Think Design : Social Proof

Update: Wow, apparently this article is one of the most read posts on the VFS Arcade!

GTA V just came out. Tons of people will buy it. New console launches are happening within the next few months. If you’re anything like me, and I think most gamers, you will feel compelled to buy most or all of these things as soon as you can. Why? Because of something called Social Proof. (Admittedly, the force of In-Group Out-Group Bias is also at play here, but we’ll leave that for a future post.)

Will anyone not buy this game?

Social Proof says that we tend to do what others are doing. Further, it says that as more people do something, it becomes increasingly likely that we will do that same thing. For example, imagine you go out to dinner with some friends. If someone puts her napkin in her lap, you might ignore it. If a few other people at the table decide to put their napkin in their laps, you will feel very tempted to follow suit. If everyone else has done it, you will almost certainly put your napkin in your lap. And at the end of the meal, if they all order dessert, you will be more likely to do so, even if you feel full. Read More