Ever been to an intense sporting event where everyone is on the edge of their seats the entire time? Then all of a sudden an athlete makes an extraordinary play and the crowd seems to erupt as if it were one. While some attribute this to the fans love for their team, psychologists suggest different reasoning behind this. Psychologists believe that this can be explained because of social contagion. Social contagion is when we turn to others to figure out how to act in a certain situation. When a significant play is made in a game we look to others to learn how to interpret the play. If all the other fans are cheering and going crazy, you may be compelled to stand up from your seat and cheer. However, if everyone in the crowd is booing a team's bad play, you quite possibly could be convinced to leave the game. This theory of social contagion has also been studied to explain why people riot after sporting events. Psychologists suggest that the feeling of being in a large group of people can lead a person to do things that they wouldn't usually do by themselves. The group rioting is feeding off of itself and becomes more dangerous as time continues.
Crowds Acting As One
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