thought: a friend had posted a link to the memoirs of a CS PhD at Stanford, and someone else had posted, "Only halfway through but it's amazing how much of his experience mirrors my own". This made me think about my zombie infection simulator and how any of those individual people could have told a story that would ring true for many of the other humans in the simulation: "I was minding my own business when suddenly everyone around me started panicking, I wasn't sure what was going on, and then a minute or two later these zombies came into view and started killing everyone". So my question is, under what circumstances does this happen in general? I'd like to have a nice clean description of the characteristics that define situations where this phenomenon may appear. For example, in the PhD example, it seems to be a result of the incentives that exist in academia among professors, journals, students, etc.