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Mass-Hysteria: Explanations for phenomena?

Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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8/20/2011 5:30:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
http://www.csicop.org...

Do collective delusions disprove the existence of certain phenomena that have been reported, including the old legend of 'Spring Heeled Jack' or the recent 'Monkey Man' in Delphi (2001)? According to the link above, which is part of a magazine that critiques scientific findings (case histories) and reported phenomena, mass hysteria is a common occurrence in the twentieth century...

A brief description of what mass hysteria is given in the article:

"Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or channeled into physical symptoms. There are two common types: anxiety hysteria and motor hysteria. The former is of shorter duration, usually lasting a day, and is triggered by the sudden perception of a threatening agent, most commonly a strange odor. Symptoms typically include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, and general weakness. Motor hysteria is prevalent in intolerable social situations such as strict school and religious settings where discipline is excessive. Symptoms include trance-like states, melodramatic acts of rebellion known as histrionics, and what physicians term "psychomotor agitation" (whereby pent-up anxiety built up over a long period results in disruptions to the nerves or neurons that send messages to the muscles, triggering temporary bouts of twitching, spasms, and shaking). Motor hysteria appears gradually over time and usually takes weeks or months to subside (Wessely 1987; Bartholomew and Sirois 1996). The term mass hysteria is often used inappropriately to describe collective delusions, as the overwhelming majority of participants are not exhibiting hysteria, except in extremely rare cases. In short, all mass hysterias are collective delusions as they involve false or exaggerated beliefs, but only rarely do collective delusions involve mass hysteria as to do so, they must report illness symptoms.

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation."

What do you think? Is the concept of mass hysteria, and quite possibly collective delusions, an adequate explanation for many urban legends--such as 'Mothman', 'Owlman', and so on?
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,042
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8/20/2011 9:27:49 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 5:30:56 PM, Man-is-good wrote:
http://www.csicop.org...

Do collective delusions disprove the existence of certain phenomena that have been reported, including the old legend of 'Spring Heeled Jack' or the recent 'Monkey Man' in Delphi (2001)? According to the link above, which is part of a magazine that critiques scientific findings (case histories) and reported phenomena, mass hysteria is a common occurrence in the twentieth century...

A brief description of what mass hysteria is given in the article:

"Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or channeled into physical symptoms. There are two common types: anxiety hysteria and motor hysteria. The former is of shorter duration, usually lasting a day, and is triggered by the sudden perception of a threatening agent, most commonly a strange odor. Symptoms typically include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, and general weakness. Motor hysteria is prevalent in intolerable social situations such as strict school and religious settings where discipline is excessive. Symptoms include trance-like states, melodramatic acts of rebellion known as histrionics, and what physicians term "psychomotor agitation" (whereby pent-up anxiety built up over a long period results in disruptions to the nerves or neurons that send messages to the muscles, triggering temporary bouts of twitching, spasms, and shaking). Motor hysteria appears gradually over time and usually takes weeks or months to subside (Wessely 1987; Bartholomew and Sirois 1996). The term mass hysteria is often used inappropriately to describe collective delusions, as the overwhelming majority of participants are not exhibiting hysteria, except in extremely rare cases. In short, all mass hysterias are collective delusions as they involve false or exaggerated beliefs, but only rarely do collective delusions involve mass hysteria as to do so, they must report illness symptoms.

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation."

What do you think? Is the concept of mass hysteria, and quite possibly collective delusions, an adequate explanation for many urban legends--such as 'Mothman', 'Owlman', and so on?

Absolutely. I truly believe the mind is one of the most powerful things on earth--perhaps even more powerful than we currently think. People can psychologically make themselves ill, and in some rare cases can perhaps even influence their environment (a pseudo-scientific explanation for "poltergeists"). The way I see it, mass hysteria is no exception. Mob mentality and irrational fear are powerful things.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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8/20/2011 9:36:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 9:27:49 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 8/20/2011 5:30:56 PM, Man-is-good wrote:
http://www.csicop.org...

Do collective delusions disprove the existence of certain phenomena that have been reported, including the old legend of 'Spring Heeled Jack' or the recent 'Monkey Man' in Delphi (2001)? According to the link above, which is part of a magazine that critiques scientific findings (case histories) and reported phenomena, mass hysteria is a common occurrence in the twentieth century...

A brief description of what mass hysteria is given in the article:

"Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or channeled into physical symptoms. There are two common types: anxiety hysteria and motor hysteria. The former is of shorter duration, usually lasting a day, and is triggered by the sudden perception of a threatening agent, most commonly a strange odor. Symptoms typically include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, and general weakness. Motor hysteria is prevalent in intolerable social situations such as strict school and religious settings where discipline is excessive. Symptoms include trance-like states, melodramatic acts of rebellion known as histrionics, and what physicians term "psychomotor agitation" (whereby pent-up anxiety built up over a long period results in disruptions to the nerves or neurons that send messages to the muscles, triggering temporary bouts of twitching, spasms, and shaking). Motor hysteria appears gradually over time and usually takes weeks or months to subside (Wessely 1987; Bartholomew and Sirois 1996). The term mass hysteria is often used inappropriately to describe collective delusions, as the overwhelming majority of participants are not exhibiting hysteria, except in extremely rare cases. In short, all mass hysterias are collective delusions as they involve false or exaggerated beliefs, but only rarely do collective delusions involve mass hysteria as to do so, they must report illness symptoms.

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation."

What do you think? Is the concept of mass hysteria, and quite possibly collective delusions, an adequate explanation for many urban legends--such as 'Mothman', 'Owlman', and so on?

Absolutely. I truly believe the mind is one of the most powerful things on earth--perhaps even more powerful than we currently think. People can psychologically make themselves ill, and in some rare cases can perhaps even influence their environment (a pseudo-scientific explanation for "poltergeists"). The way I see it, mass hysteria is no exception. Mob mentality and irrational fear are powerful things.

I do agree, though that only applies to certain situations. Other cases, such as the notorious 'shadow people' require descriptions of hypnogia and especially of the propensity of the human mind to formulate human-like figures in random subjects as well (as well as sleep stages). But mass hysteria is a powerful explanation of some of the more bizarre occurrences in the past few years.
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau
Tiel
Posts: 1,500
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8/20/2011 9:55:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 9:27:49 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 8/20/2011 5:30:56 PM, Man-is-good wrote:
http://www.csicop.org...

Do collective delusions disprove the existence of certain phenomena that have been reported, including the old legend of 'Spring Heeled Jack' or the recent 'Monkey Man' in Delphi (2001)? According to the link above, which is part of a magazine that critiques scientific findings (case histories) and reported phenomena, mass hysteria is a common occurrence in the twentieth century...

A brief description of what mass hysteria is given in the article:

"Mass hysteria is characterized by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or channeled into physical symptoms. There are two common types: anxiety hysteria and motor hysteria. The former is of shorter duration, usually lasting a day, and is triggered by the sudden perception of a threatening agent, most commonly a strange odor. Symptoms typically include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, and general weakness. Motor hysteria is prevalent in intolerable social situations such as strict school and religious settings where discipline is excessive. Symptoms include trance-like states, melodramatic acts of rebellion known as histrionics, and what physicians term "psychomotor agitation" (whereby pent-up anxiety built up over a long period results in disruptions to the nerves or neurons that send messages to the muscles, triggering temporary bouts of twitching, spasms, and shaking). Motor hysteria appears gradually over time and usually takes weeks or months to subside (Wessely 1987; Bartholomew and Sirois 1996). The term mass hysteria is often used inappropriately to describe collective delusions, as the overwhelming majority of participants are not exhibiting hysteria, except in extremely rare cases. In short, all mass hysterias are collective delusions as they involve false or exaggerated beliefs, but only rarely do collective delusions involve mass hysteria as to do so, they must report illness symptoms.

Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation."

What do you think? Is the concept of mass hysteria, and quite possibly collective delusions, an adequate explanation for many urban legends--such as 'Mothman', 'Owlman', and so on?

Absolutely. I truly believe the mind is one of the most powerful things on earth--perhaps even more powerful than we currently think. People can psychologically make themselves ill, and in some rare cases can perhaps even influence their environment (a pseudo-scientific explanation for "poltergeists"). The way I see it, mass hysteria is no exception. Mob mentality and irrational fear are powerful things.

When humans start to understand that their beliefs, emotions, and behavior are what create all of reality and that an eternal spirit is the source... That's when we start to understand the workings of the universe.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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8/20/2011 9:58:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 9:55:57 PM, Tiel wrote:
When humans start to understand that their beliefs, emotions, and behavior are what create all of reality and that an eternal spirit is the source... That's when we start to understand the workings of the universe.

So do you agree that mass hysteria might be the root of certain supernatural phenomena?

I might argue that you would, since you wrote about the central nature of human 'beliefs, emotions, and behavior', but I don't know if I truly understand what you actually meant to say here...
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau