Mass Psychology is grossly misunderstood field and this is why we have come up with the understanding mass psychology series. It is often confused with the notion of contrarian investing. In fact, the two only share a few common traits. Contrarians usually jump in and out of the markets too early. They bail out well in advance of the top and miss on the largest part of the move, and jump in too early and reduce their upside gains. In most cases, these contrarians are fashion contrarians which means that they choose the title because it sounds cool and they usually lose more than they make on a given day or year.
Wikipedia makes the following comments regarding mass Psychology or Crowd psychology
Crowd psychology, also known as mob psychology, is a branch of social psychology. Social psychologists have developed several theories for explaining the ways in which the psychology of a crowd differs from and interacts with that of the individuals within it. Major theorists in crowd psychology include Gustave Le Bon, Gabriel Tarde, Sigmund Freud, and Steve Reicher. This field relates to the behaviors and thought processes of both the individual crowd members and the crowd as an entity. Crowd behavior is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual and the impression of universality of behavior, both of which increase with the size of the crowd.
We tend to view mass psychology as taking a position that would even surprise the toughest of contrarians. We wait for the markets to froth, for a feeding frenzy stage before bailing out and vice versa before jumping in.
The following articles will help provide some insight into this wonderful but overly misunderstood field.
Other articles of interest: