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Universal models

In this video we will see how the same model can be used for investigating different processes, provided they share the same underlying mechanisms.
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ANIA BACZKO-DOMBI What do going to a protest, following a fashion for having a beard, and the decision of going to a party have in common? At first glance, these are totally different situations. However, all the situations have a similar structure. Let’s have a closer look. Think about any fashion. It doesn’t have to be a fashion for growing a beard. People follow the fashion when they see enough other people who wear or do something. Some of us are very sensitive to new trends. It’s enough if one of our friends has a trendy new beard. And we’ll stop buying razors. Other ones need to wait until almost everybody follows the new trend. Try to imagine it in the language of threshold.
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A person, who is more eager to follow new trends, would have a lower threshold just like the people more willing to protest. What about higher thresholds? An example would be the ones who would only wear a new shape of glasses when they see a lot of other people who already wear them. And some would never follow the crowd. And that can be described by extremely high thresholds. Let’s think about another situation, a party. Some of us will go to a party even if none of our close friends are going. Another one will think, OK, I can go if I have at least one familiar person to talk to.
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And of course there are people who have a very high priority threshold and will go only to those parties where they know everybody will go there. Those examples show that models can also be applicable to a wide array of settings, which we call Universality of Models. A subject of the model is not so important as a Core Mechanism. If processes, that may look different at first glance, in fact work in a similar manner, we can apply the same model even across different settings. If so, then we can apply our observations related to our protest example to other situations with similar basic structure.
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For example, in case of demonstrations, we have to pay attention to initiators and the size of the early-goer group. The same goes for fashion. The role of trendsetters is similar extremely important.

In this video we will see how the same model can be used for investigating different processes provided they share the same underlying mechanism. In short, we will be discussing the universal nature of models.

What are other social processes where the more people do something the more we are prone to do it too (similar to the underlying mechanism described in the video and in the previous steps)?

Could you please name and describe one or more of such processes that come to mind? Please share with other learners and find out which examples they came up with.

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People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics

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