Science: Collective Behavior

When a crowd of passengers on a burning ship jumps overboard, when schoolboys go calmly through a fire drill, when four clubmen stage a drinking spree, when a mob of strikers overturns police cars, social psychologists call it collective behavior. Its special attribute is that the behavior of one individual affects, and is affected by, the behavior of others. It is almost impossible for human beings to come within shouting distance of one another without manifesting collective behavior.

German metaphysicians of the 18th and early 19th Centuries traced collective behavior to a group...

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