Mob Theory: The Psychology Behind Behaviour of a Huge Crowd

Mob Theory: The Psychology Behind Behaviour of a Huge Crowd

Violence is never the answer, nor its solution to a problem, yet humankind tends to be easily susceptible to falling prey to it. Violence never proves to be fruitful or beneficial to any it is capable of damaging lives and resources and tends to cause damage that exists beyond the physical realm of society.
The majority of the widespread violent incident said to have erupted in groups of huge crowds or mob.

A mob is defined as a large, disorganized group of people who are grouped for a common reason or purpose with shared emotions. They often act on collective behavior based upon the group which can be violent or either peaceful and calm. Mobs are formed for various purposes such as peaceful protest, activism, and violent incidents such as riots and to cause unrest.

What does mob theory say?

Mob theory is also known as crowd psychology or group behavior. It is an interesting topic that seeks to explain and understand how people behave when they become part of a larger group or crowd. Mobs have played significant roles in shaping major special and political events that occurred in society throughout history. The try to understand mob theory aims to explain how psychology plays a role in the working of mobs and an individual’s behavior within a crowd that leads to the development of both beneficial and harmful destruction results.

The Power of the Crowd lies in numbers!

The behavior of a person in a crowd can vary from the way they behave alone. Someone a person is willing to do something under the influence of a crowd which usually won’t even think to do when they are acting alone. This phenomenon, often known as “the power of the crowd,” can occur due to the following psychological factors:

1) Anonymity:

When a person is within it gives them a sense of anonymity that is being unknown and unnamed. It reduces the personal responsibility of the person’s action because they are acting on behalf of the present crowd, not alone. This lack of accountability and responsibility can lead to take risky behaviors in a person who is now highly willing or conform and belong to the group’s rules and norms.

2) Deindividuation or Deindividualization:

Deindividuation occurs when a person loses their sense of self-awareness and personality identity when they are present in a crowd. The reduced consciousness of self-awareness can allow them to act on their impulsive and controlled actions which they previously suppressed.

3) Social Contagion: the spread of information:

Contagious means anything spreads rapidly from one place to another, such as disease spreading virus, emotions, and behavior of human beings, a piece of information, etc. Social contagion is known as the spread of an emotion, idea, or behavior from one person of a crowd to the members of the entire crowd. Rumors are examples of a result of social contagion. Increased emotions in a group can quickly lead a person to follow suit and use this intense emotion to act recklessly.

4) Group Polarization:

    Group Polarization occurs when the group’s decisions, ideas, and opinions become more extreme and intense than the individual present in a group. This occurs when group members strengthen each other’s ideas and beliefs causing the boost to the original ideas.

    Factors that Can Influence a Mob’s Behaviour
    1) Emotional Contagion:

    Strong emotions, ideas, and thoughts whether positive or negative can easily spread among crowds. These strong emotions fuel the collection actions of different members of the groups and determine the whole mob’s behavior and action.

    2) Leadership:

      Mobs usually have leaders who are informal and unofficial but can strongly influence the actions of the members of the group in a particular direction. The decision of this leadership can shape a crowd’s main objection and goal and their level of organization.

      3) Group Identity:

      The group has a shared sense of identity among the people which unites them together and creates a sense of unity, and solidarity, leading to a strong willingness to work together as one.

      4) Perception of Threat:

        The belief in a common threat among groups can help the act collectively against their common source of fear. This is the most frequent reason for violence in society because people believe that a certain group or person poses a threat to their community or group and must be destroyed. This belief could arise in the form of social injustices, political injustices, or economic problems. Such beliefs are usually the cause of ethnic cleansing and communal riots that have occurred throughout history.

        Positive and Negative outcome of Mob Behavior

        Mob behavior can cause both positive and negative impacts on society.

        Positive outcome:

        Social Movements: Social movements such as Peaceful protests and movements social causes, and government rules and regulations, can lead to positive changes, in society, such as civil rights development, fighting for labor rights ad environmental causes that could be beneficial for the society and world.

        Negative Outcomes:

        Violence and Riots: Uncontrolled mobs are the primary reason for erupting violence and riots. The huge number of people in the crowd and their anger could cause them to be a destrucive, causing damage to properly, lives of people

        Panic and Stampedes: In an event or place where huge crowds are present there are high chances that minor misunderstanding or excitement could huge panic among the crowd which can lead to a stampede.

        Mob theory is an interesting study that helps us to understand the complex behavior of humans among huge crowds and groups and their collective behavior and action can either cause damage to society or lead to positive change that is beneficial for the whole society.

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