Tipping Point: 25 Percent

June 14, 2018

i read an interesting article which contains an item of information related to social change. The question is, “When does social change occur?”

Research Finds Tipping Point for Large-scale Social Change” is 25 percent of a population. The source of the datum is research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The write up reports:

Acknowledging that real-life situations can be much more complicated, the authors’ model allows for the exact 25% tipping point number to change based on circumstances. Memory length is a key variable, and relates to how entrenched a belief or behavior is.

The article quotes the study director as saying:

“Our findings present a stark contrast to centuries of thinking about social change in classical economics, in which economists typically think a majority of activists is needed to change a population’s norms,” says Centola [key researcher]. “The classical model, called equilibrium stability analysis, would dictate that 51% or more is needed to initiate real social change. We found, both theoretically and experimentally, that a much smaller fraction of the population can effectively do this.”

The datum, if accurate, suggests that Cambridge Analytic-type activities could have considerable influence.

Stephen E Arnold, June 14, 2018


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