There is some academic evidence for my hunch: a study of American women from 1995 to 2009 found that your likelihood of having a baby went up if your friends started having them. Research shows that divorce can also have contagion-like effects in friendship groups, so why shouldn’t marriage?
“Wedding contagion” is probably a combination of these two trends. The knowledge that your peers are getting married both makes you more likely to do it and, rightly or wrongly, it also gives you the feeling that you are being judged and observed if you don’t.
We know, too, that the act of being observed changes how people behave: trying to navigate whether your cool new innovation actually works or if people are just changing their behaviour because they are being watched (the so-called Hawthorne effect) is a recurring challenge in public policy.
Toughts & Comments
We are more influenced by others than we would assume!