Mob Mentality

Topics: Asch conformity experiments, Salem witch trials, Milgram experiment Pages: 4 (1266 words) Published: December 6, 2011
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. However, “herd mentality” does not always have to be violent, it can be defensive (Rivers). 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...
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