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Wharton professor and top-rated 2014 conference speaker Jonah Berger is back to share his business and social science research that will help us to learn the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.
You feel strongly in your opinion and your choices reflect those individual, personal tastes, and opinions. Right? Wrong. Other people’s behavior has a huge influence on everything we do at every moment of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous occasion. Even strangers have a startling impact on our judgments and decisions. But social influence doesn’t just lead us to do the same things as others. In some cases we conform, or imitate others around us. But in other cases we diverge, or avoid particular choices or behaviors because other people are doing them.
Jonah Berger is a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and best-selling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior. Berger has spent over 15 years studying how social influence works, what drives word of mouth, and how these factors combine to shape what becomes popular. He’s published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, consulted for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and popular outlets like the New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work.