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As human beings, we have a natural tendancy not to want to be alone in what we think. If we have a thought, opinion or view that we thought no one else had, we might compromise that view in order to fit in somewhere. Human beings are social creatures and fear nothing more than being alone. Adolescents get pinned with having more of a "herd mentality" than adults, but I would argue that the bandwagon psychology is rampant even among the most mature adults.The bandwagon psychology, or the "herd mentality, is the process of a person joining a group of people that believe in something, even though that person might not believe in it themselves. For instance, if you live in a community where everybody recycles, you might feel more pressure to recycle even though, at heart, you are not recycling to save the earth; you are recycling to become part of the group of people that surrounds you. At the center of the bandwagon psychology is a human being's desire to find the path of least resistance. We don't want to have to explain our views if they differ from the norm. Unless we feel extremely strong about something, we would rather join the other side to make life easier. Some would argue that people, in general, believe in little to nothing unless they find numbers in that belief.Right now, we are in the midst of a heated political season. Every day, on television or the radio we are bombarded by polls that are changing by the day and by the hour. One candidate is ahead in one state and the other is ahead in another state; one candidate is doing well on this side of town and the other is doing well on that side of town. Does polling have any effect on the bandwagon psychology?Some would say that polling is in large effect responsible for the number of supporters in any given area. As soon as polls begin to favor one candidate over the other, what will often follow is a flood of new supporters that hadn't actually voiced their views before. Those new supporters feel more secure in voicing their support when they know their view is safe. In other words, if you are a Republican in an area where you believe there are many Democrats, you might be reluctant to voice your Republican views. You might even be questioning your party affiliation. However, when a poll comes out that tells you that your area is largely supporting the Republican candidate, you might be more willing to be outspoken about your views. Further, if you were undecided before, you might decide that since most people in your community are voting Republican, you should, too. This is the bandwagon psychology at work in the midst of our society.One would hope that the polls in the media do not have a large amount of sway for a majority of people. One would also hope that people will make up their mind according to their values and not the values of a group of people. However, psychology tells a different story. Human beings are more connected than they think according to the bandwagon psychology.
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