Social Sampling and Expressed Attitudes: Authenticity Preference and Social Extremeness Aversion Lead to Social Norm Effects and Polarization

Gordon D. A. Brown*, Stephan Lewandowsky, Zhihong Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A cognitive model of social influence (Social Sampling Theory: SST) is developed and applied to several social network phenomena including polarization and contagion effects. Social norms and individuals’ private attitudes are represented as distributions rather than the single points used in most models. SST is explored using agent-based modeling to link individual-level and network-level effects. People are assumed to observe the behavior of their social network neighbors and thereby infer the social distribution of particular attitudes and behaviors. It is assumed that (a) people dislike behaving in ways that are extreme within their neighborhood social norm (social extremeness aversion assumption), and hence tend to conform and (b) people prefer to
behave consistently with their own underlying attitudes (authenticity preference
assumption) hence minimizing dissonance. Expressed attitudes and behavior reflect a utility-maximizing compromise between these opposing principles. SST is applied to a number of social phenomena including (a) homophily and the development of segregated neighborhoods, (b) polarization, (c) effects of norm homogeneity on social conformity, (d) pluralistic ignorance and false consensus effects, (e) backfire effects, (f) interactions between world view and social norm effects, and (g) the opposing effects on subjective well-being of authentic behavior and high levels of social comparison. More generally, it is argued that explanations of social comparison require the variance, not just the central tendency, of both attitudes and beliefs about social norms to be accommodated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-48
Number of pages31
JournalPsychological Review
Volume129
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Structured keywords

  • TeDCog

Keywords

  • polarization
  • social comparison
  • agent-based model
  • decision by sampling
  • social contagion

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Social Sampling and Expressed Attitudes: Authenticity Preference and Social Extremeness Aversion Lead to Social Norm Effects and Polarization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this