Rules form an important part of our everyday lives. Here we explore the role of social influence in rule-breaking. In particular, we identify some of the cognitive mechanisms underlying rule-breaking and propose approaches for how they can be scaled up to the level of groups or crowds to better understand the emergence of collective rule-breaking. Social contagion plays an important role in such processes and different dynamics such as linear or rapid nonlinear spreading can have important consequences for interventions in rule-breaking. A closer integration of cognitive psychology, microsociology and mathematical modelling will be key to a deeper understanding of collective rule-breaking to turn this field of research into a predictive science.
Keywords: collective behaviour; contagion; rule-breaking; violence.
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