Mathematician Calculates Influence of Peer Pressure

influence of peer pressureWe used to think of peer pressure in abstract terms, but a mathematician has successfully calculated the influence of peer pressure on society in general, ScienceDaily reports.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Professor Ernesto Estrada of the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics made use of mathematical models to analyse data from 15 networks and effectively identify the role of peer pressure in society.

Direct and indirect peer pressure

Prof. Estrada’s study reveals that the decisions we make on a daily basis is influenced by both direct and indirect peer pressure working together. Everything begins when a certain group and its leader agree on a certain issue or on which certain stuff is popular. A member of that group who may have not decided anything yet could feel pressure from his or peers to be of the same mind too. Then again, that same person may also experience indirect peer pressure from people they may not have any direct association with.

Let’s say for instance that the group that person belongs to all love to use social media and is pressuring everyone to do the same. That is direct peer pressure. A person who doesn’t have a Twitter or a Facebook account, however, may be pushed into signing up when they find that celebrities, political figures and other famous people are using social media too. This kind of indirect peer pressure, according to Professor Estrada, “could make the difference in that individual to copy a given attitude.”

The good thing about Professor Estrada’s work is that he has clearly illustrated how peer pressure works on us and our children as well. I never even knew there was such a thing as direct and indirect peer pressure, as I just tended to lump them together in one category. With this study, Professor Estrada gives us a clearer understanding of the effects of peer pressure.

To read the article in full, click here.

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