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What are the causes of mass delusion?

  1. Apr 27, 2015 #1

    julian

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    What are the causes of mass delusion?

    Conformity?
    Pluralistic ignorance? (everybody seems sincere in their convictions it must just be me!)
    Illusions of unanimity?
    Illusions of invulnerability?
    Direct pressure on any member who questions the group to conform - disloyalty!
    The list goes on...
    I have read that mass delusion occurs with severe group-think...

    O.K. I have a simply question - see the photo I have provided below (the file rectangles.JPG). Now can anybody on the entirety of the physics forum measure the rectangle on the right to be half the size in every regard of the rectangle on the left? (measured directly straight from the photo?):

    rectangles.JPG

    It is just that I have a group of people telling me they are sure the rectangle on the right is half the size of the rectangle on the left. Trouble is I cant measure it to be half the size and neither can the several other people I have asked!!! In fact one of them burst out laughing when I told him that THEY think that that is half the size of that. Despite this there is this GROUP who INSISTS it is half the size nevertheless...I'm thinking that if they are being serious that this is a case of mass delusion...

    Do any of you people get it to be half the size????
     

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    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
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  3. Apr 27, 2015 #2

    Evo

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    They look identical in size to me, this is a pretty well known illusion though. Half the size is utterly ridiculous, you have to remember that there are a lot of stupid and/or gullible people in the world. This wouldn't qualify as mass delusion though. I don't know who these people are, were they together in a room looking at this picture at the same time and decided to go along with the first person to say it was half size? Are they all in on a joke to prank you?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
  4. Apr 27, 2015 #3

    julian

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    I have tested them and I got the impression that it is not a prank. They have their own reason of sorts to "think" it ought to be half the size and as such then decided it must be half the size...

    I think it is already obvious that it isn't half the size, but people could easily put a ruler to the photo and measure the relative size of the rectangles to make sure.
     
  5. Apr 27, 2015 #4

    Evo

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    Tested people?
    Did you in any way mention the half size because that picture does not even remotely look half size. I can't even imagine one person thinking one was that much smaller. What did you ask these people? If you even gave them a choice of sizes, or suggested the size was different, you invalidated your question because you gave suggestions.
     
  6. Apr 27, 2015 #5

    lisab

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    None of your proposed "causes" of mass delusion similar to the optical illusion you posted. Most people looking at the optical illusion are alone at their computer, making their decision without input from people around them. Are you saying mass dilution and optical illusions have the same cause?
     
  7. Apr 28, 2015 #6

    julian

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    I have asked them if they are being serious. I they said they were. It was the group itself that came to the their "conclusion" that it is half the size because they thought it should be (based on a rather silly argument that has nothing to do with measuring it) and then strongly suggested it to me. I have asked a number of people to measure the size of the rectangles with a ruler to make it quantitative and most of the time I dont tell them what I get or what the group wants to believe before hand. Nobody has been able to get half the size or anywhere near. I have asked some people in the group, and this group is seriously biased to believe it is half the size, and they couldn't get half themselves. I'm open to them SHOWING me how to measure it to be half the size but it has been a year now and they still haven't.

    The group just ignores that people keep measuring it to be no where near half the size.There is a lot of social pressure on people to try to convince themselves that they must have made a huge mistake and it really is half the size. And they will believe any daft thing. When I point out how silly they are being they will sometimes respond with "how do we not know there isn't an Elethant outside the door?, how do we really know anything?" They actually say that. This kind of unrealistic "rationalization", the levels of social influence and conformity seem to lead to what I consider deluded levels of over-confidence in their nonsense.

    If you ask people to just look at it and guess you probably will get any daft answer from this group. But instead I get people to measure the relative widths and lengths with a ruler which is a simple thing to do. I get them to do it, they get themselves that it is no where near half the size, and ignore it...
     
  8. Apr 28, 2015 #7

    julian

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    They think that this optical illusion as you put it should result in the rectangle on the right to measure to be half the size of the rectangle on the left as seen from the photo. But it doesn't. They are unwillingly to admit that their "idea" didn't work even when they measure it for themselves and find that they are wrong...that's the problem.

    I want them to be quantitative and measure it with a ruler.
     
  9. Apr 28, 2015 #8
    To be fair, given the angles shown, and ignoring the fact that they are obviously at different perspectives and field depths, they do have different areas as shown in 2D.

    The left section, on my screen, measures 6 cm x 3 cm. The right section measures 5 cm x 2.7cm. That's roughly 75% of the size. As shown, they are not the same size. Sure, one doesn't have twice the area of the other, but I think misunderstanding of the question is a big factor for this particular example.
     
  10. Apr 28, 2015 #9

    julian

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    You are right they are not the same size - I'm not saying they are by the way. Also I should be more specific, they think the width and the length should both be half as much, meaning the area should about 25%. You are right it is more like ~70%.

    Strictly speaking, according to their "idea", I should have had the rectangle on the right closer to the camera, which would only make it bigger.
     
  11. Apr 28, 2015 #10

    Dotini

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    "People will prefer a lie to the truth precisely as the ratio of the beauty, utility or necessity of the lie is to the ugliness of the truth."
    :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
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