Behavioral finance FAQ / Glossary (Mass)
This is a separate page of the M section of the Glossary
Dates of related message(s) in the
Behavioral-Finance group (*):
Year/month, d: developed/ discussed,
Mass behavior, hysteria, market
00/12i - 02/7i + see crowd, hysteria,
mania, herding + bfdef2
We live in an era of economic diversity and segmentation of people behaviors.
This gives the impression that "mass behavior" is a thing of the past.
But there are situations in which"mass power", whether wise or
blind, is still alive and kicking.
Of course, global communication opens accesses for all kind of thoughts,
favoring diversity and segmentation. But it favors also cases when the whole
mankind reacts, wisely or wildly, more or less in unison. It is one of the ideas,
although a bit far-fetched, behind the "noosphere" theory.
In social sciences, a mass is a large human population segment.
It can even sometimes assemble the biggest share of the whole population of an area.
Yes, a mass is ...massive!
The people involved are loosely linked by some similar or common interests,
perceptions, behaviors that transcend population categories.
A big common heart ...or bile!
Mass attitudes take sometimes the control in markets, then excesses such as
bubbles or crashes are near.
What forms human masses take?
Loose or organized?
Members of a mass are less physically connected than in crowds or groups.
No elbow rubbing here.
But even so, they tend to have some common beliefs, feelings, attitudes, behaviors.
A human mass, and the related attitude or behavior, takes the shape of:
Either a temporary but widespread mental encounter of
people, as a common emotional response to an
event they consider together as either favorable
Better be conscious of that contagious emotion fast,
and try to understand if it is positive or negative!
Or a permanent, more or less structured,
segment of the overall society.
It fits a complex combination of:
Hard factors / criteria, such as factual socio-economic characteristics
(for example the same income range),
Soft factors / criteria, such as common beliefs and practices.
When a compact mass rushes to buy or sell.
Investors, although showing different profiles (see that word)
and styles sometimes behave as a mass (see herding), with
everyone eager to buy or to sell at the same time
Here also, better detect it fast!
A more mundane example is found in mass medias, that target the majority of the
residents of a large area.
What are the (massive?) effects
Sticky or fluid mass?
Swimming or sinking?
The feeling of unity found in a mass might
foster a smooth working of society, or help
to face some common challenge.
Actually, that common feeling is rather lacking
in global matters.
A planetary conscience (the "noosphere"?)
could help cope with globalization
opportunities and drawbacks.
This step is still not reached, whatever
some "noetic" pundits and novelists state.
This planet stays fragmented under
national egos, parochial mentalities and
Common feelings can work at
the expense of personal
It is even more worrying
when emotional forces
spread and grow as a
common feeling that
becomes excessive and
irrational (crowd hysterias).
behavior is often biased
and can bring ...massive
mistakes (see crowd
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1) click "messages", 2) enter your query in "search archives".
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