Mob Mentality And The Dangers Of It

What do the Salem witch trials and the Detroit Michigan Tigers World Series Riot both have in common? Both these events are examples of Mob mentality, also known as crowd/herd mentality. Now, one might be wondering, what is mob mentality? Whom does it affect? Why is it bad? And how does mob mentality work?

Mob mentality is how individuals seeing others actions can influence their actions to do something they otherwise wouldn't do because they are in an emotional rather than a rational mindset. There are three theories of why mob mentality is easily adopted by large groups of people: Contagion Theory, Convergence Theory, and Emergent-Norm Theory. The Contagion Theory is how crowds easily become unpredictable and dangerous. They can employ a hypnotic impact that results in irrational behavior among themselves. Convergence Theory is how individuals with the same values join together by focusing on a number of choices as possibilities, then choosing the “right” answer from the choices. Emergent-Norm Theory is when a group of people with the same mindset share anonymity and feelings which lead to overall group behavior. The anonymity of the internet allows people the freedom of submitting to mob mentality with ease, they are released from the social restraints that would prevent them in a face-to-face environment. Mob mentality affects everyone, whether people notice it or not.

Mob mentality is very common, most had probably have already experienced it without noticing, It affects everyone, although usually, the most affected are adolescents, the reason behind this, it's because “A teenager’s brain is only about 80 percent developed,” says Gurinder Dabhia, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic, Rancho Bernardo. “Teens have extra unconnected synapses in the area where risk-assessment occurs and this gets in the way of judgment. In addition, the prefrontal cortex is underdeveloped, which makes teens more sensitive to peer pressure and risky, impulsive behavior.” This means since the adolescent's brain is not fully developed, a part of their brain where risk assessment happens is not working, and gets in the way of adolescents’ judgments, which leads to adolescents being more susceptible to peer pressure and risky behavior. Mob mentality starts with peer pressure, which is influenced by members of one's peer group. There are six types of peer pressure: Spoken, Unspoken, Direct, Indirect, Negative, and Positive. Mob mentality peer pressure is usually unspoken, which is when usually an ¨adolescent is exposed to the actions of one or more peers and is left to choose whether they want to follow along. This could take the form of fashion choices, personal interactions, or ‘joining’ types of behavior (clubs, cliques, teams, etc.)¨. Most teenagers lack the mental maturity to control wild or sudden impulses and make smart long-term choices. Because of this, many teens are easily influenced by older/more popular schoolmates/peers. Peer pressure affects everyone and can lead to Mob mentality, which most of the time it causes negative actions, sometimes it's harmless and sometimes good.

Most people have done something wrong, that they otherwise wouldn't have done, but did because everyone else was doing it. It's okay if they have, everyone has, it's called Mob mentality, it's how people can be influenced by everyone around them, people assume since everyone is doing it, it's the right thing to do, or its okay to do it. Most riots are caused by Mob mentality, remember the Detroit Michigan Tigers World Series Riot mentioned earlier? That was caused by a mob mentality. The Detroit Michigan Tigers World Series Riot, October 14, 1984. 1 man dead, 3 women raped, 34 arrests, looted stores, 1 police car torched and 4 others severely damaged. Bad, right? One might be thinking, what would lead a person to do that? Well, Mob mentality would, you see, when someone gets influenced by mob mentality they lose one sense of self, they are now not individuals, they are part of a whole, and they lose their sense of identity, they go with the flow without thinking of precaution and dangers. Now mob mentality isn't always bad it has to do with emotions. When mob mentality takes place, it is bad usually but there are other types of mob mentality. For one herd mentality is another word for mob mentality, herd mentality can be following a trend, to fit in; another is clapping when everyone else is clapping. Herd Mentality is like the bandwagon fallacy, people do something because everyone else is doing it. There was a common trend in the 1980s that is popular again, mom jeans. It's not bad to be in a bandwagon or fall into herd mentality, well as long as it's not harmful or violent. Mob/Herd mentality can also be good, for example, all of their friends get good grades, read a lot or eat something healthier than stale pizza and flat monster energy, they might think, ¨I should do that too¨.

Mob mentality, how people can be influenced to adapt behaviors, like the Salem Witch Trials of 1693 in Salem Village, Massachusetts. Anyone can fall into mob mentality, most probably already had, next time one does something in a group of people, think, “why am I doing this?” “Am I doing it because everyone else is doing it?” If so they just experienced Mob mentality. 

16 December 2021
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