Extremism and Social Learning
When members of deliberating groups speak with one another, their predeliberation tendencies often become exacerbated as their views become more extreme. The resulting phenomenon -- group polarization -- has been observed in many settings, and it bears on the actions of juries, administrative tribunals, corporate boards, and other institutions. Polarization can result from rational Bayesian updating by group members, but in many contexts, this rational interpretation of polarization seems implausible. We argue that people are better seen as Credulous Bayesians, who insufficiently adjust for idiosyncratic features of particular environments and put excessive weight on the statements of others where there are 1) common sources of information; 2) highly unrepresentative group membership; 3) statements that are made to obtain approval; and 4) statements that are designed to manipulate. Credulous Bayesianism can produce extremism and significant blunders. We discuss the implications of Credulous Bayesianism for law and politics, including media policy and cognitive diversity on administrative agencies and courts.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Legal Analysis (Winter 2009) 1 (1): 263-324. doi: 10.4159/jla.v1i1.10|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Glaeser, Edward L. & Ward, Bryce A., 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Working Paper Series rwp06-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bryce A. Ward, 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2100, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Stephen Morris, 2001.
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
- Edward L. Glaeser, 2004.
"Psychology and the Market,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 408-413, May.
- Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2006.
"Coarse Thinking and Persuasion,"
NBER Working Papers
12720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bryce A. Ward, 2006. "Myths and Realities of American Political Geography," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 119-144, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13687. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.