The differences between individual behavior and collective behavior have puzzled scholars for centuries. Most Western philosophies have praised the individual while describing, with uneasiness, the power of large crowds and their effects on individuals’ actions, emotions, and morals. Others have questioned the need for concepts such as group and crowds as entities that have an effect on individual behavior. Furthermore, the nature of collective phenomena, and the explanations psychologists and social scientists have developed to qualify them, is mediated by the technologies available in a particular historical context.

While social psychology is usually said to study the relationships among individuals and the place to which they belong, mass psychology, a subfield of social psychology, examines the qualities of crowds, the effects of crowds on individuals, leadership, ...

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