Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mid life crisis/Herd mentality

Perhaps no one would even noticed, I have been absent from the blogsphere for almost 3 weeks now. As someone pointed out, I might be experiencing whats called the "mid-life crisis". Passing the quarter-a-century mark, anyone would be thinking im talking crap, too early for all those symptoms of hair loss, poor sleep, increasing life liabilities, declining libidos...


Rest assured I have yet to experience those stages of life. But I guess I am in fact, undergoing the process in a mental perspective. Questions like where to go from here...what am I doing...am I walking on a correct path...Get what I mean? And to tell you the truth, its certainly not easy to ignore the "herd" mentality and go against what most of your peers are doing or directions they are heading. You will feel inferior when they brag about their newly purchased luxurious gated and guarded castles, or that sparking new car, their marriage, newborn etc...its only natural to feel that way, i guess. Unless of course, you know EXACTLY what you are doing is indeed SUITABLE for you and you only, not betting an eyelid to other people's perceived IDEALS.


In the article entitled "Consensus decision making in human crowds" published in the current issue of Animal Behavior Journal, it sheds light on a behavior that is consistent among many species – that is, making decisions based upon the actions of others


Scientists at the University of Leeds believe they may have found why humans flock like sheep and birds, subconsciously following a minority of individuals. Researchers discovered that it takes a minority of just five per cent to influence a crowd’s direction – and that the other 95 per cent follow without realizing it.







Professor Krause, with PhD student John Dyer, conducted a series of experiments where groups of people were asked to walk randomly around a large hall. Within the group, a select few received more detailed information about where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate with one another but had to stay within arms length of another person.

The findings show that in all cases, the ‘informed individuals’ were followed by others in the crowd, forming a self-organizing, snake-like structure. 
“We’ve all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd,” says Professor Krause. “But what’s interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn’t realize they were being led by others.”





Other experiments in the study used groups of different sizes, with different ratios of ‘informed individuals’. The research findings show that as the number of people in a crowd increases, the number of informed individuals decreases. In large crowds of 200 or more, five per cent of the group is enough to influence the direction in which it travels.



In the stock market, many inexperienced investors lose millions or even bankrupt because they buy shares based on hearsay and what other people are buying, without making their own informed judgement. They followed their generous neighbour/colleague/friends recommendations on some supposed "hot stocks" of the moment, not realizing that the "hot" period is in fact already passed. Hence they bought at peak price and have no choice but to brace ahead for the impending avalanche. 


People say, sometimes free advice are in fact the most costly! And so, some practice the contrarian approach in shares, of course with much research done on their intended investment prior. SO how does this apply onto our own life? 


Are we the 5% who influences the crowd's direction? OR are we the remaining 95% who follow the trend without even realizing it? The decisions we make everyday...from the kind of food we are consuming (think fast food)...to our spending behaviour (buying on credit card for that extra "classy touch")...to our future career path (to follow blindly what others are pursuing?)...to the latest fad (the luxurious iPhone anyone?)....


Which are you? :)





13 comments:

Koala Express said...

its ok to mention me. lolx... n i did told u ur blog was 3 wks absence. welcome back

Ghosty Nana said...

depends... on the mood...
follow the crowd can help when on a foreign land.

blue said...

@koala: glad to know koala is on his way back to good health..and sexier body!

@nana: true...depend on circumstances. Certainly doesn't want to provoke the Indon immigrations unnecessarily! Later get lockup in the island while earthquakes and volcanos erupting all over!

Ghosty Nana said...

Yes, either follow the crowd, settling it with RM 100 or follow your ego and may end up doing frog jumping

savante said...

Hey you're still young! No need for any mid life crises yet :)

Ultraman Jino said...

welcome back. do homework before you make decision.




[Jino] - A man's not a man unless he knows how to shoot

blue said...

@nana: LOL..

@savante: am i younger than you? that might give me slight consolation :P

@jino: thanks. I memang do homework everyday. But risks involved is more difficult to calculate :)

shane said...

so are u also looking for life changing? just like that couple is doing.
when ur nt thinking that u are experiencing midcrisis, u are nt hvg it,so dont think abt it :D

me myself dunno where the future will bring me yet.but guess im one of the followers

blue said...

@shane: not really life changing in per se, just wondering once in a while if there is an alternative way of seeing things, doing things. Nothing wrong with being a follower as long as you are comfortable. Follow your heart :)

SynchingZincInc said...

We're all leaders or followers in a random fashion, boils down to purpose and lifestyle choice.

Somehow, creative minds or innovators are the ones pushing new boundaries and future directions.

Observers@Analysis like me will choose to follow, choose to oppose, or choose to be them :)

It's not mid-life crisis yet, it's about finding a new direction in everything from static/routine..hehe

blue said...

@SynchingZincInc: You hit the G-spot! Your right. Im pushing to reflect upon myself my future directions. I believe everyone does it at some point in life. Thats how life evolution comes about, right?

Now im feeling like drifting in the middle of Pacific Ocean, all alone and empty...and i dont enjoy the feeling. Something is lacking..maybe its the sunshine, some jolly dolphins, or even a tsunami!

Btw how should i address you? :)

SynchingZincInc said...

Helix will do ^^

blue said...

hi Helix! such special name! replying you live from my workplace! haha..