Pointing and Gawking

Posted by on Dec 18, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments

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Was looking up something for a mate last night and stumbled across the correct reference to the famous "skypointing" or "Pointing and Gawking" experiment of Stanley Milgrim et al (c/o Humanfactor UI)

The point of the experiment was to understand the parameters of social influence around a specific, public behaviour. The researchers chose a street corner and observed how folk responded to differing numbers of stooges, standing & pointing at a 6th floor for just 60 seconds (hence the name).

40% of passersby checked what a single stooge was looking at; the number rose to 85% when 15 stooges are involved.

For me, not only does this illustrate the power of social influence brilliantly (heuristic no.1 = do what the others are doing) but also how we outsource cognitive weight to others (the guy pointing must know something I don't, eh? )

Go here to do paid download if you want it

Or, if you're more patient than me, you could scour t'web for a free download of:

Milgram, S., Bickman, L, Berkowitz L. (1969), "Note on the Drawing Power of Crowds of Different Size," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 13(1), 79-82

Now, what are those guys over there up to…?