Being in a crowd emboldens some to break the law

Updated 2017-08-23 13:32:42 China Daily

On friday, when a group of about 100 joggers tried to cross a road in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu province, a bus driver was unwilling to give way to them. Some of the younger members of the group stood in front of the bus forcing it to stop and one of them boarded the bus and attacked the driver, while others destroyed the windscreen wiper of the bus. Beijing News comments:

The whole video of the incident has not been released yet, so we cannot conclude whether the bus or any of the joggers had broken the road safety law prior to the attack on the driver. However, one thing is clear: Those who beat the bus driver and damaged the bus have broken the law and might face criminal charges.

The incident is not an isolated one. A similar case happened in Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui province, when a group of square dancers insisted on dancing on a busy road. When asked about their boldness in obstructing the traffic, they said: "Drivers dare not hit us."

There have already been fierce discussions about the rude behavior of certain jogging or square dancing groups. It is, of course, necessary for the law to be enforced and punish anyone that breaks it. However, it is also time to study the psychology behind such behavior. What makes people in such groups so rude?

Group psychology might explain it. As the French psychologist Gustave Le Bon wrote in his book The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, when individuals join a crowd, they might exclude outsiders and act irrationally on certain issues, which in turn has negative influences on society.

Some jogging and square dancing groups are such crowds. According to reports, some jogging groups have purchased uniforms and their numbers often exceed 100. Some of the members of these groups might behave rudely because they think they are mightier than individuals, which is the psychological cause of their rude behavior. However, it is impossible to prevent people from forming such jogging and dancing groups because many of their members are senior citizens who join the groups in order to kill time.

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