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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

PSYCH 2310 – February 28, 2013 Crowd Behaviour (Referring Chapter 10) The History of Crowd - Gustav Le Bon (1896) o Suggested that in crowds people submerge in a very primitive mind o When people are part of a crowd they submerge in this identity, in this activity that is less than civilized o He observed in late 19 century in Paris, people who were rioting – he saw people who were part of this riot, they are barbaric, they are not logical and engage in aggressive behaviour . Group Mind in Crowd - Le Bon described three characteristics of crowds: o Anonymity  You are anonymous in a crowd  People in this collection or in the presence of another, they become anonymous  When people are not known by their name, their social status, etc. there is a diminishment of sense of responsibility o Suggestibility  Compares this notion of suggestibility is like a hypnotic stage – they are more likely to do what they are told – in a crowd, people become a group mind that is very suggestible – o Contagion  Contaigiousness – when you are in this group mind, it is contagious, it spreads n the crowd like a disease – if it is destructive – most people in the crowd become destructive – no one assumes responsibility for their behaviour - Le Bon argues that crowds are negative overall – Crowd is a source of a power and we can control it. Politicians can control the power of the crowd in terms of their own benefit, or their own goals. - Collectivistic perspective Alternative View - Allport was highly critical of Le Bon and argued: o The individual in the crowd behaves just as he would behave alone only more so. o Individualistic perspective o When you are part of the crowd, that behaviour intensifies. That’s what Allport argues is the different. Allport suggested that in corwd, people reveal their true nature. [Overlap between two perspectives: o Both school of thoughts are critical of crowd – both groups and views are dismissive of crowd – they believe that crowd is a negative thing – Le Bon makes people mad, crowd makes people bad. Allport says that mad and bad people join that crowd. ] PSYCH 2310 – February 28, 2013 People in Group - social facilitation o when people in a group are influenced - social loafing o someone else is going to - deindividuation o refers to loss of sense of individual responsibility and reduction of inhibition due to joining a group  Zimbardo’s Prison study (1972){need to know all of these experiments, the in’s and out’s of these classical studies}  Social psychologist  How the roles we play shape our attitudes and behaviours  Stanford Prison Experiment – how the power of the situation can influence can change behaviour  Mock prison  Male college students – 15 bucks a day – 100 interested – interviewed – 2 dozen of the most normal people were chosen – these are ordinary normal college students  By flip of coin, they are guard vs. prisoner – no systematic difference between guard or prison condition  Prisoners guys – guards were to be called “MR Correctional Officer” – wore chains, and were referred to by numbers – they were routinely woken up in the middle of the night and asked to perform humiliating tasks  Guard guys – come back on Saturday – wanted them to feel like they were really guards – wore outfits, had weapons they were suppose to use as a touch as a “hit” rather than actually hitting them – guards told not to use violence but symbolic (fake) violence  Within a few days, these students became ‘prisoners’ and ‘guards’ – experiment had to end earlier then expected because people had to leave due to emotional distress – people would say “I wouldn’t have done that”, but it’s not true. You would have – we want to believe that we are good and we maintain that as long as we are not in the situation – describing how you would behave tells you nothing about the reality – put into the situation, you see the power of the situation. The power of rules. Experiment was unethical in that they suffered. They had physical and emotional abuse. I
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