The riot act

The fatal shooting of suspected gangster Mark Duggan by police in Tottenham, London, in August 2011, sparked riots that went on for five days, between August 6 and 11. The destruction quickly spread to neighbouring areas and also spread to other cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Leicester and Bristol. Five people died, property suffered damage…MORE

Copy Cats

Think for yourself? No you don’t – you just copy other people. Researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris have confirmed that people unconsciously imitate their friends and associate’s careful or impatient or lazy behaviour. This makes sense – we are humans and our evolution is governed by our…MORE

Football hooligans and suicide bombers

There are good evolutionary reasons why people behave in very different ways when they share their experiences with their peer group. Crowds of football supporters are as one large organism, each fan part of the greater entity with but one aim in mind – to will their team to victory. But fans experience of promotion or…MORE

Is racism the result of our own evolution?

In the late 1940’s, a shocking experiment carried out by two African-American psychologists changed the way we think about racial prejudice… Kenneth Bancroft Clark, a psychologist and teacher at the City College of New York, and his wife, Mamie Phipps Clark, were both activists in the Civil Rights Movement. Together, they founded the Northside Center…MORE

Group Behaviour – Part II – The Christians

We respect other’s right to believe, so why do others deny our right not to believe? This article tries to explain the psychology behind the problem. In every large group there exist sub-groups, cliques and factions. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that some sub-groups may be more extreme than others – you…MORE

Group Behaviour – Part I – The Yobs

So far we have concentrated mainly on the suggestibility of the individual, although in the last chapter, Hypnosis in Religion, we did look at the behaviour of groups in situations where the emotional response of the group was manipulated by the organisers, and how normally sane individuals could be submerged in the group. Now I…MORE