The psychology of crowd behavior has been studied for a long time. This is an interesting direction, because in such a structureless society each individual has similar emotional reactions that manifest in the other participants.
The possibility of the dissolution of individuality is born on the basis of these mechanisms, and the laws of mass always prevail over the inner aspirations of the human (as intelligent people in the crowd, allow yourself low behaviour, and the ability to critique cease to adequately assess the situation, etc.)
Gustave Le Bon, who was studying the crowd psychology, made the basis of his theory on the emotional mechanism of infection (transmission of a certain kind of emotions, states, thoughts) among the mass of people is similar to the epidemiological spread of the virus.
Accordingly, the more people involved in the interaction, the stronger the influence and faster the spread of emotional affect.
The scientist explained this effect of crowd psychology by the fact that personal responsibility is dissipated and in a sense of complete anonymity, people are able to manifest what they would have previously corrected in their behavior.
The main mechanisms of crowd formation and development of its specific qualities are circular reaction (increasing mutually directed emotional infection), as well as rumors.
It is through emotion that infection occurs. Accordingly, the stronger the emotions in the crowd, the faster other people become infected. And the precursor of emotion is curiosity. It begins the process of becoming involved in the crowd and gradually dissolving the individual.
It is possible to allocate the basic stages of formation of the crowd.
The formation of the core of the crowd.
The formation of a crowd begins with a certain core, which is the instigators.
The original core of the crowd can be formed under the influence of rationalistic considerations and set itself quite definite goals. But in the future, the core grows spontaneous. The crowd increases, taking in people who, it would seem, had nothing in common with each other before.
Excited by this event, the individual who joins the group is ready to lose some of his usual composure and receive exciting information from the object of interest. A circular reaction begins, encouraging the audience to show similar emotions and meet new emotional needs through mental interaction.
The circular reaction is the first stage of crowd formation and functioning.
The circling process. The second stage begins simultaneously with the circling process, during which the senses become even more acute and there is a willingness to respond to information received from those present. Internal whirling based on the continuing circular reaction increases. Excitement also increases. People are predisposed not only to joint, but also to immediate action.
The appearance of a new common object of attention. The process of whirling is preparing a third phase of the formation of the crowd. This stage is the emergence of a new common object of attention, which focuses the impulses, feelings and imagination of people.
If initially the general object of interest was an exciting event that gathered people around it, then at this stage the new object of attention becomes the image created in the process of whirling in the conversations of the crowd participants. This image is the result of the creativity of the participants themselves. It is shared by all, gives individuals a common orientation, and acts as an object of shared behavior. The appearance of such an imaginary object becomes a factor that unites the crowd into a single whole.
Activation of individuals through arousal. The last stage in the formation of a crowd is the activation of individuals when stimulated through the excitation of impulses corresponding to an imaginary object. This (suggestion-based) stimulation occurs most often as a result of the leader’s leadership. It encourages the individuals who make up the crowd to take concrete, often aggressive, actions. Among the crowd usually stand out instigators, who deploy active activity in the crowd and gradually guide its behavior.
The core of the crowd, or instigators — are subjects whose task is to form a crowd and use its destructive energy for their intended purposes.
Participants of the crowd — subjects who joined it as a result of identifying their value orientations with the direction of the crowd’s actions. They are not the instigators, but they are in the sphere of influence of the crowd and actively participate in its actions. Particularly dangerous are aggressive individuals who join the crowd solely because of the opportunity to release their neurotic, often sadistic, tendencies.
Among the participants of the crowd fall and conscientiously deluded. These subjects join the crowd because of an erroneous perception of the situation, they are driven, for example, by a falsely understood principle of justice.
Ordinary people join the crowd. They don’t show much activity. They are attracted to the excess as an exciting spectacle that diversifies their boring, dreary existence.
In the crowd, highly suggestible people find a place, who succumb to the General infectious mood. They give themselves up to natural phenomena without resistance.
Participants in the crowd are just curious, watching from the side. They do not interfere in the course of events, but their presence increases the mass and increases the influence of the crowd element on the behavior of its participants.