Counterperformativity relates to the limitations of models in complex adaptive systems. The flaws in models are quickly exposed when they are employed and the conditions under which the model does not apply quickly arise. The key example is the crash of the stock market in 1987 relating the use of the Black Sholes model for pricing options. While this model can seem complicated, it contains several unrealistic assumptions. When traders employed it, the market quickly found the holes in these assumptions and a crash occurred.
Counterperformativity may also be critical in relation to the US media ecosystem and national politics. As argued in the book Abundance, we humans tend to focus on short term threats. Then, the news focuses on the small number of bad actors who are criminals and ignores the bigger picture of the massive reduction of crime that is occurring (see the “Case of the Missing Crime” economist cover). In fact, we fail to be aware of many positive trends. This fixation on threats and simplistic thinking also relates to the fixation on single-issue voting with its many negative effects highlighted in a past post.