There are people, and then there are sheeple, which are easily influenced and conform to the majority opinion. People often follow the herd mentality more often than not, affecting every aspect of their lives. Herd instinct also influences how we make business and investment decisions.
So, what is herd mentality, and why is it so powerful? Read on to find out.
What Is Herd Mentality?
In simple terms, herd mentality is a decision-making behavior. Studies show that it takes only 5% of individuals to influence 95% of the group, who follow without realizing it. This bias means we tend to follow people who seem more informed than us. This applies to numerous contexts, such as business, finance, fashion, technology, religion, and much more. Let’s look at some real-world herd mentality examples below.
Herd Mentality Examples
- Restaurant Choices
A crowded restaurant often signals better food than another restaurant next door with open tables and less traffic. We don’t imagine that the packed restaurant may hire seat fillers to beat the competition. We fall for the illusion of busyness–the herd’s choice–rather than judging food quality.
- Cryptocurrency Investments
Cryptocurrency is one of the most volatile investments today, but it captures the herd mentality flawlessly. Suppose an influential person like billionaire Elon Musk tweets his support for one crypto brand. In that case, everyone jumps on it, only to lose their investment when the prices crash.
- Black Friday Stampedes
Black Friday is a global phenomenon that seems to grow every year. Incredible Black Friday discounts have the same outcomes: buyers queue for miles and stampede into stores, while e-commerce platforms crash from excess traffic. Even after extreme scenarios with casualties, We still follow the Black Friday herd mentality.
What’s hot today isn’t likely to be hot tomorrow. The stock market reverts to fundamental returns over the long run. Don’t follow the herd.
Signs of Herd Mentality
While people naturally want to be part of a community, some traits make us more prone to herd instinct. These include
- Aversion to conflict: Individuals who avoid conflict tend to follow the herd instead of speaking up or going against popular opinions.
- Aversion to risks: People who lack the courage to take risks would much rather conform to the status quo, even when they calculate the risk and it becomes well worth the shot.
- Lack of self-awareness: People prefer to take on predetermined identities or roles rather than do the work of self-knowledge and build healthy esteem.
- Inherent laziness: People who conform to the herd don’t have to make difficult decisions to improve their lives, instead choosing to stay stuck in their “relatable” struggles. People should always focus on how to improve time management to get past the inherent laziness how to be more productive
Let us look at herd mentality’s psychological aspect, impact, and causes.
Herd Mentality Psychology
The idea of “safety in numbers” may protect us from harm but can also encourage fear. Here are the most common concerns that form the basis of herd mentality psychology.
Making independent choices opens up many questions, especially if they don’t match the majority opinion. How do you know you’ll succeed if nobody else has done it? Herd mentality reassures us that we’re following a sure path or making tried-and-true choices.
It’s perfectly normal to want attention, but harsh judgment is also part of life. Herd mentality makes us change our values or beliefs to gain approval from the group rather than endure judgment or criticism. Avoid cognitive dissonance and always remain true to your values and beliefs.
Herd mentality brings a level of social acceptance that’s painful to lose. If you venture out on your path, you risk leaving the herd behind and facing rejection for your decisions. It’s also challenging to regain this acceptance if your venture fails.
While the psychology exists behind herd mentality, we can work on preventing the influence by making reasonable goals and executing them through an agile goal management platform to avoid the effect. You can get started on Profit.co completely free today to use it to focus and achieve your goals.
What Causes Herd Mentality?
Experts propose the following leading causes of herd mentality:
- Assuming that others know more or better than we do, such as industry leaders who can somehow “predict the future.”
- Following socially acceptable behaviors in our communities (the majority must indeed be correct)
- Fear of being alone, being left behind, or missing out
From a psychological standpoint, fear is likely the driving force of herd mentality, as explained below.
Impact of Herd Mentality
Herd mentality offers temporary comfort, knowing that we’re all in the same proverbial boat. However, if you follow the wrong leader or join the wrong herd, serious consequences follow. Many cases of failed investments and Ponzi schemes are herd mentality examples. It also leads to missed opportunities–you may say no to a worthwhile venture because the majority group disapproves of it.
How To Manage Herd Mentality
- Do Your Homework
Nothing beats herd mentality like due diligence. Once you identify a trend, learn everything you can about it before you sign up. Determine why it appeals to the majority and whether it aligns with your values and beliefs.
- See the Bigger Picture
Herd mentality is often shortsighted because trends change overnight. Instead of going with the latest fads, make longer-term positive decisions to survive life’s changes. Do not practice deliberate ignorance of facts and information about trends.
- Avoid Emotional Decisions
Fear is one emotion that causes herd mentality, but so does greed. Most get-rich-quick schemes thrive on herd instinct, so investors only research the companies after betting their savings. Take your time when making decisions and examine your motives.
How Can You Take Advantage of Herd Mentality?
You can use herd mentality to support positive causes like philanthropy or reducing climate change. Herd mentality psychology can also identify pitfalls and help you make the right decisions. Sometimes you can mitigate the negative impact of herd mentality by putting things in perspective. Harnessing the power of perspective is very important to overcome the Herd mentality.
- What is a herd mentality in humans?
Herd mentality is the tendency of people to follow the crowd and fit into society.
- What causes herd mentality?
Fear, greed, and the human desire to belong to a social group can lead to herd mentality.
- What are herd mentality examples?
Some high-profile herd mentality examples include Black Friday, Ponzi schemes, consuming Tide Pods, and cryptocurrency trading.
Herd mentality ties to the natural human instinct of belonging, but it often leads to negative consequences. Instead of following the crowd, research and align your social needs with your goals and values. Once your goals and values are in place use an agile goal management platform to ensure your goals are achieved. Book a free demo with our team to learn more about how OKR software can help you align your goals and improve your performance!