The effect of selection bias in studies of fads and fashions.

PloS one

PubMedID: 25886158

Denrell J, Kovács B. The effect of selection bias in studies of fads and fashions. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123471.
Most studies of fashion and fads focus on objects and practices that once were popular. We argue that limiting the sample to such trajectories generates a selection bias that obscures the underlying process and generates biased estimates. Through simulations and the analysis of a data set that has previously not been used to analyze the rise and fall of cultural practices, the New York Times text archive, we show that studying a whole range of cultural objects, both popular and less popular, is essential for understanding the drivers of popularity. In particular, we show that estimates of statistical models of the drivers of popularity will be biased if researchers use only trajectories of those practices that once were popular.