What makes ideas viral and products spread contagiously? Professor Jonah Berger studies social epidemics, or how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on and become popular as well as die out and become abandoned. He examines how individual decision making and social dynamics (e.g., social influence) between people generate collective outcomes such as social contagion and trends.
Most recently, Professor Berger’s research examined how consumers’ desire to communicate, or signal, certain identities to others influences when people abandon products. In other recent research, he examined how subtle cues in everyday environments influence consumer decision making and the success of products and ideas.
Berger J, Rand L. Shifting Signals to Help Health: Using Identity-Signaling to Reduce Risky Health Behaviors. Journal of Consumer Research. 2008; 35: 509-518.
Sela A, Berge J, Liu W. Variety, Vice, and Virtue: How Assortment Size Influences Option Choice. Journal of Consumer Research. 2009; 35(3):941-951.
Berger J, Meredith M, Wheeler SC. Contextual Priming: Where People Vote Affects How They Vote. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2008; 105(26): 8846-8849.