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Social proof

We copy other people’s behavior, especially people like us

When people are unsure about how they should act or feel, they observe the people around them. This is known as social proof. Research shows that when we observe others, our brains simulate what they are feeling.1

Not all social proof is conscious. As much research shows, we are also subconsciously influenced by the actions of others. We often change our behavior based on what people are doing around us, but don’t realize that we’re being influenced. For example, people sitting next to heavy eaters eat more. People dining alone eat less than people eating in groups. People eating with one other person eat 35 percent more than what they eat at home. People eating in a party of four eat 75 percent more.2 If your friends are happy, you’re more likely to be happy. If they smoke, you’re more likely to smoke. If they are lonely, you’re more likely to be lonely. Students who live with studious roommates tend to study more.3 People are more likely to buy computers in areas where a lot of other people already own computers.4 People buy cars based on what others around them are driving, regardless of their demographics.5


  

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