Every email, every blog, every website, every post, every conversation, every independent media outlet broadcasting the truth is a massively powerful influence towards turning the tide in the perception of our world and hence its actual operation. It happens one seemingly small act at a time, but it’s spreading like wildfire, in spite of the doubts of naysayers and and even alternative cynics.
Doubt is akin to fear, and its end result is apathy; i.e. disempowerment and inaction. It’s similar to one of the biggest lies ever perpetrated in the heart of mankind. “After all, what can little me do to make any kind of difference that matters? I’m just one little person.”
Researchers have discovered a very powerful dynamic in our social milieu, something we know in our hearts to be true but sometimes it’s good to have it affirmed by so-called scientific evidence.
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals.
“When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority,” says Boleslaw Szymanski, a professor at Rensselaer and director of its Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC). “Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame.”
“In general, people do not like to have an unpopular opinion and are always seeking to try locally to come to consensus. We set up this dynamic in each of our models,” says Sameet Sreenivasan, a research associate at SCNARC. “People begin to question their own views at first and then completely adopt the new view to spread it even further.”