2377 People Like this Article: The Influence of Others’ Decisions on Yours


How do people make decisions about their preferences? We examine how others’ opinions affect one’s decisions. In Experiment 1, we found that popular online news stories were not inherently interesting, suggesting that something other than the content of the stories was driving people’s liking of the stories. In Experiments 2 and 3, we manipulated information about how previous readers rated the stories. Participants in Experiment 2 rated the same stories as more or less interesting depending on whether they were told that those stories were rated high or low by others. In Experiment 3, more participants preferred the stories that were actually less popular when they received pseudo-information that more people liked those stories. Taken together, our results suggest that others’ decisions can greatly influence not only people’s decisions but also their actual liking and opinions. Examining how people’s decisions influence and are influenced by others’ decisions can shed light on how trend, culture, and community develop.

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