The negative influence of the group on the individual.

Specific changes in the psychology and behavior of a person under the influence of the crowd, which were one of the first to be noticed by Le Bon (a French researcher), have been carefully studied in social psychology under the names “depersonalization” and “deindividualization”.

It has been proven that a person who is influenced by a certain group exhibits to a greater extent the psychological and behavioral characteristics characteristic of this group, and to a lesser extent displays the same characteristics corresponding to his own personality. Here it would be appropriate to recall such words: “Tell me who your friend is, and I will tell you who you are.”

The negative influence of the group on the personality is especially often observed in the communication of adolescents. Each group has its own leader (a person who is most listened to, followed), and, roughly speaking, a “cult of the leader” is often observed. That is, when his opinion, decision, is accepted as a fact and is considered the only correct one, and any objection is immediately suppressed. Of course, how many people, so many opinions. This means that not everyone agrees with the positions of the leader of this group, but the majority can and will remain silent and agree with him in order to avoid conflict. This is often the case with people with low self-esteem.

Another negative effect of the influence of the group on the personality is deindividualization – the loss of self-awareness and fear of evaluation. It occurs in group situations that provide anonymity and do not focus on the individual. Here I would give an example. A group of teenagers agreed to meet in the evening. Everyone comes with alcohol, and someone alone has never used it and was not going to, but the influence of the group and the guarantee of anonymity do their job … Under such conditions, only a person of strong will can not change his principles, the majority, as my personal experience shows, is amenable to to persuasion and, possibly, some reproaches of the group.

Another negative point is social laziness – the tendency of people to make less effort when they combine their efforts for a common goal than in the case of individual responsibility. For example: the team was given some kind of task. Each of its members, relying on colleagues, does not fully realize its potential.

There are also such negative effects:

Group polarization – the strengthening of a pre-existing trend caused by the influence of a group; a shift in the average trend towards its pole instead of a split of opinions within the group.

Grouping thinking is a mode of thinking that occurs in people when the search for consensus becomes so dominant for a cohesive group that it tends to discard realistic assessments of an alternative course of action.


There is also the effect of the influence of the group on the individual, which I would like to single out separately – the influence of the minority (a minority that stands firm in its positions is more influential than a minority that is vacillating).

In conclusion, I would like to summarize all of the above:

First, under public influence, most often there is a change in such characteristics of a person as perception, motivation, sphere of attention, rating system, etc. A person’s life turns out to be dependent on the actions of his colleagues, and this significantly changes his view of himself, his place in the environment and those around him.

Secondly, in a group a person receives a certain “weight”. The group not only distributes tasks and roles, but also determines the relative position of each. Group members can do exactly the same job, but have a different “weight” in the group. And this will be an additional essential characteristic for the individual, which he did not and could not have, being outside the group.

Thirdly, the group helps the individual gain a new vision of his “I”. A person begins to identify himself with the group, and this leads to significant changes in his worldview, in understanding his place in the world and his destiny.

Fourth, being in a group, participating in discussions and developing solutions, a person can also give out suggestions and ideas that he would never give out if he thought about the problem alone. The effect of “brainstorming” significantly increases the creative potential of a person.

Fifth, in a group a person is much more inclined to take risks than in a situation where he acts alone. In some cases, this feature of changing human behavior is the source of more effective and active behavior of people in a group environment than if they acted alone.

Interacting with a group, a person, as a rule, tries to influence the group in various ways, to make changes in its functioning in such a way that it is acceptable for him, convenient for him. The form of influence and the degree of influence of a person on a group essentially depend both on his personal characteristics, his ability to influence, and on the characteristics of the group. A person usually expresses his attitude to the group from the standpoint of what he considers right and wrong, what needs improvement, tries to change, fight it, in order to feel comfortable in it. At the same time, his reasoning always depends on the position that he occupies in the group, on the role he plays, on the task assigned to him and, accordingly, on what goals and interests he personally pursues.


1. Shagivaleeva G.g., Psychology of communication: a methodological guide

2. Interpersonal communication. Reader. – Compilation and general edition by N. V. Kazarinova, V. M. Pogolsha. – St. Petersburg: Peter, 2001. – 512 p.: ill. – (Series “Anthology on psychology”).



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