The idea of a “band mentality” has been around since before humans have existed. In chimpanzees, our closest common ancestor, the group follows a dominant male, while interacting among the group based on who they like or dislike. Early humans were separated into small bands of hunters for both protection and aid in killing prey. The most experienced hunter led the attack, and it was important to have people who accepted his opinion and listened to him. Humans, in small groups of friends or family, still show this sort of band mentality. They will interact based upon who shares their same interests and feelings about the other people in the group. This way of thinking changed dramatically when larger groups of people began to aggregate (Ohgushi, 1998, p. 1). These larger and larger groups began to change the way people thought and interacted with each other, and the way they reacted to certain emergencies.
In her article “In Groups We Shrink From Loner’s Heroics”, Carol Tavris states the many disadvantages to the group mentality. She introduces the idea of “social loafing”, which means in large groups, people begin to shun their individual responsibility (Tavris, 1991, p. 17). She says that the larger the group the more irresponsible people get. She cites many cases in which people do not step in to aid in an emergency. One such incident occurred in New Mexico, when someone’s house caught on fire and a large group of people stood watching the house burn, but no one called the fire department. Everyone in the group just assumed that someone else had called the fire station, without taking the responsibility into their own hands. Tavris also states that we are usually afraid to...
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...ng for them was to be banished from a group for going against the leader, so they evolved a feeling to wanting to agree with everyone around them so that they were not kicked out of the group.
The group mentality was a trait acquired through years of evolution. It was originally developed through fear of rejection, and used to organize prodigious groups of people. The idea of grouping being the key to our civilization, explains why in our modern societies, individualized or not, we still tend to form groups.
Gruber, Sybille, & (Eds.). (2002). Constructing Others Constructing Ourselves: A Reader.
Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/ Hunt Publishing Company. PP 17-19
Ohgushi, Mikio. Band Mentality and Large Group Mentality. Retrieved February 6, 2003, from http://web4.integraonline.com/~mikio/e-b&lg.html
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