chapter  6
17 Pages

Social Presence and Social Performance

Unflinchingly driven by this creed, Adolf Hitler has entered the history of this century, not only for the appalling atrocities committed by the Nazis but also for the awesome effectiveness of his oratory in completely mesmerizing and bringing under his spell the tens of thousands who attended the rallies held in Nuremberg during the 1930s. At these

events separate individuals were seemingly completely transformed into a single body with one will. In this chapter we discuss the impact on the individual of being in the physical presence of others. The extract above touches on a number of themes which will be explored-for example, the way in which the presence of others can facilitate certain behaviours; the contagiousness of actions and ideas in the presence of others; the loss of self-awareness and individuality (the de-individuation) of people in the presence of others; the apparent self-presentation and impression management aspect of behaviour in the presence of others.