Thursday, January 19, 2012

Princeton Study Finds Uninformed Participants Tend To Side With Majority

Here's an interesting point taken from the Princeton Bulletin today:

• "A Princeton-based research team found that uninformed individuals — as in
those with no prior knowledge or strong feelings on a situation’s outcome — can
actually be vital to achieving a democratic consensus. These individuals tend to
side with and embolden the numerical majority and dilute the influence of powerful
minority factions who would otherwise dominate everyone else. This finding
— based on group decision-making experiments on fish, as well as mathematical
models and computer simulations — challenges the common notion that
an outspoken minority can manipulate uncommitted voters and can ultimately
provide insights into humans’ political behavior. The research team was led by
Iain Couzin, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology."

The uninformed tend to side with the majority, rather than being manipulated by an outspoken minority. I find this news very reassuring and forgiving, whether it reflects another era, or today's divisive rule from Washington.

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