“How is Our Behaviour Influenced By the Size of the Group Around Us?” Comments, Page 1

Just click to return to the article “How is Our Behaviour Influenced By the Size of the Group Around Us?”.

4 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “How is Our Behaviour Influenced By the Size of the Group Around Us?”

  1. Hi Evan

    Many things about this article are thought proking and I think I have dozens of answers/examples that shift the dynamics back and forth. As in domestic violence. What we find out has gone on behind closed doors can be horrific. But the possibility seems to remain that the same perpetrator would be able to enact horrofic action in a crowd, people unknown to him. Maybe simply because he had the ability to reduce people to the labels you talk about. If that’s the premise in his own home/small circle, just a woman, to be abused. What might change in this person if ‘just women’ were protesting some sort of persecution publicly and he saw the same as in his own home, women to be controlled, opened fire on the group of them? I don’t know if that’s likely or not. I guess scientists would be able to define the difference in criminal and crime.

    What really intrigued me was your question about being human in a large crowd. And my own surprising experience.

    Two years ago the Dalai Lama was to visit the city I live. I’m not a Buddhist, nor particulary religious. I don’t keep up with the Dalai Lama, his writings or teachings. I do however respect him, his influence, his ideology. I am more aware of, than specifically involved in his teachings.

    Yet, I decided to go to his outdoor public appearance, a crowd of tens of thousands expected to gather. I hadn’t been to an event like that in years. Huge throngs of crowds and I are not generally a good mix any longer. I’d rather not. Didn’t even know what or how much I’d be able to take in in a situation like this.

    I did go and found myself moved beyond what I could believe. I wept silently throughout his talk. He was engaging, funny, anything but solemn. Down to earth has to be the best overall description.

    I was surprised because I rarely weep in private let alone in a crowd of so many. Not even certain what touched me so deeply, other than the Dalai Lama’s ability to be ‘out there’, allow us to see him not a persona. The other observation I had of my own behavior/reaction was it was ok to be this person with strangers. Honestly very private moments right in the midst of this gathering. And it did not go unnoticed by nearby folks or me. I’m also sure it unnerved some at their reaction.

    Lots more to think about here, Evan.

    Good article. Thanks Sarah for making Evan ask himself!

    1. Thanks Barbara. Your experience is remarkable and all too rare. I think we know lots about bad behaviour in large groups but very little about the kind of experience that you had. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. My own experience with aggressive personalities is that the only factor they consider is what they can get away with, what other people will tolerate. That’s all that’s “real” to them. Even in a crowd, this is their only consideration. For example in a crowd of morally challenged people, they will try to bully a person to impress the onlookers. But in a crowd of civilized people, they will lay low and respect others rights. I have seen this often.

    1. Hi Ken, I do think I have occassionally come across these kinds of people.

      It is interesting that they can adapt so readily to the kind of crowd I think.

      I guess these kinds of people will be doing things in private that they wouldn’t do in a civilised crowd – or have I misunderstood you?

      Thanks for your comment.

The comment form is currently closed.

Overseen by an international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe, CounsellingResource.com provides peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. BlogsInMind.com provides archived posts that have been retired from the main CounsellingResource.com blog Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life.

Copyright © 2002-2022. All Rights Reserved.