Monday, August 08, 2011

How A Small Minority Can Change The World

Photo Credit: garryknight
It has been said that it only takes a small group of committed individuals to start a movement that can change the world. There is now some research that seems to back this up.

From Emily Sohn on
"To change the beliefs of an entire community, only 10 percent of the population needs to become convinced of a new or different opinion, suggests a new study done at the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At that tipping point, the idea can spread through social networks and alter behaviors on a large scale.

The research is still in its early stages, and it's uncertain if the results will apply to all kinds of beliefs, particularly in tense political situations.

But the findings do provide insight into how opinions spread through communities. The model may also help experts more effectively quell misconceptions and influence the choices people make about public health behaviors and related issues.

"This is really a starting point to understand how you can cause fast change in a population," said Sameet Sreenivasan, a statistical physicist and one of the co-authors of the study which included two graduate students and three senior faculty.

"The real world has a lot more complexity, obviously," he added. "But one of the things you can take away is that if you want to cause a fast change, there is an upper bound to how many people really need to commit."
To read the rest of the article please click here.

(h/t to Phil Cooke for the link)

No comments: