Saturday, October 9, 2010

Emotional contagion

This is an interesting, but old, audio news piece about how fear spreads among crowds and leads to stampedes, etc. "Human beings are hardwired to respond to fear of others." "Fearful body language primes humans to flee."

Interestingly, another article suggested that bad decisions may also be contagious.

As a side note, being in a crowded nightclub when a fire breaks out (story from the audio link), or any similar mob type situation is the reason why I experience anxiety in crowded spaces.


  1. The article on bad decisions made me think of the Lovefraud situation. The study suggests that you need an outside party to give advise you when you're trying to reverse results of bad decisions; and that people who identify with you will likely not help you make the best decisions about recovery.
    "when you are already down the road of a failed course of action, you really need ... a true outsider."

  2. (My 2nd sentence should have said, "you need an outside party to give you advice" or "you need an outside party to advise you".)

  3. OFN. Animals behave in the same way.

  4. Sometimes moving with the herd is more advantageous than pursuing a more superficially rational course of action. No doubt evolution has buried that into our genetics.

  5. Sometimes, I wonder, but my empathy is very much intact. I'm watching the livefeed of the Atlanta Gay Pride Parade and feeling very emotional.

  6. For some reason I can't stand the image of the sneezing woman attached to this article. I just hate looking at her. Is it just me?


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