Herding Behavior Affects Your Judgment Online

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn the News (from ScienceDaily): A new study co-authored by an MIT professor suggests that many people are, in fact, heavily influenced by the positive opinions other people express online – but are much less swayed by negative opinions posted in the same venues. Certain topics, including politics, see much more of this “herding” effect than others. …

“This herding behavior happens systematically on positive signals of quality and ratings,’ says Sinan Aral, an associate professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and one of three authors of the study. …

“’People are more skeptical of negative social influence,’ Aral says. ‘They’re more likely to ‘correct’ a negative vote and give it a positive vote.’

“While this phenomenon of social positivity sounds pleasant enough on the surface, Aral warns that there are pitfalls to it, such as the manipulation of online ratings by some political operatives, marketers or anyone who stands to profit by creating an exaggerated appearance of popularity. …

“In turn, Aral suggests, we should be as analytical as possible when it comes to harnessing collective judgments.

“’We have to be careful about the design and analysis of systems that try to aggregate the wisdom of crowds,’ Aral says.”

My Comment: So, even though the wisdom of crowds is closer to the truth, but in an egoistic space, no one can be sure that this option is not used by selfish individualists, and we should not trust this indicator on the Internet until we correct egoism and get rid of cheaters.

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