Aspects of Collective Behavior – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:00 Now let’s take a look at Collective Behavior.

    00:05 This is a different beast alt together because now we’re moving away from the individual and we’re moving towards a collective work group.

    00:12 So we say the collective behavior is a group driven type of behavior that encourages people to engage in behaviors that maybe considered atypical.

    00:20 Again, we’re looking at individuals that are doing things that might be outside of the social norms not because as an individual they want to or because they’re following a larger group.

    00:29 So some of the characteristics of a collective behavior include things the fact that they’re short-lived.

    00:35 So we’ll see in the next couple of slides things like trends and fads these are very short-lived, you’re following the collective group and instilling in that behavior.

    00:46 So say for example, and we see this all the time with certain behaviors like say smoking.

    00:51 Smoking was very, very prominent in the 50's and 60's.

    00:54 And if you look at images or movies, everybody smoking.

    00:57 And the group follows that and it seems that everybody was smoking in the age groups that started to smoke at younger and younger and younger.

    01:06 But then, eventually, we realize that this isn’t really healthy and hey I really don’t want cancer.

    01:11 And so we start to see a shift away from that.

    01:14 And you’ll see there's a lot of different health phenomenon, different diets and different things that people follow that collective behavior you tend to follow that.

    01:22 Another characteristic of this type of behavior is that there's no membership requires.

    01:27 You don’t need to be part of a special group.

    01:29 Anybody and everybody can join this movement this collective behavior.

    01:34 You can just continue decide to follow that.

    01:38 You can also decide to not follow that at any point.

    01:41 And the other main point is that you’re violating a norm.

    01:45 This does necessarily mean that it’s a illegal thing you’re just simple deviating from that norm.

    01:51 So if the norms says “Well, everybody smokes.” And all of a sudden you’ve decided not to smoke or vice versa is that everybody smokes and you don’t smoke.

    02:01 You are just going against the norm.

    02:04 And so putting this three together gives you a collective behavior.

    02:09 Now let’s take a look at three main types.

    02:11 I've already eluded to one. So Fad. We have Mass hysteria and we have Riots.

    02:16 Here’s an example of a fad. So not sure if you remember this fad but this is something called planking.

    02:23 It’s an odd thing where people go on odd objects and lie down and balance their body on their stomach or on their core and look like a piece of wood or a plank that’s the name planking.

    02:38 And somebody did this and put it up on social media and it caught fire.

    02:43 All of a sudden everybody was taking pictures in odd places planking and was putting it up on social media. And then it will get a lot of likes.

    02:52 And this snowballed into this crazy fad which was quite short-lived.

    02:56 I think after people start to falling and hurting themselves.

    02:58 And it just became passé saying there's another planking picture.

    03:01 That’s an example of a fad.

    03:04 We can have things like mass hysteria.

    03:07 This is when the collective or the groups has ideas of fear or rumors that something really, really bad is going to happen or is happening.

    03:19 Now it’s not always founded but what happen is the groups starts to move towards that behavior and others follow because of the fear.

    03:27 Again can be quite short-lived.

    03:29 So an example of this is usually around illness.

    03:32 So they think that there's a mysterious illness going around and we call that mass psychogenic illness. It’s not always founded, it’s not always for real.

    03:42 But people get really, really worried. And so everybody starts wearing mask and there's health advisories and the government starts getting involved make sure you sanitize your hands and wear a mask and everybody kind of starts getting really worked up but at the end of the day they were just the handful of people it was because they really didn’t follow the appropriate steps so they're engage in some inappropriate type of situation where they were exposed and this is something that’s going to normally impact the rest of society.

    04:09 but people still kind of get quite upset.

    04:12 Some other examples of mass hysteria things like extreme weather or larger events in the news.

    04:18 So in today’s society especially in the U.S we have the news I’m not going to point out the specific channel but you’ll have sort of a ticker tape on the side you have a little panel on the other side showing some late breaking event, some ticker tape has different colors flashing red means terror alert and orange means the worlds going to explode and integrate with all that information.

    04:42 And it’s almost like they’re trying to establish a certain level of hysteria where people are constantly worried about what’s going on right now.

    04:49 Extreme weather there's a tornado coming, there's a tornado coming or it’s just going to be an extreme weather warning and people start boarding up their windows and getting their emergency kits ready and their all hiding in the cellar.

    05:00 and it’s just normal rain that end up happening.

    05:03 And so this mass hysteria can happen to people to collective follow.

    05:08 If you notice your neighbor boarding up his windows and getting a whole bunch of cans of soup and has a biohazard suit on you probably going to start asking questions and wondering “Well geez, should I be doing that?” And you start following.

    05:18 Well maybe, I will be going to get a couple of cans of soup and get my mask on even though it’s not founded.

    05:22 When you realize that it all passes and you know this quite as short-lived.

    05:28 Riots is another one and it kind of falls along the lines of mass hysteria.

    05:32 But this one is a little bit more violent in nature and it’s usually a little more public as well.

    05:36 So we defined this as characterizes large group of individuals lashing out in violent public disturbances against authority breaking up property and gathering as a group.

    05:46 So here typically, we’re going against societal norms. And its usually in response to a trigger.

    05:54 A lot of times it’s political, its economically driven where those who are less privileged or are going against a more dominant social norm because they feel like they have been cast out they will respond by rioting.

    06:08 A lot of times this happens in response to even things like sporting events.

    06:12 and when their team loses they’re quite upset and they’re deviating from the normal behavior that you should have and start destroying everything.

    06:20 Again very short-lived, a lot of people follow but then realize that they’re going against societal norms and there's consequences for that.

    06:28 So all these collectively together show you how you can have normal or normative behavior and non-normative behavior.

    06:34 What drives that and what are some of the consequences of it.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Aspects of Collective Behavior – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Social Processes That Influence Human Behavior.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Group-driven behavior that encourages individuals to engage in behaviors or acts otherwise considered atypical
    2. Group-driven behavior that encourages individuals to become more efficient in simple tasks
    3. Group-driven behavior wherein individuals become less productive at pooled tasks
    4. Individual behavior where repetitive tasks become easier and more efficient over time
    5. Group-driven behavior where individuals are encouraged to act within social norms
    1. It is not selective in membership.
    2. It is long-lasting.
    3. It is within social norms.
    4. It is not influenced by others.
    5. It is not influenced by fear, shame, or anger.

    Author of lecture Aspects of Collective Behavior – Normative and Non-normative Behavior (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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