Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I like it

The NYtimes reposts on ‘Like’ This Article Online? Your Friends Will Probably Approve, Too, Scientists Say

Apparently research suggests: "If you “like” this article on a site like Facebook, somebody who reads it is more likely to approve of it, even if the reporting and writing are not all that great.

But surprisingly, an unfair negative reaction will not spur others to dislike the article."

And here I thought a weaker version of "Nothing unites more than common enemies" could have been at work... (Not sure who actually said that first...)

The original article is by Lev Muchnik, Sinan Aral and Sean J. Taylor, "Social Influence Bias: A Randomized Experiment" Science 9 August 2013: Vol. 341 no. 6146 pp. 647-651

The abstract is:
"Our society is increasingly relying on the digitized, aggregated opinions of others to make decisions. We therefore designed and analyzed a large-scale randomized experiment on a social news aggregation Web site to investigate whether knowledge of such aggregates distorts decision-making. Prior ratings created significant bias in individual rating behavior, and positive and negative social influences created asymmetric herding effects. Whereas negative social influence inspired users to correct manipulated ratings, positive social influence increased the likelihood of positive ratings by 32% and created accumulating positive herding that increased final ratings by 25% on average. This positive herding was topic-dependent and affected by whether individuals were viewing the opinions of friends or enemies. A mixture of changing opinion and greater turnout under both manipulations together with a natural tendency to up-vote on the site combined to create the herding effects. Such findings will help interpret collective judgment accurately and avoid social influence bias in collective intelligence in the future."

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