The shared meaning of the event leads to shared panic, distress or euphoria

“The thinking, feeling, and behavior of a person in a group can be only partially explained in terms of how that person might interact with another individual. Although dualistic thinking and bias occur in both individual and group interactions, certain phenomena such as camaraderie, commitment to a leader or cause, and collective illusions need to be understood in the context of the group. ‘Groupism’ is the collective counterpart of egoism. The person in the group transfers his own self-centered perspective to a group-centered frame of reference. He interprets events in terms of the group’s interests and beliefs. Ordinary selfishness is converted into ‘groupishness.’ He not only subordinates his personal interests to those of the group but opposes the interests of outgroup members unless they are compatible with the interests of his group.”

Posted September 12, 2001

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