September 10, 2011

A 10% Minority Can Sway the Majority

Hans Villarica, The Atlantic

AP Photo

How do you topple a tyrant or popularize a foreign cuisine? According to a recent study in the journal Physical Review E, mobilizing an unyielding minority of 10 percent may be enough.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Network Science and Technology Center created and analyzed various models of networks where a minority strived to overtake the majority's opinion. They found that three conditions are key: a majority that is flexible with their views, a minority that is intractable, and a critical threshold wherein about a tenth of the population advocate the minority opinion. They also saw that the time it takes to reach social consensus drops dramatically as the minority grows past this tipping point, a...

Read Full Article ››

TAGGED: Public Opinion, Social Science, Social Psychology, Politics


October 5, 2013
Global Warming Debate Isn't About Science
Dana Nuccitelli, Guardian
The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report states with 95 percent confidence that humans have caused most, and probably all of the rapid global warming over the past 60 years. Approximately 97 percent of... more ››
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” goes the playground rhyme that’s supposed to help children endure taunts from classmates. But a new study suggests that there’s more... more ››
October 9, 2013
On Science, Don't Take Malcolm Gladwell Seriously
Chris Chabris, Slate
I thought he was sincerely misunderstanding the science, but he knows exactly what he is doing. more ››
October 11, 2013
Time to Stop Listening to Malcolm Gladwell?
Alexis Fitts, CJR
In the 13-years since The Tipping Point shot Malcolm Gladwell onto the map and America’s bookshelves, his brand of counter-intuitive wisdom has occupied a strange and relatively stable corner of pop culture. Even though... more ››
October 7, 2013
The Most Dangerous Jargon Viruses
Jag Bhalla , Scientific American
“Rational” is the secular holy. It is a sacred prestigious label in mind work. We look to the rational to save us. Yet some professors of a rational-is-holy faith aren’t being wholly rational. Their sect uses... more ››