If advancing civilization relies on social networks, the world is in trouble. According to newly published research by University of Oregon psychologist Azim Shariff, individuals relying on their social groups can find solutions but also pre-empt the motivation for independent analytical thinking.
Social networks encompass many scenarios, from divisions within organizations, to fraternities and sororities, to connections on Facebook and Twitter. The four-member research team is not proclaiming a doomsday scenario; it is studying the impacts of social learning in networks from a broad cultural perspective.
While social learning "is a key cultural mechanism that improves the performance of individuals and groups," writes Shariff and international colleagues in the introduction of their paper placed online by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, watching and copying others while seeking solutions has some limitations on analytical development that drives innovation.
Via Claudia Mihai