Next time you're ordering drinks with your friends, you might want to step up and order first. It turns out that when everyone in a group places their beer order out loud, it screws with everyone's decision making process. If you wanted a lager and then your friend goes ahead and orders a lager, you might just end up ordering an IPA just so you look a little more unique.
This phenomenon shows up in a study that explores just that: how do people's beer orders change when they're ordering in a group context versus when they're ordering alone? It turns out, they change pretty significantly. One group of participants in the study wrote their beer orders down on a piece of paper that others didn't see. Another group all went around and placed their orders aloud. The participants were given the choice of one of four beers: the Copperline Amber Ale, the Franklin Street Lager, the IPA, and the Summer Wheat.
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When the researchers surveyed members of the group that placed their orders aloud, they were considerably more likely to wish they'd chosen a different beer than those who ordered on their own. In fact, many of them had changed their beer pick based on what those around them had ordered. Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence, points out that "many had switched their order to be distinct. They picked a different option than they would normally to avoid ordering the same beer as someone else." Whether or not participants chose the beer they would have chosen on their own, you've got to admit, it's pretty cool that all they really had to do for this study was drink free beer.