So I am composing a post and I am looking for a name of the behaviour among people that they start running when they see two or more people running in opposite direction sensing a potential threat or when two or more people are looking upwards, others also start looking upwards. Such phenomena is recorded in various funny videos compilations and I would like to know if there is any name of such phenomena or any description of such phenomena that I can refer to in the post?


Herd mentality (aka mob mentality) involves people following others without (deliberate) thinking - ie, impulsively or blindly:

... describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis.

Most experiments in herd mentality involve strangers. There are other terms for non-impulsive behaviors (Wikipedia lists group intelligence, crowd wisdom, groupthink, deindividuation, and decentralized decision making).

That is contrasted with swarm behavior. Herd mentality usually refers to individuals conforming to or blindly following others, whereas swarm behavior does not involve individuals doing the same thing:

... it is an emergent behaviour arising from simple rules that are followed by individuals and does not involve any central coordination.

Rather, in swarm behavior, individuals make different decisions depending on what others around them are doing, such as avoiding predators based on the reactions of others. Confusingly, "herding" is swarm behavior (in insects it's called swarming; but fish school, birds flock, and mammals herd).

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for concise answer and contrasting with swarm behavior. I really thought that that in swarm behavior, individual make "same decisions" instead of "different decisions". Cause we see them swarming/schooling/flocking in "relatively" same direction altogether. reference $\endgroup$ – gfdsal Mar 6 '20 at 15:11

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