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The crowd sways to the sound of the music. The ballad being performed by the band has people in a peaceful, mellow mood. The song ends, and the band breaks into a raw. rowdy, hard rocker that is one of the crowd's favorites. The atmosphere intensifies, and the people start dancing, jumping, and screaming with excitement. As the song reaches its climax, the sea of people has now become a fevered, frenzied swarm. With no inhibitions left, the mass of people starts pushing towards the source of the excitement, the band. The fans have now become an uncontrollable mob, and are crushing people against the stage. Two people are left dead, and many others are injured. Social behavior is an action directed by group attitudes, influence, and pressure.

Our attitudes are our beliefs and feelings that predispose our responses to particular people and events. But, the attitudes of people can greatly influence how we perceive someone or something. If a person is hostile towards us, we may immediately adopt an unfriendly manner towards that person. Likewise, if we meet a friendly, outgoing person, it is likely that we will adopt a friendly attitude and make a new friend. If we're at a party and the guests are having a good time, it's very easy for us to adjust our attitude, and start enjoying ourselves.

Group attitudes not only affect our behavior, but social influences also affect our willingness to conform with a group. Behavior is contagious. If one person giggles or yawns, we may soon find ourselves doing the same. We all know laughter can be infectious. If a group of people is paused gazing at the sky, a passersby will pause and do likewise. Unfortunately, group influence can have negative effects. It is known that suicides increase after a highly publicized suicide. People long to conform with the group.

Just as group influence affects our behavior, social pressure not only influences, but can make us behave contrary to our morals and values. Many children succumb to peer pressure in school. Even though they know it is wrong, they smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and partake of other dangerous drugs under pressure from their friends. People have a need to fit in. Although against their morals, many teenagers engage in premarital sex caused by pressure from their partners. Even people who consider themselves forthright, upstanding citizens, can be trained to degrade, injure and even kill people under group pressure. So, even though we like to think that we control ourselves, social behavior has a major influence on our attitudes and actions.


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2010

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