the public played a much greater role in forming that opinion than did institutional influencers.

Qanon wasn't disseminated to the public.  Qanon is a grassroots effort to push back against institutional efforts to use the 'bandwagon effect' to impart opinion onto the pubic.  The institutional bandwagon is the conspiracy.  The 'bandwagon effect' has become obsolete and is being replaced with something more fluid, amorphous, and ill-defined.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.4  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.3    8 months ago
That seems contrary to the point of the seeded article.  

Don't know what to tell you then Nerm.   Bandwagons are a societal phenomenon, they are an emergent property of human nature;  they are not simply going to 'fade away'.   A bandwagon is the snowball effect of people joining in simply because others have done so — basically the: 'they think it is true so they are likely right'.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.5  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.4    8 months ago
Don't know what to tell you then Nerm.   Bandwagons are a societal phenomenon, they are an emergent property of human nature;  they are not simply going to 'fade away'.   A bandwagon is the snowball effect of people joining in simply because others have done so — basically the: 'they think it is true so they are likely right'.

Then why is the seeded article trying to convince people to choose to avoid bandwagons?  If people can choose to get off the wagon then they can also choose to get on.

The article also provides a brief tutorial on how to use the 'bandwagon effect' to influence people's thoughts and actions.  That's a choice, too.  What I'm pointing out is that using the 'bandwagon effect' is no longer within the sole purview of institutional influencers.  People are no longer passive recipients of influence.  People are more aware of efforts to influence their thoughts and actions.  The public has become influencers attempting to drive the bandwagon to achieve their own goals.

We can observe that on social media.  People attempting to influence opinion are confronted with counter-influence.  That's why the growing desire for censorship; it's become much more difficult to get people onto the bandwagon.

The 'bandwagon effect' is being replaced with something more fluid, amorphous, and ill defined.  People are becoming more involved in pushing back than getting on.  The public is becoming united in opposition rather than uniting around common beliefs.  If the 'bandwagon effect' was still germane then why is there so much churn in public opinion?  The public is becoming more united in refusing to get onto the bandwagon than being on a bandwagon.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
4.1.6  Bob Nelson  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.4    8 months ago

There are lots of bandwagons out there. Each of us chooses the ones we hop on.

If someone hops on a bandwagon that's flying banners that scream ''Keep THOSE people OUT'' and ''TRUMP WON !!!''... they know full well which bandwagon they're jumping on.

They chose to jump on the fascist bandwagon. It doesn't matter whether they are fascist-true-believers or just fascist-fellow-travelers. They willingly jumped on the fascist bandwagon.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.7  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.6    8 months ago
They chose to jump on the fascist bandwagon. It doesn't matter whether they are fascist-true-believers or just fascist-fellow-travelers. They willingly jumped on the fascist bandwagon.

Anti-fascism is a very good example of unified refusal to get onto any bandwagon.  Anti-fascism doesn't stand for anything other than opposition.

There isn't an anti-fascist bandwagon to get onto.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.8  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.5    8 months ago
Then why is the seeded article trying to convince people to choose to avoid bandwagons?

Because that is a smart way to operate.

If people can choose to get off the wagon then they can also choose to get on.

Correct.   

People are more aware of efforts to influence their thoughts and actions.  

Hopefully, but the bandwagon effect remains and the advice (think critically) remains.

If the 'bandwagon effect' was still germane then why is there so much churn in public opinion?

You doubt that the bandwagon effect is still germane?   

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.9  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.6    8 months ago

Agreed.   People are not forced onto a particular bandwagon, they willingly choose to simply go with a particular flow.

My reference to choosing a bandwagon was poorly worded.   I was responding to the notion of a Trump and a Biden bandwagon.   A better statement would be that we cannot choose which bandwagon's exist (but certainly choose to hop on or off one that does).

Bandwagons can be artificially seeded.   After all, that is one way of describing one of the greater underlying dynamics of market share.   

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.10  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.8    8 months ago
You doubt that the bandwagon effect is still germane?   

Correct.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.11  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.10    8 months ago

Well alrighty then.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
4.1.12  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.7    8 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.13  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.12    8 months ago
I'm not sure what you mean.

'Anti' movements are not bandwagons.  There isn't any wagon to climb onto.  The purpose of 'anti' movements is to unify the public in opposition.  There isn't any goal or purpose other than to defy and resist.  

As an example, anti-science doesn't offer anything positive to unify the public.  Anti-science is strictly opposition to the use of scientific opinion for influencing public opinion.

On the surface, climate change is little more than a marketing campaign little different than an Apple marketing campaign to sell things people don't need but can't live without.  Climate science is marketing gadgets, gizmos, and technological marvels by attempting to influence the public to climb onto that consumer bandwagon.  Climate science is more about hawking the latest shiny new toy for consumer market share than about addressing problems.  Climate science is attempting to influence the public to buy, buy, buy a cleaner, healthier, and more secure future.  The more money, the better.  The bias is so obvious that it shouldn't need mentioning.

Anti-science is really about pushing back against that marketing hype.  The climate hype that we can't do anything about fossil fuels until we buy, buy, buy shiny new gee-whiz replacements doesn't pass the smell test.  Climate scientists (if they really are scientists) have put more effort into selling stuff than solving problems.  To pop-culture climate scientists there isn't any environmental problem that cannot be solved with shiny toys and lots of money.  Anti-science unites people in opposition to the marketing hype trying to use the 'bandwagon effect'; anti-science isn't about science any more than the marketing hype is about science.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.14  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.11    8 months ago
Well alrighty then.

The reason I doubt that the bandwagon effect is still germane results from the increasing number of opposition movements.  Opposition movements are not bandwagons.  Opposition unifies people in defiance and resistance.  People are using social media to influence opposition but that doesn't mean they're advocating for anything.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.15  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.14    8 months ago

Opposition movements are, if successful, seeds of the bandwagon effect.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
4.1.16  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.13    8 months ago

Absolutes exist.

"Love is good." "Facism is evil." "Science is wise."

Disagreement with such absolutes is wrong, as surely as "1+1=3" is wrong

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.17  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.15    8 months ago
Opposition movements are, if successful, seeds of the bandwagon effect.

Resistance isn't revolution.  

If anti-fascists completely eliminate everything they deem fascist, what next?  The unifying call for resistance becomes moot.  There isn't anything left to maintain unity.  Someone attempting to use the 'bandwagon effect' only provides fodder for unifying resistance and defiance.

The current political trend seems to be based on the idea that unified resistance and defiance will wipe away established societal norms.  But there isn't a replacement for those societal norms being advocated.  Supposedly that creates a vacuum of opportunity to seize power and impose new norms onto society.  But that is more consistent with the model of organized crime and cartel governance than social reform.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.18  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.16    8 months ago
"Love is good." "Facism is evil." "Science is wise."

"Love is fickle."  "Fascism is dead."  "Science leads from ignorance."

Arbitrary and subjective absolutes are only lies told convincingly.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
4.1.19  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.18    8 months ago
Disagreement with such absolutes is wrong, as surely as "1+1=3" is wrong

Disagreement with such absolutes is wrong, as surely as "1+1=3" is wrong

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.20  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.17    8 months ago
Resistance isn't revolution.  

Bananas are not oranges.     Where does 'revolution' come from?   I did not use that word or anything like it.    From where does this new concept emerge?   This seed is about the bandwagon effect and somehow you wind up declaring that resistance is not revolution.   

If anti-fascists ...

WTF are you talking about?    Now you are on fascism?

The current political trend seems to be based on the idea that unified resistance and defiance will wipe away established societal norms. 

Pretty much what we have seen in history.   

This seed is about the bandwagon effect.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.21  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.20    8 months ago
Bananas are not oranges.     Where does 'revolution' come from?   I did not use that word or anything like it.    From where does this new concept emerge?   This seed is about the bandwagon effect and somehow you wind up declaring that resistance is not revolution. 

Revolution is a bandwagon, isn't it?

WTF are you talking about?    Now you are on fascism?

I am talking about an opposition movement that unifies through resistance and defiance.  That is not a bandwagon.  Resistance and defiance is a declaration that the movement isn't on the bandwagon.  It's resistance to the bandwagon effect.

Pretty much what we have seen in history.    This seed is about the bandwagon effect.

A goal of destruction may provide unity but does not advocate for a bandwagon.  The bandwagon effect is intended to influence public opinion to climb onto the bandwagon.  'Burn it down' may be a unifying rally cry but there isn't a bandwagon.  When everything has been 'burned down' there isn't anything left to rally around.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.22  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.21    8 months ago
Revolution is a bandwagon, isn't it?

The bandwagon effect is a general phenomenon.   That does not mean that everything that could involve the bandwagon effect is what we are discussing.   With that kind of logic I could spin off into a discussion on ant colonies.

It's resistance to the bandwagon effect.

Resistance typically involves the bandwagon effect.   I do not see how any of this is relevant.

The bandwagon effect is intended to influence ...

The bandwagon effect is a phenomenon.   It has no intent.   

This is unfocused nonsense, I am done wasting my time responding to you.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.23  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.19    8 months ago
Disagreement with such absolutes is wrong, as surely as "1+1=3" is wrong

Isn't attempting to dictate anti-fascism rather Fascist?

The biggest problem with resistance movements is that they tend to become what they are resisting.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Replacing Benito Mussolini (or Adolf Hitler) with Mao Tse Tung (or Joseph Stalin) only changes the drapery.  And dictators seem to always view the world in terms of absolutes.  Disagreeing with a dictator's absolutes is always wrong and dissenters are thrown under the dictator's bandwagon.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Expert
4.1.24  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.23    8 months ago
Isn't attempting to dictate anti-fascism rather Fascist?

It might be, if anyone was doing that... but since no one is "attempting to dictate anti-fascism"... your Comment is meaningless.

Replacing Benito Mussolini (or Adolf Hitler) with Mao Tse Tung (or Joseph Stalin) only changes the drapery.

Or Julius Caesar, or Elizabeth I... or whoever... just run a pointless list of names.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.25  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.24    8 months ago
Or Julius Caesar, or Elizabeth I... or whoever... just run a pointless list of names.

Mao and Stalin were anti-fascist.  The Eurocentric attempt at rebuttal is a tell.  I haven't heard any warnings that China and Russia are in danger of becoming Fascist.  Have you?

What happens to the BLM bandwagon post-Chauvin?  After all, the system of justice worked.  How will it be possible to maintain unity through defiance and resistance since the system worked and protesters got what they wanted?  

The Chauvin conviction has created a vacuum.  Will BLM protest because the system worked?  Opportunists will glom on to the tired catch phrase of "more needs to be done" but that is a rather nebulous and obvious attempt to maintain unity without anything specific.  Public influencers will line up a lot of bandwagons and hope that people will get on board.  But the Chauvin conviction has weakened the unity of defiance and resistance.

Those who claim BLM was the result of the 'bandwagon effect' are missing something.  What we are witnessing is more fluid, amorphous, and ill defined.  Advocacy is becoming less effective as a means of gathering people onto a bandwagon.  Influence has become much more individualized; a bandwagon of one really isn't a bandwagon.  The 'bandwagon effect' is evolving into something more akin to a 'skate board effect'.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
4.1.26  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.22    8 months ago
The bandwagon effect is a general phenomenon.   That does not mean that everything that could involve the bandwagon effect is what we are discussing.   With that kind of logic I could spin off into a discussion on ant colonies.

The bandwagon effect is a phenomena of group dynamics.  But maintaining group unity through advocacy is waning.  What we are witnessing is the influence of opposition, defiance, and resistance achieving some sort of group unity rather than advocacy.  And that influence is highly individualized.

It's far easier to influence an individual to oppose something than to agree with what is being advocated.  It's easier to convince an individual to try to knock the wheels off a bandwagon than to convince an individual to climb onto a bandwagon.  Opposition, defiance, and resistance does not require agreement for an advocated goal within the group.  Individuals can believe whatever they want to believe; the unifying appeal for the group is opposition, defiance, and resistance.

A resistance movement can establish a coalition of disparate and often opposing beliefs but that does not create any cohesion within the coalition.  Once opponents have been defeated there isn't anything to hold the coalition together.  There isn't a bandwagon.

The 'bandwagon effect' is only one type of herd mentality.  'Vigilante mobs' is another type of herd mentality.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
5  Hal A. Lujah    8 months ago

Bandwagon leaders are often just reactionary types that gin up a movement based on skimpy information, creating the seed for the bandwagon effect.  Russian trolls use this dynamic very effectively.  People need to be more considerate at weighing the evidence.  A good example of this, imho, is the reaction to the shooting of Duante Wright.  Social justice warriors didn’t bother to look closely at the facts because the act of a cop shooting another black person is so heinous at face value.  When you consider all the facts it becomes clear that it wasn’t a racially motivated crime, it was a tragic accident that came about as the result of repeated and blatant flouting of the law by a guy who was black.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  TᵢG  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @5    8 months ago

And that is why we have bandwagons — too many people are too lazy (stupid?) to do some research, look at the facts and come to a reasoned conclusion.   It is so much easier to just go with the flow:  'they all think this, so it must be true'.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
5.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  TᵢG @5.1    8 months ago
too many people are too lazy (stupid?) to do some research, look at the facts and come to a reasoned conclusion

I find all too often that both are culprits. I tell my children to do their own research before forming an opinion, regularly.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  TᵢG @5.1    8 months ago
too many people are too lazy (stupid?) to do some research, look at the facts and come to a reasoned conclusion. 

And when they do, it usually leads to confirmation bias.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
5.1.3  CB   replied to  TᵢG @5.1    8 months ago

The bandwagon effect or group polarization is a real dilemma at times. Take the Duante Wright case. I clearly see the action/reaction 'issue' there as a complexity. The video shows the young man struggling to get away, ignoring 'commands to stop,' —yet, was in an occasion for the senior officer to render a decision to tase him~resulting in him being shot, and ultimately dying?

The problem in this scenario is its end result: Another black male who does not make it to the jailhouse, as 'judgement' is rendered on the street. What is wrong with policing that keeps black males in fear of arrest in some states?

Is group polarization (band-wagoning) causing the 'rash' of officers to effectively trust police immunity (walk free) more than common-sense?

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
6  evilgenius    8 months ago

The bandwagon effect:

30 Helens agree if you want to remember something write it down.

That's what pens are for.

 
 
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