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Are you falling victim to the bandwagon effect?

April 5th, 2017 2 comments

Do you ever find yourself wondering what clothing to buy? What TV series or movie to watch? Or even where to eat? These are common dilemmas all of us run into on a daily basis. If you selected the movie or item that had the most stars or likes attributed to it or the majority of people chose it previously, then you may be falling victim to ‘the bandwagon effect’.

The ultimate decision – which one do you choose and why?

Everyday people are making decisions of various levels of importance, however few stop to seriously analyse and understand the underlying cognitive processes involved. Often decisions are influenced by a phenomenon called the ‘bandwagon effect’ whether this occurs consciously or unconsciously. Bandwagon effect is the idea that people align with or follow the opinions, beliefs and/or actions the majority of the population follows. An example of this phenomenon is illustrated in a study conducted by Sundar, Knobloch-Westerwick and Hastall (2007). When people were given a choice between reading an article recommended by a journalist, website or by crowd support, people were more inclined to choose the crowd option. This is despite the journalist being an acknowledged expert in the particular field. 

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