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The Phenomenon Of Mass Hysteria - Society
The Phenomenon Of Mass Hysteria - Society

Video: The Phenomenon Of Mass Hysteria - Society

Video: The Phenomenon Of Mass Hysteria - Society
Video: Aspects of Collective Behavior: Fads, Mass Hysteria, and Riots | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy 2023, April

Rushing in a herd, in a crowd and in a crowd

And getting excited infinitely, It is useful to remember that the priests

We are later beaten separately.

I. Guberman

What is mass hysteria?

A person, as a rule, positions himself as a person. Moreover, the personality is quite independent in judgments and assessments, more or less adequately responding to external stimuli. But as people immerse themselves in a group that grows in numbers, their critical thinking decreases significantly.

People dissolve into the crowd. They are affectively ignited and produce mass psychosis, the extreme form of which is mass hysteria.

Mass hysteria - demonstrative and acute emotional reactions (joy, sadness, anger, hatred) of a large number of people

Simultaneously experienced general ideas, attitudes and assessments are transformed into identical forms of verbal and non-verbal activity. This contributes to the intensification of hysteria, bringing it to an absolute boil. In this state, each person becomes part of a humanoid mass, a human herd, strives to snuggle up to its middle, where it is supposedly safe and warm.

It should be noted that not every large group of people can generate hysterical psychosis, since it occurs only where there are affective states or extreme forms of acute emotional arousal.

An excursion into history

The problem of mass hysterical psychosis (induced delusion that simultaneously possesses a large number of people) is now very acute. This is due to the fact that mass phenomena in the era of the dominance of information technologies have the opportunity to be replicated and multiplied many times over.

With the help of the media, both individuals and large social groups are involved in mass hysteria. All those who are not satisfied with the current international, political, economic, legal, cultural, religious and other aspects

In the history of the development of civilization, manifestations of mass hysteria have arisen more than once. For example, it is well known about such manifestations of mass hysteria as:

  • dance fever in 1518 in Strasbourg;
  • the report of the invasion of the Martians in the United States in 1938;
  • mass psychosis in the era of totalitarianism in Italy, Germany, the USSR in the 30s – 40s of the XX century;
  • the Nigerian epidemic of disappearing genitals in 1990;
  • an epidemic of laughter in 1962 in Tanganyika;
  • the shock of the Pokemon in 1997 in Japan;
  • television hypnosis of the mass viewer from Chumak and Kashpirovsky in the last years of the USSR;
  • the movement of the "White Brotherhood" in the 80s-90s of the twentieth century in Russia and Ukraine, etc.

Causes and psychological mechanisms

The emergence of mass hysterical psychosis becomes possible when people unite around emotionally rich information, which leads to the generation of strong affects.

Such news, as a rule, either has real ground (for example, a fire that resulted in mass casualties), or is the result of fake information stuffing (for example, an alien attack on earthlings).

Moreover, such a psychosis occurs against the background of the general health of most people. However, these people have increased suggestibility, have a low level of critical thinking, which does not allow them to adequately respond to affective stimuli.

The psychological mechanisms of mass hysteria are the so-called "circular reaction", as well as suggestion, infection and imitation.

A circular reaction is a circulation in a circle of emotional states that are experienced by a mass of people, which provides "emotional whirling", that is, the constant self-infection of people with actual emotion

That infection

People are "infected" with negative emotions such as anger, disgust, fear, sadness, or positive emotions of interest, joy, and surprise. Whirling provides a constant increase in the amplitude of emotional stress and does not let go of those who have plunged into mass psychosis.

As a result, this leads to the fact that mass hysteria is reincarnated into a kind of image, which is installed in the form of a way of thinking or a mode of action, which presupposes specific forms of activity on the principle of "fight or flight".

Infection is the most ancient psychological mechanism of mass psychology in general and mass psychosis in particular.

Infection is the process of transferring an emotional state from one person to another, taking place at the psychophysiological level of contact, bypassing comprehension, reflection and critical attitude

Infection acts as a rallying factor, which, with strong intensity, leads to the disintegration of role structures that take place in social groups, and generates crowd effects.

Fashion - a glimpse of herd instincts

Imitation goes back to a physiological phenomenon that is common to all herd and especially higher animals, but can take specifically human forms, such as, for example, fashion. This is a common imitation act in which the activity of some is repeated in the actions of others.

However, if animals act instinctively, then a person does not always carry out such acts. But it is in the state of mass psychosis that we observe the reflex imitation of people to each other.

Types of mass hysteria

The great physiologist V. Bekhterev argued that the masses, seized by hysteria, behave much more stupid than a mentally unbalanced person, and lose the features of intelligent beings.

The manifestations of mass hysteria can be roughly divided into two types. The first type is made up of hysterical psychoses, which are installed in the form of a “crowd”. And the second type is manifestations in the form of information communities - TV viewers, users of social networks, and so on.

In the first case, we are dealing with the fact that at one time Gustav Le Bon defined not just a collection of people, but as a separate organism, accidentally and temporarily formed, irrational and completely destructive. According to the figurative expression of the scientist, "the crowd is like leaves raised by a hurricane and carried in different directions, and then falling to the ground."

And Sigmund Freud defined the crowd as a kind of human mass that is under the influence of hypnosis. That is, a crowd is both a spontaneous and an organized, but temporary gathering of a large number of people who are united by a single emotional center of attention (emotional trigger), the impulse of which causes identical reactions in them.

In the second case, mass psychosis arises as a result of people receiving relevant and emotionally rich information, which is replicated by the media and arouses interest even among those who are not interested in it. The variety of "polarized masses" is the basis for the emergence of opinions and sentiments, which become stereotyped and give appropriate forms of activity to other people and social groups.

Today this is becoming especially relevant, since television, and recently the Internet has taken possession of an increasing number of users, which intensifies the manifestations of mass hysteria due to the greater coverage of the “suffering” and the replication of relevant, affectively colored information in almost unlimited quantities.

And the whole world is not enough

As a result of globalization processes, mass hysteria can affect a very large number of people located in different parts of the world. For example, the various protest movements that have recently shaken the modern world have become possible as a result of their round-the-clock coverage in the electronic media.

A large number of people inclined to different beliefs, with weakened volitional control and increased sensitivity (infantilism), are connected to affective manifestations, without especially delving into the essence of mass protests.

Such people become objects of influence of the dominant adepts who, with the help of the media, impose certain ideas on them. Ideas that have taken possession of the masses become catalysts of mass hysteria, after which no evidence of their absurdity is accepted, but, on the contrary, attempts to refute the “infected” cause only aggression, bitterness and violence.

How not to drown in mass hysteria

A person who "dives into the mass" is doomed, like an unlucky swimmer who finds himself in the middle of the ocean without means of escape. Therefore, in order to remain a sane person, to adequately assess what is happening and steadfastly resist outside influence, you should never "immerse yourself" in the crowd.

It must be remembered that when a completely normal person nevertheless falls into the environment of an insane public, he also has every chance of "contracting hysteria" and not breaking out of its "hot embrace."

Protection from the crowd is the way of not merging with it

You should never immerse yourself in the thick of things, where mass psychosis rules. You should not look into the eyes of those who have already "contracted the virus of hysteria."

Typically, the "infected" produce a "bipolar gaze" while gazing at others with delight and hatred. If there is a desire to participate or observe the crowd, it is always necessary to keep to its edge, and it is better to be at some distance from it. A crowd infected with hysterical psychosis should be visible from the outside in all its great ugliness.

It is important to use information from various sources, limit the viewing of mass inducements (television, network information resources), trust not affectively rich reports (such as "crucified boy" or "raped girl"), but only facts and rational argumentation.

Thus, today it is known that mass hysteria mainly affects people with a low level of critical thinking and emotional intelligence, socially immature, infantile and with an unstable psyche

Read also on the topic:

  • Chained by one chain. Crowd psychology
  • Children of the Underground. About the fear of the subway

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