Social Norms

Collective Effervescence Explains Why You Love Being Part Of A Crowd

Think back to the euphoric moments you've experienced in your life. Did many of them involve a crowd? Maybe you recall dancing into the wee morning hours at a music festival, celebrating your favorite sports team's World Series win (go Cubs!), attending Comic-Con for the very first time, or marching for a cause you support alongside millions of passionate individuals. These moments might be so special to us because they fulfill our human need for interconnection and belonging.

Related: Millennials May Be The Least Religious Generation, And It's Not Because They're Young

Lose Yourself In The Music

The joyful intoxication you feel during a shared experience was coined "collective effervescence" by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his 1912 book, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Durkheim's research not only relates to these euphoric moments, but also to our inclination towards spiritual groups, or even cults. These types of environments often create an out-of-body, extraordinary feeling within the group.

Related: Consciousness Is Known As The Hard Problem Of Neuroscience

As SUNY Buffalo psychologist Shira Gabriel elaborates to New York Magazine's The Science of Us, collective effervescence can even serve to unite people during unfortunate circumstances. (Maybe that's why people stick with Chicago even after a brutal winter.) Gabriel created the Tendency for Effervescent Assembly Measure, or TEAM scale, and had volunteers rate statements like: "Having giant blizzards or other events that close down a city or area are bad, but the feeling of connection to neighbors and even other strangers going through the same thing almost makes them worth it." Subjects with a high TEAM score experienced higher feelings of social connectedness.

Related: The Mandela Effect Is When Groups Have The Same False Memories

We're All In This Together

Are you a die-hard Harry Potter or Game of Thrones fan? Gabriel extends this notion of collective effervescence to fictional characters and communities in something called the collective-assimilation hypothesis. Fans of these intricate mythical worlds tend to feel a sense of belongingness, positive mood, and increased life satisfaction. Pretty powerful stuff. Whether you're one to lose yourself in the music or Hogwarts, you've likely experienced several forms of collective effervescence through your lifetime. And every time you do, science says you're better for it.

Is there something you're curious about? Email us at editors (at) And follow Curiosity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Videos About Collective Consciousness

Durkheim's Social Facts: What Holds Society Together?

There's mechanical (collective consciousness) and organic (inter-dependent) solidarity.

What Is Consciousness?

It's known as the "hard problem" of neuroscience.

Share the knowledge!
Written by Curiosity Staff February 1, 2017

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.