Preference Falsification

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search


1. Sarah Perry:

"Preference falsification is an information theory term for the tendency for people to express a public preference that is different from their private, interior preference. For various reasons, certain preferences may not be publicly acceptable to express; they may be punished by execution, or labor camps, or exile, or social exclusion, or at the very least suspicion and a risk of some of these things. When people do not express their true preferences, they are deprived of the opportunity to coordinate with each other to create a more preferable outcome for both. Preference falsification is not just a political phenomenon, but a product of our dual nature, experiencing ourselves on the one hand from the privileged first-person perspective, and on the other hand from the imagined perspective of others. Pretending to have different preferences than one really does may be necessary to maintain a sense of safety, social belonging, and status.

People’s expressed, public preferences are a function of both their interior preferences and the perceived acceptability of revealing them; other people’s expressed preferences serve as a guide for measuring acceptability. So people’s expressed preferences are in part a function of other people’s expressed preferences." (

2. Gavin Haynes:

“Professor Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science at Duke University, and the father of ‘preference falsification’. His theory relates to things like the fall of the Soviet Union, where almost no one saw the end coming, because they hadn’t realised that an entire population was falsifying their experience to each other. He sees a clear parallel. “People who are trying to prevent members of society from speaking the truth will often punish minor criticisms,” he told me. “Simply to send the message to the rest of society that no dissent will be tolerated and no attempt to form an opposing group — even one that differs only slightly from the status quo — will be tolerated. If you allow minor differences, you allow people to coordinate around minor differences, and that can encourage even greater opposition. If people get that sense, then the whole process can unravel.” (