Social contagion or human's copycat behavior

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Social contagion is a social psychology phenomenon which is described as the imitative behaviors of human being when the moods are spread from person to person. This social behavior is popular that there have been many sociological and psychological researches on the contagion of human's moods and behaviors.
During the first few decades of the 20th century, many sociologists began to create a sociograms that illustrate the maps of social network between people in the same cycle of friends or workplace. The Austrian sociologist Jacob Moreno discovered that the shape of
social connection vary by person. By examine the way talks and opinions flow in a particular environment, scientists noticed that social networks could affect people's thoughts and behaviors.
So, why does that happen? why do people start to think alike people around them?
One possible explanation lays in the evolution of human beings that mimicry is innate and it is closely related to evolutionary heritage. Organisms mimic the other types because of its adaptive advantages. Mimicry can help increasing the survival rates of a organism.
This explains why popularity is contagious.
Another possible explanation is the conformity of being the same as people around. Conformity introduces a secure feelings for individuals of a group and thus increase the chance of being similar in thoughts and behaviors.
"Buying, laughing, yawning and graffiti are all socially contagious. Now research says obesity is too. This has nothing to do with the power of suggestion or keeping up with the Joneses. To be influenced by others is genetically programmed in us and is an evolutionary hangover." - R. Alexander Bentley, Mark Earls and Michael J. O'Brien, I'll Have What She's Having: Mapping Social Behavior
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It is interesting how we humans almost take on a heard instinct. We definitely are programed as social creatures. I had never heard about any research that suggested we could be genetically affected to be influenced by others. I had always known that it was in us from the beginning simply by observing babies and their mothers. I will be interesting as genetics progresses further to find to see if there are specific gene that affect this.

I think this is a very interesting phenomenon. I think the conformity that occurs could be both conscious and unconscious. Although we conform to many things without thinking about it (like yawning), there could be a few causes of conformity to graffiti. Some may do it because they see their friends doing it and it seems like a fun activity. Others may be pressured by their friends to conform. While we do some things rather innately, many of our actions are done so to please people or to feel more accepted by certain people.

I thought you did a really nice job on this blog! This is a very interesting topic and when we were studying conformity in class, it was really interesting that people didn't want to be the only one with a certain answer or be the only one in the elevator to be faced a certain direction. I think that everyone wants to fit into some kind of group and they will do whatever it takes to fit in, even if it means changing their beliefs.

This is a very interesting subject and I think you did an excellent job describing the arguments within it. I agree with the fact that copying others behaviors is definitely innate. Copying is probably what allowed us to evolve as a species. The knowledge of utilizing fire and tools had to spread somehow and it was definitely through copying.

I really like this subject. It is interesting to see how we conform as a society yet value individualism so much. I like you r different explanations on why this may be happening. It is interesting to make this connection in your head and then see it happen everyday. People conform even to the slightest of things when a majority is doing it.

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This page contains a single entry by lexxx417 published on April 23, 2012 6:42 PM.

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