Science Rules

Guess Your High School Friends Were Right: Changing Your Profile Pic Could Help Marriage Equality

Peer pressure works.
(Photo: Facebook)

(Photo: Facebook)

Though it may seem like the nadir of armchair activism, that red human rights logo that has inundated your News Feed and become the profile picture of everyone from your mom to your preschool BFF may actually have an impact.

According to Scientific American, changing your Facebook profile picture can be an effective way to lodge a political protest because “there’s a part of our brains that never quite made it out of high school.” Turns out that just seeing the people you care about jump on the profile pic changing bandwagon can have an effect on how you think of the issue at hand. It’s a visual reminder of which side of a debate your friends and family fall on, and can help push you to fall in line.

Writes Scientific American:

Based on everything that we know about our brains and their bafflingly strong desires to fit in with the crowd, the best way to convince people that they should care about an issue and get involved in its advocacy isn’t to tell people what they should do — it’s to tell them what other people actually do.

Good to know that our political future depends on the same kind of peer pressure that made us chug gin from a Gatorade bottle after junior prom.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com