Why is it popular?

Apparently some things get popular just because they’re perceived so…

Excerpt from article┬áin the Wall Street Journal…

Psychologist Stanley Milgram demonstrated that people pop over even if everyone is looking at nothing, by sending a group of experimenters into the street to stare upwards. With a large enough group of gapers, passersby stopped to stare, too.

A more-recent study demonstrates that popularity in the music world, even unearned, breeds more popularity. Researchers enlisted more than 12,000 volunteers to rate and download songs from among 48 chosen for their relative obscurity. Some of these volunteers were lied to: At a certain stage in the experiment, popularity rankings for this group were reversed, so the least-downloaded songs were made to appear most-downloaded.

Suddenly, everything changed. The prior No. 1 began making a comeback on the new top dog, but the former No. 47 maintained its comfortable lead on the old No. 2, buoyed by its apparent popularity. Overall, the study showed that popularity is both unstable and malleable.