Best Herd Mentality Examples (+3 Backed Theories)

This article will be looking at different examples of Herd Mentality and an overview of Herd Mentality.

What is Herd Mentality?

Herd mentality, mob mentality, also less known as gang mentality, explain how individuals can be motivated on a mostly emotional, rather than logical, basis by their colleagues to follow such behaviors. If the mob’s mindset impacts people, they will make different choices than they’d have independently.

Humans have a predisposition to mimic the actions of each other. We end up expressing opinions and behaving in ways that we’d never have attempted or individually thought otherwise. This event is referred to by psychologists as mob mentality. For example, that’s why it feels more natural to pass along gossip and unrealistic to stop it, and even enjoyable.

In 2008, an experiment was performed by Professor Jens Krause and Dr. John Dyer of Leeds University in which groups of participants were instructed to walk within a vast room in a randomized direction while not interacting with the other participants. However, a few of the participants were told by the researchers precisely where they should go.

They found that the participants walking “randomly” started to approach the individuals who’ve been explicitly told where to walk.

The psychology of mob mentality can affect popular culture, ideological beliefs, and even behavior in the financial markets. The source of superstitious beliefs also lies in the psychology of mob mentality. Social psychologists have studied all pertinent mob mentality subjects and assumed that three psychological theories of crowd behavior exist: Contagion Theory, Convergence Theory, and Emergent-Norm Theory.

  • Theory of Contagion

Throngs of people quickly become crazy, frantic, and chaotic. They can impose a hypnotic effect in this state that typically results in unreasonable and emotionally charged behavior among the individuals. For example, with the mob mentality, superstitious beliefs can develop and rapidly intensify from a false assumption or rumor between a small group of individuals.

  • Theory of Convergence

In this concept, like-minded people come together by concentrating on a restricted variety of alternatives as options, then selecting from those choices the “right” answer. A peaceful rally may be another case. Violence doesn’t have to be an emerging trait, but if people preferred it to be and gathered together in a crowd to make it so, it’s an outcome.

  • Emergent-Norm Theory (and The Internet’s Anonymity)

A mixture of like-minded people share anonymity and feelings in this mindset, contributing to the overall group behavior. The web’s anonymity gives people the freedom to surrender to the mob’s mentality and other messages shared via social networks, as they can let go of the social restrictions that would otherwise impede them in a face-to-face context.

Social psychology is described as “the empirical study of how we think, affect, and connect.” We are social animals. Most of us interact with others every day, engaging in some contact significant portions of our waking hours.

The effect people have over us is one insight from social psychology. Research indicates that we may not have as much influence as we believe about our thoughts and actions. We take hints as to how to behave from our environments, particularly other individuals.

Remember the idea of polarization of groups. The premise is that similar-minded individuals in a group strengthen the perspectives of each other. Group polarisation reinforces each person’s views in the group. This is how groups influence us.

Our predecessors were under a looming threat in our evolutionary history. Keen awareness of others in a dangerous and unstable world helped our ancestors stay alive. Modern humans have acquired such adaptive behaviors.

Grouping and enhancing social unity are among these behaviors. This involves not dissenting from the community. In a hunter-gatherer group, it could have been a death sentence to be ostracised or exiled.

Examples of Herd Mentality

  • Sport events

Massive sporting events are a great psychological example of mob mentality. Since they were clustered in a crowd or large stadium, many sports fans will take on the assembly’s communal moods and behavior. Circumstances such as severe weather or alcohol can improve the mentality of mobs. Have you ever seen audiences hit a field on an incredibly hot day?

  • The Salem Witch Trials

In the spring of 1692, a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, attempted to claim to be possessed by the demon and charged a few local women with black magic. The infamous Salem witch trials started.

The total population began to believe that witches possessed by a demon were completely innocent victims. Without any physical or reasonable evidence, they reached that conclusion. When one person claimed to see the demon, claimed to be a hoax of witches, and then criticized another woman for being a witch, it was merely a snowball effect. Widespread hysteria followed.

  • Black Friday 

As one of the most massive shopping days of the year, the day after Thanksgiving always prevails. It’s also the one day when you can rely on entirely logical and rational individuals to revert into crazy-eyed and feral for discounted products.

An Auburn University study found that when there’s a massive gathering around you, the experience of buying can be improved, turning an otherwise negative experience into an enjoyable one. With another few people around us, what could look rationally like a terrible idea becomes a “great idea”.

  • The Mountain Meadow mass extermination

Everything began in 1857. Utah Mormons, on their way to California, found a wagon train of family members. The members of the church felt threatened by these passersby for some reason and launched an assault. They concealed themselves as Native Americans, à la the Boston Tea Party, and sought the help of some Paiute “Indians,” not attempting to take responsibility for the attack.

The emigrants continued to defend themselves for five days until they were contacted by the “Mormon Militia” with white flags signaling a peace treaty. They graciously accepted the truce, little water, and provisions, and consented to be escorted into Mormon security. However, they were terminated and entombed in unmarked graves as soon as they left their defenses.

Mormon leaders previously denied involvement in the killings and put all responsibility on the Paiute. Later, they conceded the Mormon Militia’s involvement but asserted that the military behaved on its consensus and not under the guidance of Brigham Young (the prophet and president of the church at the time). Today, to honor those who were assassinated, the church holds a memorial in the meadow.

  • The French Revolution’s reign of terror

A plethora of decapitations did not meet the bloodlust of these revolutionaries. They unleashed all kinds of brutality: public assaults, firing teams, weighing and throwing victims from ships, parading decapitated heads through the sidewalks, and more. Aristocrats were not the only victims here; it was perfectly acceptable for practically anyone presumed of counter-revolutionary ideas. And trials were generally a total sham (when they occurred).

It cost the citizens nearly a year to understand that their revolutionary leader had become a violent maniac. They resolved the problem in real mob fashion with one last decapitation.

  • The Holocaust

Thinking back on National Socialist German Workers’ Party, it’s hard to grasp how cruel and vicious individuals generally behaved. Even if you believe that the average German person did not realize what was unfolding in the concentration camps, the “Death’s Head Squad,” a special division of the Schutzstaffel (SS) in control of the concentration camps, still had 24,000 members.

These representatives of Death’s Head certainly knew what’s been taking place. Even hate and intense anti-Semitism weren’t enough to inspire ordinary people to commit crimes, but place the individual in a cluster of many other like-minded people with dictators calling for violence, and voilà: the mindset of the mob follows.

Those 24,000 (and possibly many more) SS members destroyed themselves and became part of a unlawful killing machine. Former National Socialist German Workers’ Party officials defended their role in the exterminations during the Nuremberg trials by claiming they were clearly ‘obeying orders.’

  • Stock Market

Depending on supply and demand, stocks increase and fall. It all boils down to feelings: insecurity and fear. In other words, stocks rise when people suspect that the economy is hunky-dory, and when people see or hear rumors of economic issues, they dropdown. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, in reality.

Stock market spikes and collapses are triggered by a herd mentality, as Daniel J. Howard, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University, so eloquently described it. It’s frightening to me that we create our heaven, and we create our hell.

Making it even worse for the herd, they are still searching for “professionals” to determine when buying or investing is healthy. Yet much of the money has been taken up by the time the people catch on. The herd stays in a constant phase of vulnerability, continually striving to get to the peak and allowing others’ moods to influence their judgment.

  • The Internet

The Internet is a potential target for the mindset of herds. Not only is it easy to find thousands of other people who share their kind of madness with online users, but it protects all under a veil of anonymity, allowing people the ability to let go of their social constraints.

In web forums, wandering virtual groups bully others while collecting followers along the way. This leads to disrespectful, sexual, racial, homophobic, and offensive statements that, in “reality,” the abusers would never speak. Cyber-bullying has real-world implications, of course, and there are several instances that this has driven some towards suicide.

On the bright side, the internet community’s mindset often works for good, such as when the implemented SOPA act attempted to restrict free expression and establish excessive Internet censorship. They were all interested in blackouts, from Google to bloggers. The intense uproar revealed no hope for legislators to compromise for such an act, and the mob thus succeeded.


In this article, we looked at different examples of Herd Mentality and an overview of Herd Mentality.

FAQ: Herd Mentality examples

What causes the herd mentality?

Herd mentality is an attitude marked by a lack of individual decision-making or self-reflection, leading individuals to perceive and act in a manner comparable to others around them. The dread that a lucrative investment concept would be overlooked is also the motivating factor underlying herd mentality.

Why should you not follow the crowd?

It will ruin your image. It will force you to compromise about what you think is right enough to obey the herd. By thinking about how you can change, you don’t have to worry yourself out since you’ve already acknowledged that you are average since you do as the majority will do.


  • Polito, K., ABOUT KRISTEN POLITO Kristen Polito holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Florida State University. You can read a collection of, Alexithymia: When There Are No Words for Feelings No Comments | February 09, & Name:*. (2019, November 04). What is “Mob Mentality?” Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

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