Doing something simply because others are doing it is a good example of what is called “herd mentality.” Herd mentality is when people are influenced so much that they behave the same way as other people—even when they do not understand why the group is acting a certain way.
Show the following video [5:34; stop at 4:31]:
Brain Games Conformity Waiting Room
- The woman said, “Everybody was doing it, so I thought I was supposed to,” and “when I saw everybody stand up, I felt like I needed to join them.” When have you done or said something because everybody was doing it? (Answers will vary but may include: following trends in clothes, music, or food; doing positive things like joining an after-school club or team; unkind behaviors such as teasing a peer or carrying on when there is a substitute teacher, etc.)
- The woman felt “much more comfortable” when she stood at the tone even though she had no idea why she was standing. Why did she feel more comfortable doing what the others were doing? (Answers will vary; she did not feel left out; she did not stand out as being different; she felt like she was part of the group; she felt like she was doing the right thing because everyone else was doing it, etc.)
- Even the man who seemed determined not to join in eventually stood. Perhaps he felt odd for being different. How does a person keep from giving in to that kind of pressure? (Answers will vary.)
Standing at the sound of a tone in the video was harmless, but it says a lot about the way people respond to peer pressure. We want to belong or fit in with others. We may end up following others without stopping to think that we have a choice. We may follow even when what the others are doing is not what we should or want to do.
- When have you felt pressured to follow the crowd or follow just a few friends? (Answers will vary.)
- What is your biggest fear about what might happen if you do not go along with the group? (Answers will vary; rejection, ridicule, loneliness, isolation, teasing, bullying, etc.)
Moses, Caleb, and Joshua went against the group and stood up for God’s plan when others were too afraid to trust God. Let’s see how they managed to say “no” to peer pressure and “yes” to choosing to serve God.