General, Research, Technology

Why do large groups of people often come to the same conclusions?

Since the planet is home to nearly eightbillions of people, large groups of people everywhere. Not surprisingly, researchers have long wanted to understand why large groups of strangers living on different continents often come to the same conclusions. Scientists note that in an attempt to comprehend the world around and simplify it, representatives of the species Homo sapiens organize categories by naming them - "circle", "tree", "stone", etc. Interestingly, there is a strange pattern between the most different cultures - even if we come from different places and live in different conditions, almost all world cultures develop basically the same categories, which baffles researchers. If people are so different, why do anthropologists find the same categories, for example, for shapes, colors, and emotions that arise independently in many different cultures? Where do these categories come from and why are there such great similarities between independent populations?

Large groups of people tend to come to the same conclusions, scientists have found.

Large and small groups

Imagine giving the sameworks of art to two different groups of people and asked them to curate an art exhibition. Art is radical and new. Both groups did not overlap or talk to each other, organizing and planning all the stands independently. And imagine your surprise on the day of the premiere when you saw that both art exhibitions are almost identical. How did both groups classify and organize the exhibit in the same way if their members had never seen each other?

Some researchers suggest that the presencegeneral categories is something innate and pre-embedded in the brain, but the results of a new study disprove such assumptions. The authors of the paper published in the journal Nature Communications believe that such categorization is more related to the dynamics of large groups or networks.

New research confirms the existence of a special kind of groupthink in large groups. Large groups of people everywhere tend to come to the same conclusions.

To understand why this is happening, researchersdistributed 1,480 subjects into groups of different sizes, ranging from 1 to 50 people, and then asked them to play an online game in which they were shown unfamiliar shapes, which they then had to classify in a meaningful way. All the small groups have come up with completely different ways of classifying shapes. But when large groups were left on their own, each of them independently came up with an almost identical system of categories.

“Despite the fact that we predicted similarresults, I was stunned to see that it actually happened. The findings challenge many of the longstanding beliefs about culture and how it is shaped, ”says Damon Centola in an interview with Big Think. It is also interesting that this unanimity was not the result of a union of like-minded people. In total, during the study, about 5000 categories were proposed.

It follows from the results obtained that ifsend a person to a small group, she is much more likely to come to a category system that is very distinctive and specific to all participants. But if the same person is sent to a large group, then one can predict the system of categories that the group will eventually create, regardless of what unique point of view this particular person shares.

For even more fascinating articles on how we make decisions and why you need to check information, read our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site.

Beyond categories

It is interesting that the conclusions reached during the newstudies are consistent with existing data. Moreover, the findings raise at least one interesting question: Will categorization decisions made by large groups of people be less likely to fall prey to individual bias? One current study includes content moderation on Facebook and Twitter. The researchers wanted to understand if the process of categorizing free speech (and therefore what should be allowed and what should be prohibited) could be improved if such content is posted in groups rather than on individual user pages.

It turns out that when we gather in large groups, we tend to make identical decisions and come to the same conclusion.

See also: Why do people love animals more than other people?

The authors of another scientific work are studyinguse of networking between doctors and other healthcare professionals. This is to reduce the likelihood of misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment being prescribed due to prejudice or bias, such as racism or sexism.

“Many of the worst social problems are reappear in every culture, the authors of the study note, which leads some to believe that these problems are inherent in human society and condition. Our work shows that these problems are inherent in the social experience of people, and not necessarily in the people themselves. If we can change this social experience, we can change the way people deal with some of the world's greatest problems. ”