JCCC Honors Journal


Crowds oftentimes behave in ways that are considered abnormal. This study sought to understand why crowds behave so differently from individuals acting alone. This was accomplished by tracing the evolution of research regarding crowd behavior from its beginnings within the nations of France and Italy in the late 19th century all the way to contemporary time. Crowds were defined as psychological occurrences and categorized according to the research of Roger Brown and Neil Smelser. In order to explain theory regarding crowd behavior, this study focused on the research conducted by Le Bon, Festigener, Pepitone, Newcomb, Zimbardo, Diener, Prentice-Dunn, and Rogers. The research of all of these individuals together evolved from its focus on the existence of a collective mind within crowds into the classic de-individuation theory and later into the contemporary de-individuation theory. Crowd behavior is seen as being caused by a complex web of variables driven by the environment and situation of the time. Research regarding crowd behavior is continually evolving.