News Item 73

18-Jul-08 - Popular Delusions Recommended by CHOICE

Using extensive empirical data, Stephen Coleman assesses the impact of conformity. The study utilizes quantitative and qualitative analyses, a few simple mathematical models, and specific numerical predictions that are verified with historical data from the USA, Germany, Japan, Russia, and many other countries over much of the 20th century. The results give new insights on voting, political party systems, crime, ethnic violence, democratic government, and the nature of society, including both positive and negative consequences of conformity. Building on research in cognitive psychology over the last twenty years, the book also ties conformity and resulting social institutions to certain cognitive processes that go on without a person's conscious awareness.

This is an important book for all collections in political science and sociology.

It is recommended by CHOICE that praises it for being "thought-provoking... an interesting analysis of the benefits and dangers of conformity, pointing out that policies encouraging cultural diversity may well backfire."


 

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