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Power in numbers? Not so when it comes to changing the mainstream

City workers crossing London Bridge during rush-hour, 1987. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Keystone/Getty Images
City workers crossing London Bridge during rush-hour, 1987.

A new study published last month in the journal, Science, looked at the power of minorities in shifting conventional thinking.

A new study published last month in the journal, Science, looked at the power of minorities in shifting conventional thinking.

With movements like #MeToo, we have seen how minority views can influence majority ones. So how many people does it take to start a revolution? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania conducted an online experiment to evaluate how small groups committed to a cause can impact and overturn established social norms in a population. The result – only 25 percent contrarians were needed in order to “convert” anywhere from 72 to 100 percent of the population of their respective groups.

According to the study, prior to the influence of the minority, the population had been in 100 percent agreement about their original position.

Damon Centola, lead author of the study talks to Larry about the tipping point at which minority groups can reverse a majority viewpoint.

Guest:

Damon Centola, lead author of a study on the power of minorities to shift conventional thinking published last month in the journal, Science; associate professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania whose research looks at how social networks impact human behaviors

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