Plural ignorance

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Plural ignorance or pluralistic ignorance is a term which gives a name to a situation where a majority of group members privately reject a norm, but at the same time, they assume incorrectly that most others accept it.[1] The term describes a context in which "no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes."[2]

A context of plural ignorance can be caused by the structure of the underlying social network.[3]

A situation of plural ignorance develops when each individual decision-maker in a group of decision-makers does not have the necessary information to solve a problem.[4]

History[change | edit source]

The term pluralistic ignorance was coined by Daniel Katz and Floyd H. Allport in 1931.[1]

Plural ignorance may partially explain why people are more likely to intervene in an emergency situation when alone than when other persons are present.[5] If people monitor the reactions of others in such a situation, they may conclude from the inaction of others that other people think that it is not necessary to act.

Related pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cram 101. (2012). e-Study Guide for: Social Psychology by Elliot Aronson, p. 148; citing Daniel Katz and Floyd H. Allport. (1931). Students' Attitudes: A Report of the Syracuse University Reaction Study, pp. 152-153.
  2. Centola, Damon, Robb Willer, and Michael Macy. 2005. "The Emperor’s Dilemma: A Computational Model of Self-Enforcing Norms," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 110, No 4 (January 2005), pp. 1009–1040; retrieved 2013-3-1.
  3. Kitts, James A. "Egocentric Bias or Information Management? Selective Disclosure and the Social Roots of Norm Misperception," Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 3 (September 2003), pp. 222-237; retrieved 2013-3-1.
  4. Henricks, Vincent F. and Pelle G. Hansen. (2011). Oplysningens blinde vinkler (Enlightenment blind spots), p. 17.
  5. Baumeister, Roy F. and Brad J. Bushman. (2010). Social Psychology and Human Nature, p. 280.