Herd or Herding Behaviour – Understanding Social Media and Group Actions

Herd Behaviour, Herding - 360 Psyche

The TV game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, has the ask the audience lifeline. I found it quite rare for anyone to go against the audience popular opinion. This is partly linked to it:

  1. Finding it hard to believe that the large audience will be wrong
  2. The need to play it safe and avoid stress
  3. A response to the perception of an individual’s own ignorance.
  4. The pressure to conform to the popular opinion.

Whichever reason, it may be attributed to a term called herd behaviour.

Among humans, herding or herd behaviour is the tendency to act based on the behaviour of other people whom we don’t know well, or do know well (e.g. friends).

In order words, it is our innate tendency to think as one in a group, leading us to behave in ways that conform to other people.

Well, we may not actively think this way, but it happens in our subconscious, just the same way self-herding does.


… before we start defending ourselves, Ill, like to point that herd behaviour, happens to the best of us and happens even when we have no clue.

We are social and herd animals, designed to function in groups. Moreover, we pick social cues that give us an idea of how to act.

We go with the crowd rather than considering our own intuition or analysis. We think, if it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for me.

This is another form of heuristics

Examples of Herd Behaviour

  • Deciding to go into a restaurant that has other people already there
  • Holding strong opinions about a topic on social media because it’s a popular opinion among your favourites
  • Investors follow and copy what they perceive other investors are doing rather than relying on their own analysis
  • Making a decision to board a bus that has multiple passengers rather than a bus that has none or few
  • Joining demonstrations, riots, and general strikes
  • Choosing certain foods when with a group in a restaurant
  • Buying items from a brand based on the product or service success stories
  • Becoming a supporter of a football club or hold religious convictions because of the people already involved
  • As a matter of fact, our everyday decision-making process is influenced by the herd mentality

Every day, we need to practice un-herding ourselves from negative decisions that can make us make mistakes or miss important opportunities.

Remember, until I come your way next time, better day tomorrow.


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