Researchers at Stanford University have discovered that doing activities in unison with others can make you feel more like a Nazi!
That’s right — goose-stepping it up and down the square with thousands of other jack-booted individuals can actually make you feel like part of the group. (Even though all the other Nazis make snide comments about how you’re not really as Aryan-looking as you could be.)
This group loyalty extends to everyone, not just Teutonic supermen. Apparently, our brains are hard-wired for this herd mentality. According to the New Scientist:
Vasily Klucharev, at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, found that the brain releases more of the reward chemical dopamine when we fall in line with the group consensus .
Having experienced this phenomenon personally at a certain university, where the first week of term is devoted to group chanting, singing and dancing, I can testify to the power of these psychological and neurological effects. (Incidentally, I believe the dopamine kick is magnified by the application of beer, peppermint schnapps, and intimate encounters with other members of your group.)
Luckily, this quirk of human nature can be used by anyone — for good or evil — as evidenced by the recent election of a certain charismatic chap: “Yes we can!”