The Burden of Social Proof (BOP)

Rob MacCoun - Stanford - maccoun@law.stanford.edu

Who holds the "burden of proof" in social situations where there are conflicting viewpoints? Why do social tipping points occur? Why don't they occur more often? There are many different paradigms for group influence -- conformity, small-group deliberation, bystander intervention, protests and riots, the diffusion of innovations -- but how are they related? What are the consequences of our ever-increasing ability to monitor the opinions and behaviors of an ever-widening network of "friends" and fellow citizens?  The BOP program of theory and research seeks to answer these questions using a unified modeling framework designed to promote theoretical integration across paradigms and empirical estimation from observed opinions and behaviors.