Crowd Behavior: Notes

Topics: Decision theory, Sociological terms, Sociology Pages: 3 (510 words) Published: December 14, 2013
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Classic Theories attempted to analyse behaviour through emergant properties of the group

Gustav Le Bon (1895)
Man losing his maturity
Anonymity in crowds produces a man losing his personal and social responsibility

Freud described crowd behaviour as the unconscious ‘ID’ being released whilst the superego is supressed.

Early studies paved way for idea of deindividuation.

Zimbardo (1970) Created model of deindividuation
Anonymity = loss of personal responsibility
Social pressures to conform and behave relieved.
Diener (1980) added to zimbardos framework stating that in crowds we have poor self-monitoring and this in turn reduces capacity to think rationally

Zimbardo (1989)- Electric shock exp.

A multitude of research in differing settings has concluded the same hypothesis, that in the face of anonymity people are often likely to behaviour more erratically and impulsively (Singer et al 65; Diener 76; Festigan 52).

Criticisms to Classical theories

Anonymity
No strong research supports- Contradicting results even from pioneers of deindividuation theory (Diener 76; Zimbardo 69) Oservational studies showed that friends and families often gather together within crowds decreasing the sense of anonymity (Aveni 1977; McPhil 1991). Could be suggested that people do not lose their selves in crowds and rather behaviour is part of human decision making process in order to achieve the persons goals. Anonymity supposed to increase abnormal behaviour, however the behaviour is compared to the norms of the observer and not the norms applicable to the situation or event. The debunking of this myth shows the emphasises the role of social context within crowd behaviour, additionally it reaffirms the idea that behaviour must be understood on a personal level rather...
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