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3. Social Contagion Theory (cont’d)

when crowds are formed, acccording to LeBon, members’

 behaviour is reduced to the lowest common denominator – the

 roughest, least intelligent, most violent

the ‘unconscious activity of crowds’ – the crowd situation

 creates an energy of its own – in a mob situation, the crowd

 becomes like a beast on its own – impulsive, irrational,

 uncontrolled

people don’t all have to be in the same place – but they can all be

 ‘infected’ by the same belief, act in similar ways – e.g. the

 Dutch Tulip Bulb Mania of 1634 – 1636 –

 http://www.stock-market-crash.net/tulip-mania.htm

 or, now, ‘virtual crowds and mobs’ are the spread of rumours

 related to computer viruses, missing children, collecting

 pop can tabs, etc.

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