Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

People: Imitators or Herd Animals?

At a time when behaviourism still held a death grip on psychology, in North America at least, Albert Bandura's offered first social learning theory and then social cognitive theory. Put much too briefly, we can imitate the behaviours that others model, and sometimes (some of us) go beyond what we see modelled.

Professor Andrew Oswald, an economist, suggests that much that we do as people should be regarded as herd behaviour. He has been examining the consequences of it in terms of economics models.

Mark Pagel, a professor of evolutionary biology, suggests that people, as social creatures have need for only a very few really creative individuals because the rest of us are so adept at copying, and that this has shaped us by the usual evolutionary processes. He suggests that, in fact, we are 'infinitely stupid.'