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Collective Illusions: Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions

Collective Illusions: Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions

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The desire to fit in is one of the most powerful, least understood forces in society. 

Todd Rose believes that as human beings, we continually act against our own best interests because our brains misunderstand what others believe. A complicated set of illusions driven by conformity bias distorts how we see the world around us. From toilet paper shortages to kidneys that get thrown away rather than used for transplants; from racial segregation to the perceived “electability” of women in politics; from bottled water to “cancel culture,” we routinely copy others, lie about what we believe, cling to tribes, and silence people. 

The question is, Why do we keep believing the lies and hurting ourselves? 

Todd Rose proves that the answer is hard-wired in our DNA: our brains are more socially dependent than we realize or dare to accept. Most of us would rather be fully in sync with the social norms of our respective groups than be true to who we are. Using originally researched data, Collective Illusions shows us where we get things wrong and, just as important, how we can be authentic in forming opinions while valuing truth. Rose offers a counterintuitive yet empowering explanation for how we can bridge our inference gap, make decisions with a newfound clarity, and achieve fulfillment.  

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