A quick way to demonstrate the power of critical thinking to students, and perhaps improve their ability to understand and negotiate social networks comes from the Washington Post reporting on research by Kristina Lerhman et al. Our usual assumptions about the influence of majorities are brought into question, when we take into account who is most connected to others.
This exercise (do it! it’s fun!) shows how behaviour we observe locally can fail to represent what goes on globally. This “majority” illusion can compound other socially biases such as my side effect and confirmation bias.
It should be fun for teaching too!