blog 8 pluralistic ignorance

Oops We Did it Again

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In Clive Thompson’s book, Smarter Than You Think, the chapter on The Connected Society explores the concept of pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance occurs when people’s beliefs about public opinion make them alter their own behavior. It reminds me of a bizarre case that happened back in the 1960’s. Thirty-eight people witnessed a woman, Kitty Genovese be attacked and stabbed by a man in front of her apartment. And not a single one of them called the police. They all believed that somebody else would do it and in doing so something truly horrible happened.