Applications of Social Information Theory


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This was a presentation I gave for SI 544: Theories of Social Influence with Malcolm Jackson, Kyongho Kim, and Erin Stratos. We applied psychological social information theories to design applications in eCommerce and online communities. We also looked at how knowledge of these theories can help managers structure brainstorming sessions to overcome the negative implications of social information.

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Applications of Social Information Theory

  1. 1. Social Information (psychology)by: Malcolm Jackson, Kyongho Kim, Kenny Rosenberg, & Erin Stratos
  2. 2. Asch 1956● Even obviously incorrect judgments from the majority influenced individuals● This effect was strong and hard to counteract
  3. 3. Group Influence on Individual Judgment● Normative Influence: Information about what the expectations are in a given situation● Informational Influence: Counting others opinions as evidence in making a judgment -Deutsch and Gerard
  4. 4. Using Normative and Informational Influence What use can be made of this effect? Getting a desired behavior performed How can we induce it to get that?
  5. 5. Design Application: Ranking- Expose otherpurchasers decisions.Ranking helps users makedecisions when purchasingproducts but at the same time, itinfluences on the distortion ofusers own decision if they havetheir own.
  6. 6. Design Application: Customer ReviewsMost e-commerce website shows the customer reviews showing howmany people and how much they like it. It can influence customerschoices even when they already made their decisions before readingthe reviews. The worse reviews, the less sales.
  7. 7. Design Application: Group opinionsFacebook - Event Going- Show other membersopinions
  8. 8. Design Application: Group opinionsFacebook - Event Going- Show other membersopinionsHow to increasenormative socialinfluence?
  9. 9. Design Application: Group opinionsFacebook - Event Going- Show other membersopinionsHow to increasenormative socialinfluence?- automatically opt usersinto events
  10. 10. The Majority Opinion Effect: ● Increases error ● Is persistent ● Creates self-doubt and fear
  11. 11. Aschs Post-Study Interviews "... at first I thought I was right, then I became convinced that the other seven couldnt be wrong.""They might feel I was just trying to be out of the ordinary ... they might think it was stubborn of me." "I was standing out as a sore thumb."
  12. 12. What to do?"Unless groups encourage their members to express their own, independent judgments, group consensus is likely to be an empty achievement." - Deutsch & Gerard
  13. 13. Management Application:Brainstorming● Traditional meetings ○ Agenda Items ○ Experts ○ Stakeholders● Issues ○ Lack of participation ○ Difficult for minority opinion to be heard
  14. 14. Management Application:Brainstorming● Brainstorming instead of meetings ○ Many creative ideas ○ Build on ideas● Risks ○ Free riding ○ Early consensus on an idea ○ Evaluation apprehension ○ Difficulty generating new ideas
  15. 15. Management Application:BrainstormingRecommendations:● Hold brainstorm without experts and managers● If not, ask them to be observers● Ask participants to prepare ideas independently● Break out into groups● Be flexible and choose methods wisely
  16. 16. What Weve Learned: Pressure from the majority is strong.We can take advantage of this, for good or evil. Or we can work against it! We have to be creative in our solutions.
  17. 17. fin.