In disciplines ranging from economics to history, the cognitive revolution has shown that ideas that spread -- so-called "memes" -- are perhaps the most important forces in social change. But what causes some ideas to spread more effectively than others?
In this talk, activist, lawyer, and trained behavioral scientist Wayne Hsiung discusses three principles of "Effective Meme Spreading." Among other things, you will learn:
- why generating conflict and controversy (such as that created in the Civil Rights Movement, Occupy Wall Street, and the Arab Spring) might be vital to an effective meme;
- why convincing a person's friends might be more important than convincing the person herself, if you want the idea you're spreading to stick; and
- how strong and supportive communities provide the necessary "fertile ground" for memes to grow, survive, and reproductively flourish.
Slides for the presentation can be found here.
About the Speaker
Wayne Hsiung is a lawyer, writer, and organizer for DxE in the Bay Area. Prior to entering the practice of law, Mr. Hsiung was a National Science Graduate Fellow researching behavioral economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harry N. Wyatt Scholar and Olin Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He served on the faculty at Northwestern School of Law, as a Searle Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, from 2006-2007, where he focused on behavioral law and economics, free speech, and environmental law.
Mr. Hsiung has worked on social justice campaigns since 1999, including campaigns against capital punishment and on behalf of low-income youth, and has been a grassroots organizer in the animal rights movement since 2001. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his two dogs (Lisa and Natalie) and two cats (Joan and Flash).