What is Social Impact?

Data Science discipline Venn diagram
Example of social impact: an intervention.

Social Impact: Changes in behavior that occur in an individual as a result of presence or actions of other individuals

Examples of behavior: subjective feelings, motives, emotions, thoughts, customs, decisions…

The presence or actions of others can be:

Solomon Asch’s conformity experiments showed some early evidence of how social impact works. These experiments focused on how often people change their behavior due to peer pressure in a group. In the elevator experiment, a group of experiment helpers (also called confederates), display some behavior different to the one of an unsuspecting experiment participant. The recorded outcome is whether the participant imitates their behavior, for example looking away from the elevator entrance. In the experiment, they changed the number of confederates, finding that the more people are exerting peer pressure, the higher the probability of the participant to change their behavior. You can see a comedic version of the experiment for the Candid Camera TV show in 1962: