Listen now (29 mins) | Recruitment reforms in armed forces. What makes social media so powerful?
Thank you for explaining the policy and the problem in a layman like me in simple words.
Green-beard effect, peak-shift effect and the reference networks:
People contain multitudes. When multitude of people form a reference network, they strengthen their network by recognising similar traits. People who share similar traits are treated preferentially. This is the green-beard effect. [Green-beard effect: "I have a green beard and I will be altruistic to anyone else with green beard.”]
According to Vilayanur Ramachandran’s theory of Neuroesthetics, animals respond more strongly to exaggerated versions of the same stimulus. Such stimuli are called supernormal stimuli. The phenomenon is called as peak-shift effect.
People, like animals, respond to stimuli.
One can be a part of many reference networks (imagined communities).
Reference networks involve a bunch of people exhibiting interdependent behaviour. When the network becomes larger green-beard effect ensues.
The social bonds in a reference network are strengthened by the green-beard effect. Together with peak-shift effect, people start to prefer “ultra-green-beards.” This is why we see so much posturing and virtue signalling on social media.
Fun/Sad point: While addressing a rally in 2019, PM had invoked the green-beard principle when he said “From the visuals on TV, those setting the fire can be identified by their clothes.”