Journal Article

Extremism and Social Learning

Edward L. Glaeser and Cass R. Sunstein

in Journal of Legal Analysis

Published on behalf of The John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics and Business at Harvard Law School with the support of the Considine Family Foundation

Volume 1, issue 1, pages 263-324
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 2161-7201
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1946-5319 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4159/jla.v1i1.10
Extremism and Social Learning

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

When members of deliberating groups speak with one another, their predeliberation tendencies often become exacerbated as their views become more extreme. The resulting phenomenon — group polarization — has been observed in many settings, and it bears on the actions of juries, administrative tribunals, corporate boards, and other institutions. Polarization can result from rational Bayesian updating by group members, but in many contexts, this rational interpretation of polarization seems implausible. We argue that people are better seen as Credulous Bayesians, who insufficiently adjust for idiosyncratic features of particular environments and put excessive weight on the statements of others in situations of (1) common sources of information; (2) highly unrepresentative group membership; (3) statements that are made to obtain approval; and (4) statements that are designed to manipulate. Credulous Bayesianism can produce extremism and significant blunders — the folly of crowds. We discuss the implications of Credulous Bayesianism for law and politics, including media policy and cognitive diversity on administrative agencies and courts.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.