Many people know or think they know how they would behave in a difficult circumstance or situation. But would you really know how you would behave in a crowd?
A good example of this is the riots that took place in the summer of 2011. Would the individuals have behaved in the same way if they were only in a group of people or about 10 people rather than hundreds? Peer pressure is seen at the main motivation with crowd psychology we seem to act like sheep our ‘normal’ behavior doesn’t come into play we just follow what the majority of the crowd are doing.
If you were on a train and you had two more stops till you got off. But everyone got off at the first stop…would you stay on the train of would you get off the train and follow the crowd? It is said that people do keep thinking for themselves and not over reacting, but the crowds do still influences their behavior. By people causing this mass of social change leaves different results. Some devastating like the 2010 riots others like the 9/11 attacks in America where people used their own initiative to save lives and to step out from the shadows of others and help people.
An advantage of going with the crowd is that it gives you added power in the situation that you are in. It makes you into somebody who you were not before and in some cases it can give the bonuses. A huge disadvantage is that you cannot predict the direction the crowd will go in or the motives of the crowd that you are following. If the crowd leaving the train at the stop earlier were wrong then you to would be better to have followed your own initiative.
Sigmund Freud had a theory on crowd behavior. He suggested that, ‘when a person is in a crowd the act differently to when a person would be thinking individually. The thoughts of the crowd would start to blend and form a new way of thinking and this there for would lead the crowd. Each member’s enthusiasm would be increased as a result, and one becomes less aware of the true nature of one’s actions.’
So what will you do next time the crowd goes one way. Will you follow of will you be the individual thinker?
Dr, Drury, J.(2010) Doctoral school blog. Crowd behaviour.retrived from (Feb 2012) http://doctoralschool.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/crowd-behaviour/
Anon. (2011) British Red Cross. Unrest in the city. Retrived from (Feb 2012) http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Teaching-resources/Lesson-plans/UK-unrest