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Bandwagon effect, also known as "cromo effect" and closely related to opportunism, is the observation that people often do and believe things because many other people do and believe the same things. The effect is often pejoratively called herding instinct, particularly when applied to adolescents. People tend to follow the crowd without examining the merits of a particular thing. The bandwagon effect is the reason for the bandwagon fallacy's success.
The bandwagon effect is well-documented in behavioral psychology and has many applications. The general rule is that conduct or beliefs spread among people, as fads and trends clearly do, with "the probability of any individual adopting it increasing with the proportion who have already done so". As more people come to believe in something, others also "hop on the bandwagon" regardless of the underlying evidence. The tendency to follow the actions or beliefs of others can occur because individuals directly prefer to conform, or because individuals derive information from others. Both explanations have been used for evidence of conformity in psychological experiments. For example, social pressure has been used to explain Asch's conformity experiments, and information has been used to explain Sherif's autokinetic experiment.
When individuals make rational choices based on the information they receive from others, economists have proposed that information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behavior of others. Cascades explain why behavior is fragile--people understand that they are based on very limited information. As a result, fads form easily but are also easily dislodged. Such informational effects have been used to explain political bandwagons.
A "backlash" is a popular negative reaction to something which has gained popularity, prominence, or influence. Although sometimes, a backlash represents a categorical rejection of the idea, aesthetic, product, or fad in question, it is usually a reflection of a collective resentment of that thing's ubiquity in culture and media, rather than a denial of its existence. The term is commonly applied to racial discrimination and religious discrimination against minority groups, as well, such as in response to certain events or circumstances (e.g. the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001).
An underdog is a person or group in a competition, frequently in electoral politics, sports and creative works, who is popularly expected to lose. The party, team or individual expected to win is called the favourite or top dog. In the rare case where an underdog wins, the outcome is an upset. These terms are commonly used in sports betting.[original research?]
In a broader sense, "underdog" is used in reference to a social or ethnic group which experiences discrimination, persecution and/or economic disability, and which could therefore gain the sympathy of public opinion, either nationally or worldwide. Such sympathy has often proved of crucial importance in the struggles of national liberation, civil rights and social justice movements, and such movements sometimes significantly modify their tactics and strategy in order to gain "underdog sympathy".
The definition of a particular group as an "underdog" or (conversely) a "top dog" may change considerably over time and through circumstances. During the Boer War, the Afrikaners were widely perceived as the underdogs, a small group of people bravely defying the might of the British Empire
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