By Marlous van Ginneken
People often behave in groups in ways they would not think of doing on their own. Group behavior often leads to chaos and destruction. People behave in these negative kinds of ways, because in the group they feel anonymous and less responsible for their actions than when they are alone.
Welcome to the the Big Questions Project of the Applied Social Psychology course at Tilburg University. Here students will post opinion and theory to answer our Big Question! The topic of this blog is Hating the Herd. Students will try to provide answers on whether belonging to the herd is a good thing or not. The other blog can be found here.
By Anne Schless
Where cameras in most situations create awareness about one’s actions which in most emergency situations will result in helping behavior, why didn’t cameras have the same effect in Haren during the Project X party? In the town Haren, the Netherlands, there was a girl who wanted to throw a sweet 16 party for some of her friends. By accident, instead of creating a private event for her friends, she created a public event on Facebook, later dubbed by media “Project X Haren” after the movie Project X which was released earlier this year. Over 30,000 people responded to this event by clicking “Join”, which meant that her birthday bash had gotten a bit bigger than intended. Instead of it being a nice, happy, jolly go merry birthday party, the group turned into a real mob destroying many street signs, cars, even the local supermarket and it was all caught on tape. You are not going to tell me that everyone who was there condoned the actions of the troublemakers. There should have been some spectators that saw what the other people were doing, didn’t agree and could’ve intervened. Why didn’t they?
It all started with an invitation for a Sweet Sixteen Party-of Merthe in the dutch village of Haren. She posted the invitation for her birthday on the social networking site Facebook to her friends, but forgot to indicate that it was a private party. This small mistake had some serious consequences. Under the name “Project X Haren” the invitation got a life of its own. It was named after the movie: “Project X” in which 3 high school seniors throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves.
by Racles Bogdan
There have been times in our lives when we’ve heard the expression ‘if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do the same?’ from our parents or our teachers. We answered with ‘no’ most of the times. The sad fact is that, every now and then, without realizing why, we would jump with our friends. People follow people. It’s been like this for ages. The reason we blindly follow people is because we lose our sense of individuality and become part of a group’s mechanism. Most of the times, there are negative outcomes when this happens. Football fights, military units, witch trials, all of these are examples of why acting without individual thinking is wrong. You can do something about mob mentality.
People seem to help less when surrounded by others. Scientist found ways to decrease this effect, one of the ways to get people to help is to address them personally. It’s important that we bother because paramedics will fail to accomplish their goal, saving lives, if we allow this aggression to continue.