Mob mentality meaning

What Is Mob Mentality?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 25, 2021

In this Article

  • Degrees of Mob Mentality
  • Causes
  • What Are the Signs?
  • How to Avoid Mob Mentality

Mob mentality, herd mentality, pack mentality, groupthink, or crowd psychology — the concept has many names. These all boil down to the same idea: Individuals are influenced by a larger group. Regardless of whether that group includes people in your class, your neighborhood, or an entire nation, you may experience mob mentality.

In the 1950s, researchers conducted a famous conformity experiment that showed how readily people conform or change their behavior to match social norms. It involved:

  • A single participant was put in a room with seven undercover accomplices.
  • Asch presented the group with four lines, and the goal was to determine which two lines were the same length.
  • Even though the answer was obvious, the undercover accomplices purposefully gave an incorrect answer.
  • The real participant answered last.
  • The intent of the experiment was to see if the real participant would give a false answer — conforming with the accomplices — even if the correct answer was clear.

‌The results were surprising. About one-third of the real participants answered incorrectly. They conformed to the wrong answer given by the rest of the group.

Why did they do it? When the participants heard the incorrect answer, some started to believe the incorrect answer was actually correct. The participants conformed mainly because they wanted to fit in with the rest of the group and thought the rest of the group was more informed than they were.

Degrees of Mob Mentality

The Asch conformity experiments were artificially created scenarios that you probably won’t encounter in real life. However, you probably have regular chances to get caught up in mob mentality without realizing it.

Everyday mob mentality. Conforming to the group is rarely conscious or dramatic. In your everyday life, consider how often you go to specific places, watch specific shows, or eat certain foods because your friends do. This process makes decision-making easier and keeps you from standing out in a group.

Crowd behavior. Public groups and mobs are the most obvious examples of mob mentality. Whether gathering to grieve, protest, or cheer on a sports team, a crowd can quickly adopt a group mentality.

One of the dangers of mob mentalities is the type of influence it can have. According to research about mob mentality, a small population within the mob makes the informed decisions that other people conform to. The larger the group gets, the fewer informed members there are.

This situation can become dangerous. As a crowd’s perceptions and actions change and conform, an event can become violent. However, with organized leadership, a crowd’s beliefs can be informed and directed in a more appropriate way.


You might get caught up in mob mentality for a few reasons. If disagreeing with the group poses a risk, you are more likely to stay silent. That risk can be small, like getting dirty looks, or large, like being punished.

You probably won’t conform to a group you have nothing in common with. There are several situations you may find yourself in that may make you more open to mob mentality.

  • Your group is going through a stressful situation.
  • Group leadership is intimidating or overbearing.
  • The group has a tendency to agree on every decision.
  • There is no predetermined process for decision-making.
  • The group only interacts with itself.

What Are the Signs?

It can be easy to spot mob mentality from an outside perspective. You can look for the following signs:

  • Optimism disregarding risks (feeling invulnerable)
  • Frequent rationalization of dissenting opinions
  • The belief that the group’s moral standards should apply to all people
  • Self-censorship to maintain the status quo
  • Belief in the illusion that everyone is on the same page

How to Avoid Mob Mentality

Going against mob mentality might feel like going against the grain. If you want to help stop mob mentality, there are tools you can use:

  • Emphasize including people and their points of view
  • Identify and analyze unspoken rules or assumptions within your group.
  • Regularly acknowledge any biases you may have.
  • Practice decision-making.
  • Don’t punish people who are honest or disagree.

herd mentality


  • Kate Brush

Mob mentality -- also called herd or hive mentality -- is the inclination that some humans have to be part of a large group, often neglecting their individual feelings in the process, and adopting the behaviors and actions of the people around them. The term is used to describe how humans blindly follow the crowd and take on different manners, follow trends and buy merchandise based on their circle of influence. The concept of mob mentality was first introduced by social psychologists and group think pioneers Gabriel Tarde and Gustave Le Bon in the 1800s.

In a group think scenario, consensus is often derived by social pressures or by workflow processes that cannot accommodate change. Group thinking, which carries a negative connotation, can be contrasted with  collaboration, a scenario in which individual group members are encouraged to be creative, speak out and weigh many options before arriving at a consensus.

How mob mentality works

Being part of a group can cause a person to lose their self-awareness -- or experience deindividuation. When people deindividuate, they become less likely to follow normal social restrictions and more likely to lose their sense of an individual identity. This can lead to the destruction of a person's natural inhibitions, causing them to perform an activity they would never normally do; their individual values and principles have been replaced by those of the group.

Furthermore, being a part of a large group can make people feel invisible and, therefore, invincible. In other words, a person's fear of repercussion is reduced. People believe they will not be detected or held accountable for their actions as long as they exist under the shield of the group.

While everyone is vulnerable to mob mentality, there are certain situations that may make it more likely to occur. For example, adolescents with shared antisocial tendencies and a lack of family bonds are more likely to join gangs as they search for their social identity. Also, looting is more likely occur in dire situations when resources are limited, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Mob mentality can be hard to sustain, but the influence of peer pressure and the fear of rejection often prohibits most members from speaking up and dissenting the group's activities, thus allowing mob mentality to survive.

Issues and drawbacks of mob mentality

Mob mentality arises from a natural desire to fit in. However, as has been mentioned, this often depletes an individual's personal decision-making skills. It becomes more challenging to evaluate and stand by personal beliefs when they contrast with what others are doing.

This disregard for personal opinions and fear of dissenting is one major issue with mob mentality. In a reasonable discussion, disagreeing viewpoints are considered with respect and the reasons behind the conflicting ideas are discussed. However, in mob mentality, contrasting voices are frequently silenced, either through mockery or the individual's fear of speaking up. This immediately stops individual thought and reveals to the other group members that disagreements are not welcome. This peer pressure leads to a consensus decision that may not have everyone's best interests in mind.

A lack of human decency can also be found in mob mentality. When alone, individuals are unlikely to be open about or express racist, abusive, destructive opinions or other harmful traits. However, when introduced to mob mentality, these hateful characteristics become more common. Even if something begins as a peaceful protest, it can easily turn into a violent outburst with looting and willful destruction as individuals become more concerned with following everyone else and are no longer willing to make their own decisions.

Notable examples of mob mentality

Mob mentality arises naturally. It can be seen in the herding of grazing animals and in groups of humans.

The principle is induced and manipulated by advertisers, political leaders, Social influencers through social media and individuals in order to gain and protect their social influence. Financial analysts observe the effects of mob mentality when masses of investors behave emotionally and rashly together. For example, investors may all rush to buy one stock because somebody says it is "hot."

The Salem Witch Trials -- between 1692 and 1693 -- are one of the greatest examples of mob mentality. Hysteria started in the small colonial Massachusetts town after a group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil, accusing several local women of witchcraft. Other villagers quickly adopted the fear, and the accusations of witchcraft grew, resulting in the unfair imprisonment and trial of over 200 people. In the end, 30 people were found guilty of witchcraft, 19 were executed by hanging and 7 died while in jail.

A more common example of mob mentality can be seen at sporting events, where attendees frequently adopt the collective moods and actions of the sports fans around them. Game day conditions -- such as weather and alcohol availability -- can enhance the mob mentality further, making it more likely for the group to carryout extreme activities, like charging onto the field or major outbursts when the referee makes a disagreeable call.

History of mob mentality

As mentioned before, mob mentality was first identified by Gabriel Tarde and Gustave Le Bon in the 1800s. The principle has since been analyzed in numerous behavioral psychology studies.

For example, a study performed by Professor Jens Krause and Dr. John Dyer of the University of Leeds in England found that subjects told to walk randomly around a room will instinctively start following whoever has more confidence.

In the study, subjects were told to follow their own random path around a large hall. A separate, smaller group of subjects were told to walk a specific path. Those following random paths quickly started copying the subjects who were given specific paths. Krause and Dyer found that it only takes 5% of people walking confidently to influence the other 95% of walkers to follow them.

How to avoid mob mentality

There are a few simple ways to avoid getting pulled into a mob mentality. First, take time to think through responses and actions before making them. It's best not to engage when feeling stressed, pressured or disconnected.

Second, always be sure to research before forming an opinion and be open to new information that emerges. This will help individuals form their own thoughts and ideas rather than copying those of their peers.

Third, find comfort in being unique and develop the courage to stand out from the crowd. This includes speaking out against bullies and others that are causing harm.


This was last updated in December 2019

Continue Reading About mob mentality (herd/hive mentality)
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Crowd mentality (herd behavior): its causes and consequences

The concept of crowd mentality is used to refer to the exceptional behavioral qualities that are found when people are in large groups. It is often used in a negative sense, as the word "crowd" tends to conjure up an image of an unfriendly, disorderly group of people.

Psychologists who study the patterns of behavior of the masses also use such definitions as herd behavior (thinking) or crowd hysteria. The study of such a mentality has a practical purpose. For example, to simulate emergency situations that range from complications during the evacuation process to collective meetings and rallies that can provoke aggression.

Personality is lost in the crowd

There is an opinion that people show hostility during mass unrest, for the reason that personal responsibility decreases.

In the analysis of group behavior, groups of all animals are evaluated, and not just people. Scientists have been analyzing herd behavior for centuries, but it was only at the beginning of the 20th century that the accumulated knowledge of group behavior began to be applied to people. In some editions printed in 1910s, the mentality of the crowd is actively discussed, as well as all kinds of methods of controlling social groups.

People and animals are predisposed to do what others do. Individuality dissolves into the crowd when the trigger "can't all these people be wrong" is triggered! Let's say people believe that a full coffee bar is simply obliged to offer excellent food, otherwise it would not be so popular. In most cases, this mental process proceeds naturally or unconsciously, which encourages people to unite in groups based on interests, views, religious or political preferences.

To be like everyone else?

Peer coercion can tempt someone to start smoking.

The phrase "herd mentality" is often used to refer to something that involves more conscious thinking than herd behavior. This type of mindset can be influenced by peer coercion, the need to fit in, to be part of a group. These reasons constantly force people in the group to imitate other members of the team.

Let us suppose that a person may wish to listen to other music in the company of friends than alone, for the reason that others may make unwelcome remarks, criticize his tastes. Another example would be a teenager who drinks alcohol or smokes due to pressure from peers or acquaintances.

Human fears and phobias

People can use the herd mentality to deal with the fear of being left behind.

The two main reasons are considered to be the uncertainty within the group and the dispersal of responsibility for the actions of the crowd. These circumstances sometimes lead the individual to believe that he or she can act in a certain way and not face the consequences that would inevitably occur if he or she acted alone.

Suppose if a person is in a vandalizing group, then he or she may feel less likely to be detected than if he or she were acting on their own. Because it will be problematic to recognize every person involved. The same pattern of behavior applies to power structures that serve the interests of dictatorial regimes. The effect of the crowd and the pseudo "legality" of essentially illegal actions makes them feel that they are permissive. Another common feature is the desire to hide their faces with masks or helmets, which indicates a desire to disappear into the crowd, to remain unrecognized.

Panic promotes herd behavior

Another reason for the mentality of the crowd is the feeling of confusion or even fear that can form in a large group. An example of this can be observed when people in a crowd suddenly rush in one direction. Although many of them may have no idea why this is happening, they feel the need for a group and begin to perform similar activities.

In special cases, the urgency and anxiety increase, forming a kind of crowd hysteria, and then someone can even be maimed or killed, literally trampled in a panic. But not always such behavior is a reaction to some shocking event (for example, an explosion). During the big sales, known as Black Friday, it is also not uncommon for shoppers to push and injure each other in an effort to be the first to get the coveted goods.

Features of our mentality: Don't you dare stand out from the crowd! – CS-CS.Net: Electroshaman Laboratory

For all the time that I live realizing myself as an adult person with normal self-esteem (but sometimes I get covered with various garbage), I noticed one interesting feature of our population. We do not like those who think outside the box. Those who have achieved something on their own. Those who are better than others. Those who are not afraid to show themselves without masks, without pretense and tell the truth in person. I was once taught that the truest friends are those who are not afraid to tell you the truth to your face. And so it always has been. Those who wanted to be called my friends, but were afraid to call a spade a spade, did not stay with me for a long time.

The most terrible thing is that the attitude of life “ If you are in the mud, and your comrade is clean, mix him with mud so that he is the same as you ” is so deeply sewn into the subconscious of our people that they are in no way aware of it! Our world is a world of envy, constant calculation and comparison of who has more and who has achieved what. But not in order to catch up with them, but in order to spoil them and surreptitiously slander them.

UPDATE. Wow! Here we have a friend on the blog who tried to spam the whole blog for me. So in this post, he spoils in this way - he tries to mix me with dirt. And if I was afraid to lose face (if I was lying and afraid that the lies would come out), then I would take a steam bath. But since I’m not lying and I’m happy, this hurts him even more. Read here:

When people openly envy me (in comments or in soap), they say, of course, you are so cool, you have achieved so much, I always suggest to follow me. I say that I am just an ordinary person. And that EVERYONE can achieve what I have achieved. I tried to write about self-realization in order to show others how it is possible. Now it has grown into a series of "Work for yourself", where I will continue to write about how to stop living from masks and live as you really are.

But there is nothing worse than being jealous behind my back quietly and stealthily undermining my reputation. Now this is happening in the Community, which just illustrates the very mentality that I was talking about. Why did I create a community? Yes, just like that - a sort of idea just flew into my head, because many wrote to me that they want to talk about their deeds and achievements, but there is nowhere to do it. So I made them a platform for self-expression.

But some people seem to be jealous that I have a playground, while others do not. And in the community, the same srachs and quiet jokes began, in which the very thing that is sewn up in the subconscious is read between the lines: “Look! Made up some crazy stuff! And people are still reaching out! Gosha! ‘Daddy’ [ yes, that’s what they called it, as the prison godfather ] found some! He created the offspring here and rejoices! In some comments from a couple of people, a hidden banter is read like “Look what garbage he did! Who needs it! This is some kind of nonsense!

During my internal studies, it turned out that once in my childhood my father also envied me, because he did not keep up with my development in the technique, which he showed me. For each of my ideas, he gave out phrases like “Who needs it!”, “He invented some garbage.” In those moments when I was a small child, I really needed his approval and protection. Now I've survived it and I can handle it myself.

So it seems to me that this mentality of ours will never be broken. Because of this, I want to move to another country. And because of this, I am thinking of refusing to travel around our country in terms of master classes and consultations, because it is unbearable. The sun has awakened you. You got up and in a great mood went to the store. You come in and say something like “Good morning! And be so kind as to give me a couple of bunches of bananas!” and you get in response an evil look and twisting your finger at your temple on the topic “Dude, are you not fucked by chance?” just because you stand out with your light from the general crowd.

In our country, among our people, inside of which there is black envy for one's neighbor and alcohol-drenched pain from the thought “I will never be able to do this”, it is impossible to be real yourself. As soon as you open up or show spiritual qualities, they laugh at you, consider you a holy fool or not from this world. When you show kindness, attentiveness, you are considered a weakling or a kind of mattress who will endure everything and on whose kindness you can ride and profit with impunity.

I tested it myself and on this blog. When I started writing about working for people - that we all do everything for people - I meant that we do not live in a vacuum and that our every action affects other people around in one way or another. And that we should make our products (shields, work, creations) in such a way that they are more intelligently sharpened for the people who will use them.

However, a certain percentage of people, including those who were joking, saw in this not a harsh call “Fuck! Do you even think with your head when you do it? Have you ever tried to connect these wires here like this? What? Uncomfortable?! How about the other one? Comfortable, you think? ”, But a weakness. For some reason, everyone decided that if for people, then this is a freebie. Never in all the time that I have been blogging and accepting clients have I had such a flow of freeloaders as this year.

And this is a very bad signal. I don’t want to live among those who drink from grief because no one needs his deeds and spiritual qualities, and at the same time, when he is offered to change something in his life and be needed, he tries to mix you with with your filth out of envy that you could, but he could not. This is the road to nowhere. This is the path towards destroyed factories, abandoned agriculture and drunken tractor drivers. And if you offer help, they will beat your face. Just because you stand out.

I once wrote about the red level of spiritual development, where people try to be like everyone else and kill those who stand out from the “pack”. I am sad for this country, I am sad to realize that no one here seeks to get out of the dirt, out of the dirt on others. Even if these people are offered a way out, they will not go there. Because in the native mud it's good, clear and understandable. And there, ahead - uncertainty and fear.

I don't want to wallow in the mud and be a redneck out of a sense of solidarity. I have always been the one who sets the path for others, who goes his own way, who breaks patterns and has his own opinion. And I want to be able to express it freely and be understood. For this I am running this blog, for this I am not writing scientific articles here, but my personal opinion and I am not afraid to be who I am.

Our mentality constantly forces you to keep your defenses and be alert. Because as soon as you relax, they will immediately start either using you or twisting your finger at your temple. Sometimes it seems to me that if you want to jump on the street in the summer rain, then they will take you to the foolhouse. And if you go to the subway with clear eyes, then you will definitely be asked for a ticket for verification. Because you stand out and are not like everyone else - not gloomy, you do not have a sour expression on your face.

If you suddenly decide to point out to seasoned designers about their mistakes, they will mix you with dirt and say that you are a naive fool boy who does not understand anything about real work (this happened in the community) and will be treated condescendingly, like a child who declares to his parents that he can fly and will fly if he wants. But for some reason, the same seasoned designers, when something goes wrong with them, call me for advice and ask for help! For example, when a house burned down due to a crooked ATS, a person hung with me on the phone for an hour, asking for my opinion. And when I cursed about the designers in public, he also began to mock me publicly.

I am wiser than you think. I see this duplicity as a more global problem than any personal grievances or conflicts of interest. The reason for such duplicity is in our vicious society, in that very subconscious program “Be like everyone else! Don't stand out! If someone stands out - this is the enemy! Our society is so mired in this attitude that a person is allowed to be a real himself (with his thoughts, opinions, and even with his complexes) only in solitary communication or alone with himself. In public, a person is forced to be “like everyone else”, and pour mud on others so that he himself is not poured.

That is, our society has turned into a society of constant war, a wolf society: "Bite the other, otherwise they may bite you yourself." And this is very bad. I already talked about protection; I add: these defenses take up to 90% of the forces and energy that could be put into creativity, into self-realization and just into making money. Do you understand? By defending ourselves, we waste time and waste our lives. You can't live in perpetual fear that someone will be better. It is impossible to calculate how much better someone is than another in order to understand how much dirt he needs to be poured over so that he becomes like everyone else.

I'm starting to get tired of these defenses and of trying to make me as much of an asshole as everyone else. I'm not talking about specific people: the very mentality of our people forces us to build three-meter fences in order to protect ourselves and not show anyone.

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