Also known as herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually. Think of a sheep blindly following the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the herd is doing.
You’ve probably been asked, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Insane, but under the right circumstances many people would though most wouldn't, but what about iPhones, fidget spinners, investors rushing to buy a stock because it’s hot or selling because the price is going to drop, or even something so ridiculous as the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the 1980s or the Tickle Me Elmo craze of the 1990s?
In 2008, Professor Jens Krause and Dr. John Dyer of Leeds University conducted an experiment where groups of subjects were told to walk in a random path inside of a big hall while not communicating with the other subjects. They also told a few of the subjects exactly where they should walk. The result: people who were told exactly where to walk started being followed by the subjects walking randomly.
Sheeple is a term of disparagement, in which people are likened to sheep. It is often used to denote persons who voluntarily acquiesce to a perceived authority or suggestion without sufficient research to understand fully the ramifications involved in that decision, and thus undermine their own human individuality or in other cases give up certain rights.
The implication of sheeple is that as a collective, people believe or do whatever they are told, especially if told so by a perceived authority figure believed to be trustworthy, without critically thinking about it or doing adequate research to be sure that it is an accurate representation of the real world around them. The term is generally used in a political, social, and sometimes in a spiritual sense.
Reasons people become sheeples:
1) They know that if they fail to conform, they will be rejected by others, so they conform to avoid the anticipated pain of rejection or to avoid humiliation.
2) Once people conform and fit in their actions may betray thier values. New conflicts may arise: self-rejection and/or guilt. The result is internal conflict.
3) To rid themselves of the internal conflict or self-rejection the adopt the standards or values of the group as our own; they undergo an identity shift in order to resolve the internal conflict.
What happens when a person is asked to follow a standard that betrays their moral standards? Say, they are asked to lie to a customer. There are some signs that a person is facing an identity shift in a morally relevant situation.
1) A feeling that something isn’t right: Signs that you are in a toxic environment and may be susceptible to a shift:
A) You are the target of threats, intimidation, humiliation or ostracism
B) You dread going into the setting.
C) You feelthat what’s going on in this setting is not right.
D) You afraid to speak up
2) Signs that you may be about to undergo the identity shift:
A) You get uncomfortable when people ask you about what is going on.
B) You feel inner conflict about the situation
C) You feel guilty
3) Signs that you may have undergone the identity shift:
A) You think you have no choice about it.
B) You believe that anyone would do what you did, if they found themselves in your situation.
C) You tell yourself that’s just how it is
D) You feel yourself growing cynical.