Thursday 21 February 2019

Pluralistic Ignorance

Pluralistic ignorance is the discrepancy between one's private beliefs and one's public behaviour in certain situations. In other words, people have a certain attitude to something and act contrary to it because they go along with the mistakenly presumed opinion of the peer group. The term was coined by Katz and Allport in 1931 when studying white students' attitudes to the admission of black students to fraternities and dormitories (Bjerring et al., 2014). Seven social comparison errors play a major role: false consensus, exclusivity bias, group polarisation, vocal minority, third-person effect, spiral of silence, and social identity (Mendes et al., 2017).

"Katz and Allport (1931) reported on findings from an extensive study of students, which showed that while each individual student did not have any objection to minorities being admitted to fraternities and dormitories, each student also seemingly believed that other students might object to such admissions (O’Gorman, 1986; Halbesleben and Buckley, 2004)."
Bjerring, Hansen & Pedersen (2014)

"The particular example reported by Katz and Allport was their finding that while a majority of Syracuse fraternity members favored the inclusion of racial minorities in fraternities, at the same time they felt that this represented a minority position among fraternity members. Several other studies have found instances where liberal attitudes on racial integration, e.g., inter-racial adoption (Fricke, 1965) and residential desegregation (Lenihan, 1965), were held by a majority of respondents who presumed that the attitude was a minority one."
Korte (1972:576)

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- Bjerring, J. C., Hansen, J. U. & Pedersen, N. J. L. L. (2014). On the rationality of pluaralistic ignorance. Synthese, 191(11)link
- Korte, C. (1972). Pluralistic Ignorance About Student Radicalism. Sociometry, 35(4), 576-587.
- Mendes, A., Lopez-Valeiras, E. & Lunkes, R. J. (2017). Pluralistic ignorance: Conceptual framework, antecedents and consequences. Intangible Capital, 13(4), link
- photograph (Brest, 1972) by Luigi Ghirri (1943-1992) via