Sources and Consequences of Mob Mentality

This sample of an academic paper on Mob Mentality Essay reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.

History tends to repeat itself and while the context may differ, the causative factors are most likely the same. One repetitive action throughout history is religious persecution, two examples include; Nazi Germany and the Salem witch trials. While the groups being persecuted had almost nothing in common the causes of the persecution were very similar: mob mentality.

The responsibility is shared and thus responsibility is diluted. Being in a mob alleviates people’s sense of morality because they are followers without conscious choice.

There are differing opinions on why people participate in mobs and the basis for what results in unlawful and immoral acts. While some believe that mob mentality occurs because of our intrinsic primal instincts that derive from anger and fear, it is actually an external force of passionate persuasion that results in mob mentality.

There are many beliefs about the causes of mob mentality; there are some who support the primal instincts hypothesis of mob mentality.

Christyl Rivers, an Ecopsychologist who earned her Masters in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University, believes that humans adopt some kind of “herd mentality” when in large groups (Rivers). This herd mentality causes people to lose “control of their usual inhibitions”; they do not follow their morals and sometimes act violently (Rivers). This mentality is sometimes seen at “soccer riot[s]” where property is being destroyed and spectators mindlessly join in.

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However, “herd mentality” does not always have to be violent, it can be defensive (Rivers).

Why Does Mob Mentality Occur

Often “defensive or protective circles spontaneously form against an adversary” where everyone in the group is set upon a common goal of protecting something and other thoughts and emotions are cast aside (Rivers). In addition to Christyl Rivers, Dossie Terrell, a state worker for the Social Security Administration and the Federal Child Support Enforcement Program, also believes that primal instincts are the cause of mob mentality. She believes that when conflict arises, bystanders “will give way to their primal instincts and jump into unplanned skirmishes” (Terrell).

Humans are more evolved than other species accompanying us on earth and yet they still retain the same instincts. lose the ability to rationalize situations? Mob mentality is not caused by our primal instincts; instead it is caused by an external force of passionate persuasion. While there are many beliefs about the causes of mob mentality the actual cause may be an external force of passionate persuasion. One example of this is Nazi Germany. How was Hitler able to command and entire country with minimal opposition? It was simple, he used passionate persuasion to coerce many into believing what he was saying was correct. and through “the seven devices of Nazi propaganda” Hitler was able to mold the minds of an entire nation into taking part in the religious persecution of the Jews (Yellowthunder 6). The seven devices of Nazi propaganda, “name calling, card stacking, testimonial, flag waving, band wagon, transfer, and glittering generalities” persuaded Germany to retaliate against the Jews for something they did not do (Yellowthunder 7). Hitler blamed the status of Germany on the Jews and was so profoundly firm about his opinion that others began to follow him until most of Germany took part in the killing of the Jews.

In addition to the propaganda Yellowthunder writes about the “nature of human social dynamics”. There is always dominance and subordination in society (Yellowthunder 2). In the situation where one has power over many, mob mentality occurs because people feel insignificant to the point where they do not question the orders of others. Many people today say that this is a lie but studies such as the Milgram Experiment where scientists tested to see how test subjects react to directions from authority figures even when those directs caused harm to others, have proven otherwise.

Sixty percent of all the test subjects went up to the maximum voltage of 450-volts and many others came close (Yellowthunder 7). This experiment proved that people often listen to authority even when they know what they are doing is wrong. All of these examples including Nazi Germany and the Milgram experiment show how mob mentality occurs. It occurs because others perseveringly impose their opinions on others until the point where they mindlessly follow the leader.

In addition to the religious persecution in Nazi Germany, groups such as the lynching mobs in Salem, Massachusetts were subject to mob mentality due to external forces. Glenn Greenwald, a US lawyer who graduated from New York University Law School believes this is true. In his article The Lynch Mob Mentality, Greenwald compares the mob mentality then to mob mentality today. During the Salem Witch Trials mob mentality occurred because “an authority figure appears and affixes a demonizing Other label to someone’s forehead” (Greenwald).

Because someone with authority can indoctrinate his or her own ideas into the public’s ideas and it allows mob mentality to form and spread. No one questions what he or she is doing because they do not feel like it is their fault and therefore, they do not feel responsible. There is also the idea that people just follow the crowd because they are too scared to do otherwise. People conform because they are afraid to be different, so in the case of the Salem Witch Trials many people may have gone along with the lynchings because they were too afraid to say otherwise.

Solomon Asch, a renowned Polish psychologist performed a “study of conformity” where test subjects hear actors say wrong answers to a question and when it was their turn to answer he recorded whether or not they answered the correct answer or the conformed and said the wrong answer (Solomon). In this study “37 or the 50 subjects conformed to the majority” (Solomon). This study suggests that even though people in society are capable of free thinking, they often conform and enter a mob mentality state because of an external force telling them to do so.

Today even though society’s technology is more advanced, the same external forces that once caused religious persecution in the past continue today. While the present day population understands how mob mentality is formed, they do not fight it because they cannot, or if they can, they choose not to. For example, in North Korea, Kim Jong-Il rules a country because the Korean army follows his every command without questioning. Mob mentality lets him rule North Korea and while people everywhere attempt to shed light on this idea, the North Korean people continue to pay no heed.

Mob mentality occurs in everyday life because of external factors that results in the subordination of people.

Works Cited

Christyl, Rivers. “The psychology of mob behavior and crowd control. ” n. pag. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. <http://www. helium. com/items/1977174-psychology-of-mob-behavior-and-cro wd-control-hyseria-bubbles-groupthink-crowds-delusions. > Greenwald, Glenn. “The Lynch Mob Mentality. ” CommonDreams. org. N. p. , 5 Dec. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. <http://www. commondreams. org/view/2010/02/05-6>. “Solomon Asch experiment (1958) A study of conformity. Age-of-the-sage. org. N. p. , n. d. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. http://www. age-of-the-sage. org/psychology/social/asch_conformity. html. Terrell, Dossie M. “The psychology of mob behavior and crowd control. ” n. pag. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. < http://www. helium. com/items/1842456-mob-behavior-crowd-control-animal-versus-human-behavior-internet-mob-mentality. > Yellowthunder, Lois. “THE BEAST. ” Hsdinstitute. org. Human Systems Dynamics Institute, n. d. Web. 16 Dec. 2010. <http://www. hsdinstitute. org/learnmore/library/articles/THE_BEAST. pdf. >

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Sources and Consequences of Mob Mentality. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Sources and Consequences of Mob Mentality
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