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Still Waters

When good people do bad things

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When people get together in groups, unusual things can happen -- both good and bad. Groups create important social institutions that an individual could not achieve alone, but there can be a darker side to such alliances: Belonging to a group makes people more likely to harm others outside the group.

http://www.scienceda...40612104950.htm

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I saw this in Germany... individually, people were good, but under the influence of the militants and Nazis, they performed actions that they later had difficulty reconciling with their natures.

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I find that a very interesting study. And consistent with experiences. I wonder if they will study the people that stand up against the bad behavior of a group.

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Posted (edited)

Nothing happens to **** ppl very obvious! No debates needed!

Edited by TheGreatBeliever

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Posted (edited)

Obviously you can see this in important things like Nazi Germany etc... but it's really easy to see this in social groups and even on video games as well. I think people band up with the negative person to give themselves some protection too. What is that quote from The Mummy? "It is better to be the right hand of the devil than in his path." Also, someone once said something about the first purpose of any group that forms is to ensure its own survival. Thus the people in the group 'attack' outsiders.

I play an MMO and conduct my own little social experiments from time to time. If you find a group of people being nasty, it really isn't that hard to speak up and either turn the tables on them or inject humor that totally diffuses the situation. People join up with the positive side easily too... if someone goes out on a limb and starts it.

Edited by Purplos
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I saw this in Germany... individually, people were good, but under the influence of the militants and Nazis, they performed actions that they later had difficulty reconciling with their natures.

Nazi Germany is probably the best example. The effects of the Treaty of Versailles all but guaranteed that Germany could one go in one direction and that is to be bankrupt. Anyone faced with severe financial hardships can easily lose there moral heading.

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children on their own, are sweet and innocent, children with other, well its a different case

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It's called "peer pressure".

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All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.

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I play an MMO and conduct my own little social experiments from time to time. If you find a group of people being nasty, it really isn't that hard to speak up and either turn the tables on them or inject humor that totally diffuses the situation. People join up with the positive side easily too... if someone goes out on a limb and starts it.

That may depend on the group. I've been in groups where there's four obvious male teenagers and they're trash-talking women. Other than "rage-quit" there's not much I can say that modifies their behavior (and when you protest that you're a woman, they will say that women don't play MMOs.)

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Mob behavior, the pack mentality. Humans are so afflicted, for whatever reason.

Peer pressure is well known and quite powerful. Milgram and others have studied it.

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Posted (edited)

children on their own, are sweet and innocent, children with other, well its a different case

I remember watching this mob mentality (joins us, do what we do, don't be different) play out in a 4-5-year-old classroom of a day care I worked in. It was very troubling, and SOOOO effective.

It reminded me of watching first one ant find the candy on the sidewalk, then another and another and another, until you can no longer distinguish the sweet candy from the ants.

And I remember desperately going along in school to not be left the one on the outside taking the abuse.

Edited by QuiteContrary
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It starts in the school playground, in group / out group and it doesn't matter how unifromed or unified you make a group / school. Kids or human nature will still find a way to create in groups and out groups based on stupid crap like which way you tie your shoelaces. In my school it was very uniformed, had to wear a school uniform with strict regulations on lengths and materials, this was to make it as fair as possible, there was no race issues or religions issues but the cool kids made their mark by the size of the knot in their school tie and their shoes, and how they held their back packs. So really, even once you have straightened out major issues like racial issues and tensions that normally create groups, gangs and mob mentality, kids left to their own devices will still find something they create and use to make groups /gangs over it. This suggests strongly it is written into our psychology from a young age.

I would be curious though if this would still happen if the size of schools and classes were majorly reduced and kids learned from a young age to operate in very small groups / classes. What got me thinking about that was, I was reading a study the other day about how they reckon 150 people is about the maximum amount of contacts, associates, friends, like the size of a circle that a person can maintain energy and social wise, or the amount of people who can actively group together to maintain a community is capped at 150. If this is true and that in previous times when communities grew to about 150 people before splintering off, then this might be a big part of why we see the tendency and need for humans to establish groups, even over stupid stuff. I would like to see someone test to see if ingroup / outgroup, is a simple response to being put into large groups (anything with over 150 people) Say we had schools who only had year groups of 60 people max, and then classes of no more than 8 - 10 pupils per class, we might start to see more individualism, independence and leadership skills develop in place of group seeking, which is really just the way identity works with seeking security to find a bigger identity to merge with for security reasons.

I also think though like the article says once a person has experienced being treated "indifferently" by another individual for there "group identity" instead of their individual identity, like wearing a certain teams baseball cap or scarf, then it does change their psychology. It is certainly very weird to experience someone having an opinion about you formed by something stereotypical. For example a certain area near where i come from it matters very much to people if you are protestant or catholic, it matters so much to the extent that people will ask you what your surname is and what school you went to establish if you are from a protestant family or catholic family. If you answer the opposite to what they are, they will say good day and walk on by, they won't want to know you or speak to you at all any further. That is just a very real example of how even adults across numerous generations will go about their social interactions. It does keep me thinking back to this 150 number that people generally keep to. Is it built into us to be very very selective for survival purposes ? and somewhere along the line we are creating unnecessary monsters by ignoring a very vital part of our basic psychology by continuously forcing ourselves to live, work and play in what is really over crowded conditions ?

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Posted (edited)

What is that quote from The Mummy? "It is better to be the right hand of the devil than in his path."

Why heed the words of the damned?

It is best to be no where near the devil.

While a coward dies a thousand deaths,

there is no consolation in Satan.

My trust is in God.

Edited by aka CAT

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It amazes me how dumb and heartless people can get when they are a part of a large group. No matter what happens I know right from wrong and I couldn't give a **** what a large number of people think. If it bothers my heart I want no part of it.

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I saw this in Germany... individually, people were good, but under the influence of the militants and Nazis, they performed actions that they later had difficulty reconciling with their natures.

I thought there was a study done after the war, on a lot of the people in the Nazi groups that determined most of them were not psychopaths, what it was is that over time they became desensitized to what they were doing to people. I saw that on Ted Bundy's final interview, the man interviewing him said that, and Bundy said that over time he started to become desensitized to what he was doing with the help of alcohol because alcohol lowers inhibitions.

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I'm not sure if it's group peer pressure, the desire to fit in and be popular, or if it's submission to authority, the tendency so many have to pick out a "leader" with charisma and determination and follow that person or group.

Of course many times it is a mix of both, and sometimes the "leader" uses authority (the Bible, the writings of Marx, the Constitution) to reinforce what he or she is up to.

A good course might be sometimes to sit back and ask, "Is this good -- not just in this context but as a stand-alone act?" Evil cannot be justified by context, and this can serve as a brake before one does something one later is very sorry for.

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