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What Monkeys Teach Us About Social Media

A social media platform like Twitter is a kind of social science laboratory that can be sliced in various ways. (For some serious social media slicing and dicing, check out the work of my friend Dan Zarrella.)

Traditional community dynamics apply – there are high-status individuals who have legions of followers and wield considerable influence, and lower-status individuals who have little impact on the community. Principles like reciprocity are at work – if one individual retweets another’s post, it creates a little social obligation for the second to reciprocate. (As in real life, if there’s a big status difference between the two people, the drive to reciprocate may be much smaller or even nonexistent.) New research on monkeys shows that the tracking of social gestures may be hardwired into our brains. […]

By |January 4th, 2013|

Selling to the Sleepy

Late-night infomercials and commercials often promote subjects like buying real-estate with no money down and other get-rich quick schemes. While these promotions are broadcast in the wee hours because air time is cheaper and more readily available, it turns out there’s solid science behind this timing. In a new study, Duke university researchers found significant differences in the way sleep-deprived subjects evaluated risk: […]

By |March 16th, 2011|

Holy Branding! Religion Gives Brand Immunity

Most marketers don’t count religious affiliation or degree of religiosity as key demographics, but a new study suggests perhaps they should. Makers of branded “self expression” items (such as logo apparel or designer sunglasses) in particular may find […]

By |September 28th, 2010|

Social Perceptions and Altruism Research

Duke neuroscientist Scott Huettel, whose neuroeconomics work we described in Decision Making, Risk, and Ambiguity, is back in the news with some interesting work on the neuroscience of altruism.

Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered that activation […]

By |January 23rd, 2007|