The research, featuring more than 1,000 participants, looked at the excessive influence the opinions of their social circle had upon their life decisions – known as ‘social proof’.
It revealed on average, contributors were 1.5 times more likely to listen to friends and family across a range of issues from restaurant recommendations through to serious financial choices, over that of an expert in the field.
Exactly half were more likely to ask friends and family about where to invest money, with 40 per cent relying on their opinion even when it comes to high-risk investment choices over any other sources, including experts.
The term social proof, coined Dr. Robert Cialdini in 1984, refers to the unconscious influence those around us have on our decision-making with one aspect being the ‘wisdom of friends’ – which refers to the phenomenon where advice from peers carries much more weight than is wise in important choices.
During the experiment, commissioned by new investment app ‘&me’ – which gives consumers access to tailored portfolios and expert advice – researchers found participants are largely unaware of this effect.
According to the findings, even when people say they value expert knowledge, they often revert to the opinions of those closest to them when making a key judgement call.
It also emerged adults turn to the advice from friends and family 54 per cent (1.5 times) more in all areas of life ahead of professional advice sources such as a financial adviser, restaurant critic or an OFSTED inspector.
Interestingly, a banker’s opinion was rated as eight per cent lower than average on the topic of budgeting compared to other financial advice sources, with 19 per cent more likely to pick their partner for advice.
And TV shows giving financial advice were more likely to have an influence – being picked 15 per cent more often than

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