Why did crowd gather creating chaos at Beachwood Mall? Psychologist might hold the answer

Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-28 19:50:31-05

When a large group of people ran through Beachwood Mall Monday, shoppers were frightened and ran for cover.

There was no violence, but there was fear and chaos.

But, what causes an idea like this by a couple of people, to become a large group causing chaos?

Part of it is a contagious mob or herd mentality says Carolyn Ievers-Landis, who is a licensed clinical psychologist at University Hospitals. She believes that some people in their teens and 20s want to fit in, while struggling to create their own identity.

"It's risky because of the way teens are trying to figure out who they are, and they are trying a lot of different things, and they're trying to fit in, they don't want to be different than other kids, so this is a time when you want to go with the flow, and want to do things, even if they are on the outskirts, or on the outside of what other people would think is normal,” Ievers-Landis said.

Many times events like this are planned on social media, which can lead to a risky competition to outdo others Ievers-Landis said. 

"I think that the internet and social media are enhancing all of this, it's like this competition for who can come up with the latest thing," Ievers-Landis said.