CategoriesArchiveSearchRandom
View the archives

or

Search the archives
 

We are all fish…

December 20th, 2011

..a new study argues that for a democracy to function at all, you need lots of ignorant people blindly siding with the majority.

There needs to be just enough people who know anything about the issues to act as leaders for everyone else, but the majority disintegrates if there are too many viewpoints pulling in different directions.

[The researchers] looked at golden shiners, a species that is naturally attracted to the color yellow. The researchers took a bunch of these fish and trained most of them to act against instinct and swim towards a blue target, while the rest were trained to follow their natural preference and go for a yellow target.

When the researchers placed just these two groups together, the smaller group of yellow-seeking fish was able to dominate the blue-seeking fish, making them all swim to the yellow target 80% of the time. This is because their natural instinct gave them a stronger desire go after the yellow target than their counterparts. But then, when fish with no prior conditioning were added to the mix, the influence of the yellow-seeking fish quickly dropped away, and the initial, blue-seeking majority regained control.

From Democracy needs ignorant people, says science [io9.com]

The article is a summary of a paper in Science [sciencemag.org]… now go read the article about how ignorant fish are required for an enlightened fish democracy to work. Before I plagiarise the whole damn article.

Comments are closed.