A mathematician has calculated how peer pressure influences society.
Professor Ernesto Estrada, of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, examined the effect of direct and indirect social influences — otherwise known as peer pressure — on how decisions are reached on important issues. Using mathematical models, he analysed data taken from 15 networks — including US school superintendents and Brazilian farmers — to outline peer pressure’s crucial role in society.
Professor Estrada said: “Our modern society is a highly-interconnected one — and social groups have become ever-more interconnected as time has progressed, with the evolution from the cavemen to today’s technology-driven society.
“Reaching consensus about vital topics — such as global warming, the cost of health care and insurance systems, and healthy habits — is crucial for the evolution of our society.
“That is why the study of consensus has attracted the attention of scholars in a variety of disciplines, ranging from social to natural sciences, who have documented examples of peer pressure’s influence on popular cultural styles — such as changing fashions over time and the behavior of crowds at football matches — as well as collective decision-making, and even pedestrians’ walking behavior.”
Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education