Brief Introduction to Socionomics

Social mood is a primary determinant of ALL collective thought and behavior, from politics to pop culture, to social and intellectual trends, and much more.

The standard (nearly universal) view:  Social events shape social mood (exogenous social causality).

The Socionomic view:  Social mood shapes social events (endogenous social causality).

10 Questions

1. What is Socionomics?

Socionomics is the study of the relationship between social mood and social action. It is a revolutionary approach that identifies the fundamental basis of collective social events.

2. What is social mood?

Social mood is the net emotional state of people in a society at any given time. It swings between positive and negative poles, each of which comprise numerous related emotions. The belief that social events shape social mood is deeply ingrained. However, social mood follows a natural course that is independent of external events. Although most people believe the opposite, it is social mood that motivates social actions.

3. How is social mood measured?

There are several ways social mood might be measured. The most frequently used and perhaps best measure is a broad stock market index. It is a quantitative index with a very long history. In the aggregate, people buy stocks when their mood is positive and sell when their mood is negative. So a chart of stock market prices is actually a chart of rising (positive) and falling (negative) social mood.

4.  What are the effects of social mood?

Social mood is enormously powerful. It shapes popular culture and social, economic, and historical trends. Positive social mood leads to a rising stock market, upbeat themes in movies and television, cheery music, bright colors in fashion, re-election of presidents, peace between nations, and harmony between groups. Negative social mood leads to a falling market, negative themes in popular entertainment, dark or muted colors in fashion, defeat of incumbent presidents, greater political conflict, and war. Many other social areas are also affected by social mood.

5. How are society and pop culture shaped by social mood?

This video clip explains:


6. What are some examples of Socionomic versus traditional views of social causality?

STANDARD VIEW                                                  SOCIONOMIC HYPOTHESIS

(exogenous cause).                                                (endogenous cause)

Social events determine the tenor of  mood.       Social mood determines tenor of events.


Recession causes businessmen to be cautious.   Cautious businessmen cause recession

Talented leaders make the population happy        A happy population makes leaders appear talented

A rising stock market makes people optimistic.     Optimistic people make the stock market rise

Scandals make people outraged.                          Outraged people seek out scandals

War makes people fearful and angry.                    Fearful and angry people make war

Happy music makes people smile.                        People who want to smile choose happy music

Nuclear bomb testing makes people nervous.      Nervous people test nuclear bombs

Source: Robert Prechter, Elliott Wave Theorist (Sept. 17, 2004)

7. What emotions and traits are associated with positive and negative social mood?

   Watch this 3 minute video by Robert Prechter:  Social causality is not physics


8.  Is there a pattern to social mood?

Social mood is endogenously regulated and follows a particular pattern. The form of this natural pattern is called the Wave Principle, which involves essentially three steps of progress forward, and two steps backward. This fractal pattern of social mood repeats at both short- and long-term time periods. Therefore short-term up waves of positive social mood can exist during long-term down waves of negative mood, and vice-versa.

9.  How quickly does social mood affect social events?

It depends on the type of social event. Some trends in popular culture, such as music and fashion, respond quickly to prevailing social mood. Complex social phenomena such as the economy or the onset of war react with a longer lag because they require more time to develop and mobilize.

10. Who is the founder of Socionomics?

Robert Prechter, author of 19 books including The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics, and president of Elliott Wave International, a major financial forecasting firm. He remembers his first socionomic insight in 1976: "I was looking at a wall chart of the Dow and recalling the changes in pop music tone that occurred 10 years earlier, in 1966: from ubiquitous bouncy pop to something very different. That's when the idea formed."

The year 1966 marked a major stock market peak. The subsequent downturn in the market was accompanied by dramatic changes in popular music and society at large. Prechter realized that the same social mood that drove the stock market also shaped the tenor of all collective human behavior, including popular culture and social events.