Pluralistic ignorance refers to widespread misperception of the attitudes and behaviors prevalent in one's group due to public misrepresentation of private attitudes. It can lead to conformity to apparent social norms in the absence of actual private support by individuals. In the extreme case, it can lead every individual to believe that he or she is alone in holding an attitude or in practicing a behavior, when in reality every other group member does the same in private. Pluralistic ignorance is typically measured by asking individuals to indicate on a numerical scale how strongly they agree with a statement or how often they engage in a behavior, and then asking them to estimate how much their peers on average espouse the attitude or perform the ...

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