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
Contrarily to what is said that modern society brings Orwelian uniformity,
in the economy and in many other areas, we live instead in an era of
behavior and thought diversity and segmentation .
Global communication favors this, as allowing any information and
attitude to spread, except in totalitarian countries or sects, of course
This diversity can even give 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. Global communication creates 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"
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, at least on a special topic or attitude. Yes, a mass is ...massive
and fashions are ...fashionable.
The people involved are loosely linked by some similar or common interests,
perceptions, behaviors that transcend population categories.
A big common heart ...or bile!
In economic matters, mass attitudes take in some periods 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,
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 or hostile.
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 traits
(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 thar 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
* foster a smooth working of society,
* or help face common challenges.
Actually, that common feeling is rather
lacking in global matters.
A planetary conscience (the
"noosphere"?) could help cope
with globalization opportunities
This step is still not reached, whatever
some "noetic" pundits and novelists
This planet stays fragmented under
national egos, parochial mentalities
and self-serving leaders.
Common feelings can
work at the expense
It is even more
spread and grow
as an excessive
behavior is often
biased and can bring
(see crowd behavior).
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