Cover image for Copycats & contrarians : why we follow others ... and when we don't / Michelle Baddeley.
Title:
Copycats & contrarians : why we follow others ... and when we don't / Michelle Baddeley.
Title Variants:
Copycats and contrarians
ISBN:
9780300220223
Publication Information:
New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
313 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents:
Introduction -- Clever copying -- Mob psychology -- Herding on the brain -- Animal herds -- Mavericks -- Entrepreneurs versus speculators -- Herding experts -- Following the leader -- Conclusion : copycats versus contrarians.
Abstract:
A multidisciplinary exploration of our human inclination to herd and why our instinct to copy others can be dangerous in today's interlinked world Rioting teenagers, tumbling stock markets, and the spread of religious terrorism appear to have little in common, but all are driven by the same basic instincts: the tendency to herd, follow, and imitate others. In today's interconnected world, group choices all too often seem maladaptive. With unprecedented speed, information flashes across the globe and drives rapid shifts in group opinion. Adverse results can include speculative economic bubbles, irrational denigration of scientists and other experts, seismic political reversals, and more. Drawing on insights from across the social, behavioral, and natural sciences, Michelle Baddeley explores contexts in which behavior is driven by the herd. She analyzes the rational vs. nonrational and cognitive vs. emotional forces involved, and she investigates why herding only sometimes works out well. With new perspectives on followers, leaders, and the pros and cons of herd behavior, Baddeley shines vivid light on human behavior in the context of our ever-more-connected world.
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Summary

Summary

A multidisciplinary exploration of our human inclination to herd and why our instinct to copy others can be dangerous in today's interlinked world

Rioting teenagers, tumbling stock markets, and the spread of religious terrorism appear to have little in common, but all are driven by the same basic instincts: the tendency to herd, follow, and imitate others. In today's interconnected world, group choices all too often seem maladaptive. With unprecedented speed, information flashes across the globe and drives rapid shifts in group opinion. Adverse results can include speculative economic bubbles, irrational denigration of scientists and other experts, seismic political reversals, and more.

Drawing on insights from across the social, behavioral, and natural sciences, Michelle Baddeley explores contexts in which behavior is driven by the herd. She analyzes the rational vs. nonrational and cognitive vs. emotional forces involved, and she investigates why herding only sometimes works out well. With new perspectives on followers, leaders, and the pros and cons of herd behavior, Baddeley shines vivid light on human behavior in the context of our ever-more-connected world.


Author Notes

Michelle Baddeley is a research professor at the Institute for Choice, University of South Australia. This will be her fifth book.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Economics professor Baddeley employs a multidisciplinary approach to tackling a key question about human behavior-why do some people go with the flow, and others buck societal conventions? In easy-to-understand prose, replete with accessible anecdotes (Baddeley opens with the mass outpouring of grief following the death of Princess Diana as an illustration of people's "strong instincts to copy and conform"), she examines how economists, such as Italian polymath Vilfredo Pareto, "link their assumptions about our capacity for rational choice with human social behavior." But she moves beyond economics to incorporate recent discoveries in neuroscience and psychology, arriving at nuanced answers; for example, not all conformity is bad, and there are "rational reasons to... look to the group, to copy and to herd." Baddeley is a forceful advocate for the value of contrarians, and urges societies to make it easier for their members to take risks in advancing new ideas or theories. Her observations on how both risk-taking and conformism contributed to Donald Trump's election, and on how social media affects "copycats," make for a well-timed and valuable study. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Clever copyingp. 11
2 Mob psychologyp. 41
3 Herding on the brainp. 72
4 Animal herdsp. 97
5 Mavericksp. 128
6 Entrepreneurs versus speculatorsp. 153
7 Herding expertsp. 187
8 Following the leaderp. 218
Conclusion: Copycats versus contrariansp. 258
Endnotesp. 267
Further readingp. 293
Acknowledgementsp. 299
Illustration creditsp. 301
Indexp. 302