Psychology of Crowd Behaviour (C8817)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

This module is about crowds and other collective phenomena, including riots, protests, social movements, mass emergency behaviour, and mundane situations of crowding. A fundamental question we address is how large numbers of people are able to act as one, particularly in novel situations. In both psychology and popular accounts, many of the answers given to this question suggested that collective behaviour occurs through a diminution of self or identity. This explained what some (particularly outside observers) understood as the mindlessness and irrationality they observed in crowd events such as riots. The module critically reviews these arguments through drawing on contemporary theory and research on crowds and collective action, according to which collective behaviours and experiences are meaningful, purposive and often positive.


58%: Lecture
42%: Seminar


20%: Coursework (Group presentation)
80%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 152 hours of work. This breaks down into about 26 hours of contact time and about 126 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: