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Like Water and Vapor--Conformity and Independence in the Large Group

By Dr. Eugen Tarnow


Conformity and independence in the large group may, in part, be due to collective phenomena analogous to those producing different physical phases like solid, liquid and vapor. This phase model of the large group explains several previous anecdotal observations: It predicts a suddenness in the decision making, it explains the apparent contradiction between crowd suggestibility on the one hand and the difficulty of controlling a crowd on the other hand, and it provides a new rationalization for the phenomenon of splitting. The model is of use to both leaders and members of the large group. For example, it suggests what social parameters to change to disperse a violent crowd, and why crowd crystals, a concept examined by the writer Canetti, can suddenly make the large group conform

Topics: Social Psychology
Year: 1996
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