Posts Tagged ‘herd instinct’

We are almost halfway through ‘Movember’ now and still I’m beardless.  Not because I’m follically challenged around the chin area but simply because I prefer to set my own personal grooming calendar.  It’s a fact that whenever I get wind of a new craze I run in the opposite direction.  If I’d got a beard already at the start of November I’d have shaved it off in my own personal protest and, if I kept goats, I’d make sure they were beardless too for the whole month.

Last month there were people throwing buckets of ice-cold water over each other, for what reason I don’t know as I couldn’t be bothered to find out.  All I know is that the trend left me with severe hydrophophia and a yearning to replace buckets of ice with very sharp objects.

So what is this need for people to assimilate whatever new fad or trend that gets publicised on social media and eventually into mainstream media?  Psychologists refer to it as the herd instinct, a tendency for individuals to gravitate towards the same thing and copying behaviour.  It evidently stems from early learning behaviour in that copying what someone else is doing is safe and likely to be advantageous to them in the long run.

Try this little test the next time you’re in a supermarket.  This is something that happens to me on a regular basis and drives me crazy.  Think of the most obscure product you can think of – for example olives stuffed with anchovies, then go to the aisle where you’ll find them tucked away on a bottom shelf as nobody wants these things on a regular basis.  Now bend down, pick up the can and read the label.  Hey presto!  You should have someone standing over you by now pacing up and down waiting for you to move so they can go and have a look at what you’ve found.  It works every time.  Now go to the pet aisle and pick up a box of budgie seed and you’ll be surprised how many budgie owners will be standing behind you pecking over your shoulder.

But it doesn’t have to be a supermarket.  Just stop outside any shop window and look in.  It’s a great way to find new company.

Okay, maybe I’m just being a grumpy old git, but it’s something that just gets under my skin.

And now, its NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month when people are invited to put pen to paper to bring out that novel they’ve had burning inside them for years.  You’ve got a month to commit to 50,000 words and make pledges to family and friends that you are going to get to the end of your masterpiece – even if it means locking yourself in the toilet with your tablet for a whole month.

I started a novel in September and guess what?  I’m having a month off…