Skip down to main content

Social information and voting

Published on
18 May 2015
Written by
Helen Margetts

A key feature of many online platforms is social information, which is information about what other people are doing. We recreated this form of social influence in an experiment we conducted at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. A description of the experiment and preliminary results are reported in the blog post linked below.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our experiment on the effects social information in the Gillray ‘Love Bites’ exhibition on Friday night. Here we explain the background to the experiment, and present the results.

Research shows that when we know that other people like something, it makes us more likely to like it too. This ‘social information’ about other people’s preferences plays a role in all kinds of social and political behaviour; for example, the (as it turned out, wrong) opinion polls are likely to have influenced how we voted in the general election. Now that we all spend so much of our time on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, we are bombarded continually with this kind of information about what other people like, share, follow, support or view. So understanding how this information affects how we think and what we do is especially important in the age of social media. An experiment of the kind we ran in the Gillray exhibition at the LiveFriday event at the Ashmolean museum on May 12th is a good way to work out the effect of different kinds of social information.…Read more

Read the more and see the results at:

Related Topics