Human group behavior

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human nature: human group behavior


Humans in groups often display certain patterns of behavior which must be understood in order to maintain group rationality (and, conversely, to prevent others who do understand those patterns from manipulating such groups to their own ends). Many of these behaviors are ultimately grounded in individual rationality and yet result in group behavior which may seem counter-intuitive or at least non-obvious.

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  • evaporative extremism: moderates tend to "evaporate" from a group as extremists gain more control, leading to a positive feedback loop which pushes the group further and further towards extremes. (Obviously there must be some opposing force at work in some cases, otherwise we would have no moderate groups at all. Perhaps certain methods of organizing groups work against this tendency?)
    • 2007-12-07 Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs gets the metaphor a little backwards; if "hot" is a metaphor for extremism, then it's actually "evaporative heating", because the "cooler" elements are the ones who tend to "evaporate" (unlike physical matter, where the opposite is true).
  • mob psychology