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chaos reigns
ultramarine's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Costa Rica
Gender: homme
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Did scientists break the code for trends?
Social conformity despite individual preferences for distinctiveness


We demonstrate that individual behaviours directed at the attainment of distinctiveness can in fact produce complete social conformity. We thus offer an unexpected generative mechanism for this central social phenomenon. Specifically, we establish that agents who have fixed needs to be distinct and adapt their positions to achieve distinctiveness goals, can nevertheless self-organize to a limiting state of absolute conformity. This seemingly paradoxical result is deduced formally from a small number of natural assumptions and is then explored at length computationally. Interesting departures from this conformity equilibrium are also possible, including divergence in positions. The effect of extremist minorities on these dynamics is discussed. A simple extension is then introduced, which allows the model to generate and maintain social diversity, including multimodal distinctiveness distributions. The paper contributes formal definitions, analytical deductions and counterintuitive findings to the literature on individual distinctiveness and social conformity.
You can read the whole thing here http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.o...ent/2/3/140437

And funnily, I found it through the Daily Mail UK under the headline:

"Why all hipsters look the SAME: Scientists reveal the maths behind beards, bicycles and man buns"

Am I the only one who thinks this is kinda big?

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Last edited by ultramarine; 10-03-2015 at 10:17 PM. Reason: left something out
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front row
squilliam's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: a mitten
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It seems kinda obvious, of course people want to conform, they're social animals who cannot easily survive alone so they group together, this is just one of the ways they do it

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flaunt the imperfection
softgrey's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: downtown...
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it would be big if they could mathematically predict trends...
up until now most people agree that it is something organic and intuitive and very difficult to predict...

i know that some people have tried to create some sort of scientific algorithm you could plug into a computer so they could sell such a service to fashion companies...
not sure how that worked out though...
haven't heard anything about that in a long time now...
i never really believed it was possible...

frankly- just looking at those equations makes my head hurt...

"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."

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Not Plain Jane's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Canada
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it's like a more complex version of "the tipping point," but frankly i found parts of that book to be confusing, let alone trying to follow math formulae!.

but the draw toward conformity - for many anyhow - is a given.

Fashion: Don’t you recognize me? Death: You should know that I don’t see very well and I can’t wear glasses. Fashion: I’m Fashion, your sister. Death: My sister? Fashion: Yes. You and I together keep undoing and changing things down here on earth although you go about it in one way and I another. Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death.”abridged
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chaos reigns
ultramarine's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Costa Rica
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I know!

I mean, explaining math to fashion people is like ... well, you can see AND feel it.

I mean, I think it IS super important. But we need someone to translate ..

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Join Date: Mar 2015
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I'm going to take a proper read of that paper when I have more time (maybe during the summer). I wish I could have done my thesis on something like this! Thanks for posting it!

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fashion icon
eizhowa's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Norway
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I didn't read anything I didn't feel I already knew to be honest. I don't know what is so revolutionary. They have basically just managed to graph how trends work. We have been able to describe it without a mathematical formula for a long time.

Basically, the suppliers should get better at predicting how much we are going to buy. Thats all.

Sure. I'm decent.

Last edited by eizhowa; 13-03-2015 at 06:16 AM.
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rising star
ErnstLudwig's Avatar
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"The population rarely (?) converged with more than 8% non-conformists"

Meaning we will never converge, except in North Korea

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Power to the 99%
fashionista-ta's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hardly ever at Barney's
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^ I assume I am in that 8%, but my fashion sense may not be where it's most obvious

There's a need for more individuality today, and my job is to cater to women, not dictate to them.
--Alber Elbaz
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