Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Post #1: Mass Hysteria

Mass Hysteria is when large groups of people act irrationally for no legitimate reason. Usually it starts from rumors that people believe without critically thinking about it, then people spread these rumors and they become "common knowledge", even though they are incorrect. Taking the Salem witch trials as one of the examples from the slide, the start of the paranoia most likely came from one or two people witnessing the group of girls acting strangely. They used fast thinking and determined that the reason that the girls were acting strangely was because they were witches. Rather than thinking critically, and considering many possibilities, they chose the idea which is the easiest to understand. This uses the heuristic of cognitive ease. With this assumption, the first witnesses spread rumors about there being witches, which many people believed without critically analysing.

Here's a video that talks about some more examples of mass hysteria, with a comedic take. Because this is part of a class assignment, I feel like I should mention that there is a little bit of mildly inappropriate language used in the video.



  1. I find this topic very interesting and I think you did a good job explaining it. I think since this pandemic there has been a lot of mass hysteria. A lot of people have been going crazy and destroying the stores and buying everything out. And some people are even protesting the quarantine and it just proves that mass hysteria is dangerous.

  2. I completely agree that people allow fast thinking to take over them rather than stopping and thinking critically. Assumptions never lead to anything good at all and a good example of this would be the current pandemic today. As Caitlin mentioned, many have been going crazy and allowing every news outlet along with other social media networks to instill fear. People are not clearly thinking and reacting in an instance when they have false information passed on from an unreliable source.

  3. Its so interesting how we can reflect back on the Salem Witch Trials and it is almost indescribable to think about how they let a group of young girls start a large hysteria within their village. Instead of thinking critically about the girls actions and motives they automatically believed their were other forces at hand and blamed innocent civilians for actions that were no fault of their own.