Have you ever gone along with the crowd and wondered why you did afterward? I think we’ve all been there at one point or another. Called mob mentality, it usually occurs when you get caught up in the actions, ideas, or beliefs of a crowd and follow along with what they’re doing, even if it goes against your own morals and values. Sometimes, mob mentality can lead to positive results if the leader has good intentions. However, all too often, mob mentality can lead to shaming, violence, and destruction of property and reputation. The good news is you don’t have to be a slave to this kind of negative mob mentality. All it takes is a few simple steps to break free. Ready to find out about mob mentality and how to not participate? Here are 25 Crushing Facts about Mob Mentality (and How to Break Free from It).
A Common Identity
For a time, a mob forms a singular identity around a sole cause. When British police tried to maintain order and enclosed mobs in one space together, not letting them leave until things settled down, they found this only reinforced their mob mentality and identity. Harsh policing of mobs tends to backfire, causing the mob to feel their rights are legitimate and being trampled on.
Once you’ve conformed to the mob, you will likely not think individually anymore and do whatever the mob desires. This kind of thinking has been coined, “groupthink” and can be very dangerous and lead to violent rioting. Often in groupthink, people in mobs will make wildly irrational decisions, leading to looting, toppling over cars, and causing all sorts of damage to property.
The French Revolution
When the poverty stricken in France had enough of the Aristocrats calling the shots, they rose up into a violent mob, causing all sorts of atrocities, including the beheading of 50,000 people. Sadly, that was just the tip of the iceberg. They also executed people by firing squad, public beating, and tossing people from boats with weights on. There were no legitimate trials. People were basically accused and murdered.
People who don’t have strong opinions about a subject have been found to be easily swayed into mob mentality. When people don’t do the research or try to think for themselves, they mimic the group, instead. It’s called “social default.”
The Stock Market
While many believe the stock market rises and falls on supply and demand, what they don’t tell you is it’s more based on stress, emotion, and mob mentality. In that way, stock market crashes become self-fulfilling prophecies. Marketing professor Daniel J. Howard once said, “Stock market bubbles and crashes are caused by herd mentality. It’s scary to me because we make our own heaven, and we make our own hell.”