SOCIOLOGY: Indirect Social Influence — Denrell 321 (5885): 47 — Science
To learn more about these mechanisms, we need to broaden studies of social influence and belief formation to include the phases of learning and information collection that precede decision-making and judgment.
The above quotation from Science summarizes a brief yet interesting overview of how indirect influence matters. The gist is that the exposure I have to infomration, as a result of my network connections or position, can bias my “rational” decision-making. Its not that we are all weak-willed lemmings who do what the joneses do, it s that in the face of difficult to find information, we may rely on information gathered through netwokr ties to make decisions. And by separating network effects into direct influence on disposition and indirect influence though information gathering, we can better analyze influence.
Fine. Seems a bit of a round-about way to get there, but I suspect it makes network effects more palatable to economists or game-theory types.