Dynamics of Morality & Emotion
We examine the direct effects of increasing the scale of social interactions (i.e., the number of different people with diverse perspectives with whom people interact) on increasing consensus in people’s beliefs about the types of virtuous behaviors. Our previous research has demonstrated that individuals vary enormously in how they classify appropriate and inappropriate behavior, yet groups of increasing size exhibit similar, replicable patterns of agreement about appropriate behavior. In this study, we generalize this principle to study the social network dynamics by which populations agree on classifying behaviors as either virtuous or not. Building on our prior results about the direct effects of social network scale on individuals’ categorical reasoning, we examine the network dynamics that lead populations of individuals who initially disagree about which behaviors are virtuous to arrive at consistent, replicable consensus in their beliefs about virtuous behavior.