Can’t make our minds up

Ben Terrett recently noticed that people tend not to believe pedestrian road signs. He also noticed that the larger the group, the longer they took to make their minds up. This rings true for me in more ways than one. From business meetings to elections, larger groups seem to take longer to decide.

Does anyone know of a situation where this isn’t the general rule?

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2 Responses to Can’t make our minds up

  1. Simon says:

    You have an interesting situation whereby when the crowd reaches sufficient size you get a mob with the corresponding mob mentality – at which point decisions happen quicker but less rationally.

    The book “Crowds and Power” by Elias Canetti is good on this, albeit somewhat self conscious in its use of academic language.

  2. Mark Fowler says:

    This is only true as long as everyone in the group seeks to act as part of the group. Often if a member of the group acts on their own, and then the others simply follow (or otherwise react) then the group will react faster than the average individual – it’ll react as fast as the fastest individual. You don’t even need a leader for this to be true – think flocking.

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