The Hipster Effect - Why Nonconformists All Look Alike

You've all seen it: how hipsters who want to express that they aren't members of the herd all dress alike, wear the same nerd glasses, the same goatees and the same hair styles (and listen to the same music, and have the same political opinions and...).

Well, here's a mathematician from Brandeis who thinks that he can explain it with neural networks and 'complexity science'.

Something from the MIT Technology Review

The (quite technical) 34 page paper is here
Quote:It can be objected that the synchronization stems from the simplicity of scenarios offering a binary choice. “For example, if a majority of individuals shave their beard, then most hipsters will want to grow a beard, and if this trend propagates to a majority of the population, it will lead to new, synchronized, switch to shaving,” says Touboul. It’s easy to imagine a different outcome if there are more choices. If hipsters could grow a mustache, a square beard, or a goatee, for example, then perhaps this diversity of choice would prevent synchronization. But Touboul has found that when his model offers more than two choices, it still produces the synchronization effect.

Also, only the originator(s) of a trend probably have a reason or cause for the quirk -- there might be something personal that triggered the inclination, even if also borrowed from or inspired by a past era of bohemians. Once the media and journalism start popularizing and stereotyping _X_, the bulk population of "hep cats" are simply imitating it without usually investigating enough to know what the primal stimulus was at ground zero. Mainstream entertainment culture's Maynard G. Krebs didn't embody what Jack Kerouac intended as abbreviation for beatitude. In the course of distinguishing "freak" from "hippie", much of the long-hair sported by the mid '70s had been bleached of underlying ideology of the '60s, or only vaguely known about with respect to the younger boys.


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