Behavioral finance FAQ / Glossary (Mass)

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Dates of related message(s) in the
Behavioral-Finance group (*):
Year/month, d: developed/ discussed,
i: incidental

Mass behavior, hysteria, market

00/12i - 02/7i + see crowd,
hysteria, mania, herding + bfdef2

Massive strike

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"

Mass (definition):
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
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
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
(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?

Positive incidences

Negative ones

The feeling of unity found in a
mass might

* 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
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
of personal

thinking freedom

It is even more
worrying when
emotional forces

spread and grow
as an excessive
and irrational

common feeling

(crowd hysteria).

Therefore, mass

behavior is often
and can bring
...massive mistakes
(see crowd behavior).

(*) To find those messages: reach that BF group and, once there,
      1) click "messages", 2) enter your query in "search archives".

Members of the BF Group, please
 vote on the glossary quality at BF polls


 This page last update: 27/08/15  

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