Friday, January 8, 2021
How do people move toward a mindset that demands or acquiesces to conformity? For some, when individuals become part of an exclusive group (their perception), their brains can experience a decrease in their personal senses of self, a decrease in being self-aware. Some call this deindividuation. In such a state, they are less likely to “conform” to generally accepted restraints and inhibitions on behavior and more likely to gravitate toward whatever behaviors the group espouses. The energy generated in a group can also contribute to emotional excitement. This can lead to behaviors being not only condoned by the group—that in other circumstances that would be considered unacceptable—but required. The larger the group and the more anonymity, the more some members perceive violent actions as belong to the group rather than to their own behaviors. Thus, they may engage in behaviors that they would never engage in if alone: smashing windows, setting fires, overturning vehicles, even to drinking poison (Jones’s Town) as a group, or whatever else the leader promotes. The behavior of the “herd” gradually become their new mental set, their new normal.