The sense of social influence: pluralistic ignorance in climate change

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Indeed, our collective failure to comprehensively respond to climate change is not the only issue that appears in conflict with a broad scientific consensus. For example, recent studies show that a growing number of parents are applying for exemptions due to social pressure from other parents with strong anti‐vaccine sentiments, despite the fact that routine childhood vaccines save thousands of lives every year [see Oraby, Thampi & Bauch (2014), recommended reading]. It is easy to dismiss such behaviors as irrational. However as C. T. Bauch, one of the researchers of the quoted study, notes: “Our research suggests that health officials need to have a really good understanding of the social context to better understand vaccine scares and why people refuse vaccines”. Reason and rationality are not the only driving forces for understanding collective attitudes and groupthink. We also need to consider aspects such as social pressure and the sense of social influence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018

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