The interesting website “You Are Not So Smart” published a couple of days ago a post on the hivemind: the one leading to deindividuation in groups. Deindividuation makes people shout at someones standing on top of a building to jump and then filming the death fall or tweeting the action. Three ingredients lead to deindividuation: anonymity, group size and arousal (being aroused by the environment and feeling aroused).
The Misconception: People who riot and loot are scum who were just looking for an excuse to steal and be violent.
The Truth: You are are prone to losing your individuality and becoming absorbed into a hivemind under the right conditions.
When a crowd gathers near a suicidal jumper something terrible is unleashed.
In Seattle in 2001, a 26-year-old woman who had recently ended a relationship held up traffic for a little too long as she considered the implications of leaping to her death. As motorists began to back-up on the bridge and become irate, they started yelling “Jump, bitch, jump!” until she did.
Cases like this aren’t unusual. …
Psychologists call this phenomenon deindividuation …. In certain situations, you can expect to be de-individualized. Unlike conformity, in which you adopt the ideas and behaviors of others for acceptance and inclusion, deindividuation is mostly unconscious and more likely to lead to mischief. As psychologist David G. Myers said, it is “doing together what you would not do alone.”