Posted by & filed under Aggression, Group Processes, Social Influence, Social Psychology.

Description: Once again the American presidential race has given rise to some interesting examples of psychology in action. Fairly recently, supporters at some of Donald Trump’s rallies have resorted to violence in response to the appearance of anti-Trumpprotesters. While it’s hard to know where to stop or start psychology does have something to say about these examples of behaviour. Read the linked article for an examination of the factors associated with mob situations that can lead to violence.

Source: The Psychology Behind the Violence at Trump Rallies, Eric Niller, Wired, Science.

Date: March 18, 2016


Links: Article Link —

It’s hard to miss much of anything going on in the American presidential primary races, and especially things going on in and around Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. However, in case you hadn’t heard, there were a number of cases of Trump supporters resorting to their fists in response to protesters appearing at some of Mr. Trump’s rallies to which Donald’s response was essentially to say that he understood where his supporters were coming from. What sort of factors are at work in the emotionally charged settings that are partisan political rallies in the United States presidential race? In this case the specific question is what sort of forces can lead to individuals in a charged group to engage in behaviours that they might well not engage in on their own. What sort of group or mob psychologies are at work in the sorts of setting?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What social forces are at work in a group crowd of people shifts in the direction of becoming a mob?
  2. What sort of responsibilities may be assigned in hindsight to the people in or involved in organizing events that give rise to mob behaviour?
  3. What other sorts of psychological theories and phenomena come to bear on the effort to make some sort of sense out of the activity of Donald Trump supporters engaging in acts of violence against protesters at Trump rallies?

References (Read Further):

O’Donnell, A. T., Muldoon, O. T., Blaylock, D. L., Stevenson, C., Bryan, D., Reicher, S. D., & Pehrson, S. (2016). ‘Something That Unites Us All’: Understandings of St. Patrick’s Day Parades as Representing the Irish National Group. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 26(1), 61-74.

Piquero, A. R., Jennings, W. G., & Farrington, D. P. (2015). The life-course offending trajectories of football hooligans. European Journal of Criminology, 12(1), 113-125.

Johnson, S. K. (2009). Do you feel what I feel? Mood contagion and leadership outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(5), 814-827.