Popular Delusions: How Social Conformity Molds Society and Politics

by Stephen Coleman

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


Chapter I. Social Conformity--The Collective Dimension

Conformity and Nonconscious Cognition

Theories About Conformity

Conformity Principles

Political Conformity

Means, Opportunity, and Motive

Outline of the Book

Chapter II. The Many Faces of Social Conformity

Conformity in the Lab

Contemporary Views of Conformity

Conformity and Social Categories

Applied Conformity Research

Economics and Conformity

Civic Culture and Changing Norms

Chapter III. Measuring Conformity

Elections as Measurements

The Entropy Measure and Conformity

Psychological Foundations of Entropy

Election Entropy Calculation

Frequency Information and Social Categories

Personal Names

Answering the Census

Selective Service Registration

Abortion Decisions

Emergent Conformity and Number of Alternative Choices

Chapter IV. Voter Turnout, Crime, and Conformity

Predicted Relation Between Voter Turnout and Crime

Testing the Prediction

Data and Variables Analyzed

Statistical Analysis

Relation between Crime Rates and Conformity in U.S.

Crime in Germany and Japan

Lynching: Crime or Conformity?

Crime and Conformity: Connections on a Large Scale

Chapter V. Conformity in Voting Choices

The Choice Among Political Parties


Predictive Tests for Conformity in Voting

Alternative Models

Testing the Conformity Model

Countries and Elections Examined

Conformity in American Presidential Elections

Western Europe, New Zealand, and Canada

Russia and Eastern Europe


Brazil and Peru: A Question of Invalid Ballots


Overview of the Analysis

Chapter VI. Change and Equilibrium in Voting Conformity

Studying Change in Collective Behavior

Change over Time in Voter Turnout

Change over Time in Political Party Systems

Theories of Cyclic Change

Spatial Conformity in Voting

Entropy Limits

Stability in Society and Government

Chapter VII. Conformity Implosion

Warning Signs

Predicting Genocide

Weimar Germany

Conformity and Voting in Weimar Germany

Voting Change in Weimar Germany

Extreme Party Entropy Leads to Minority Government

Germany Implodes with Conformity



Sri Lanka



Violent Outcomes

Chapter VIII. Concluding Remarks

Conformity and Social Structure

Conformity and Democracy

Conformity and Violence





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