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How a committed minority can change society

30 September 2021

Over the last year, handshakes have been replaced by fist or elbow bumps as a greeting. It shows that age-old social conventions can not only change, but do so suddenly. But how does this happen? Robotic engineers and marketing scientists from the University of Groningen joined forces to study this phenomenon, combining online experiments and statistical analysis into a mathematical model that shows how a committed minority can influence the majority to overturn long-standing practices. The results, which were published in Nature Communications on 29 September, may help to stimulate sustainable behaviour.

A explanation of the research can be read on the ScienceLinx News pages of our faculty.

Handshakes have been replaced by 'elbows' during the corona pandemic. | Illustration Jacinta Joe
Handshakes have been replaced by 'elbows' during the corona pandemic. | Illustration Jacinta Joe
Last modified:30 September 2021 12.40 p.m.

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