Group Field Effect

I wrote a comment on the thoughtful post “We Are, Because you Are” by Dennis Pitocco that provided the initial seed of this post. My comment read “You inspire me with an idea which I am giving it the name “group field effect

Like a magnet creating its magnetic field and attracting others into this field so human “magnets” are. Everyone creates his magnetic field of attraction. The question is what do we attract?

The reply of Dennis Pitocco to my comment encouraged me to share this post. His supportive comment reads;

“Love your thoughts here, my friend Ali Anani, Ph.D. – trust that you are amongst those people who challenge and inspire us all!”

Flowers have their electromagnetic field to attract certain bees. Humans, too have their magnetic field to attract certain groups. The more people join a group, the stronger the electromagnetic field becomes and the more attractive power this field has. This explains the growing influence of a group on each member of a group.

I repeat the title of the post of Dennis Pitocco. I say “We Are, because you Are”.

Do not lock yourself with the same friend for long times. You become like a room with no ventilation. If the influence of the friend is bad you tend to be one.

The influence of the group can be positive or negative. Remember that for each effect of a group there is also a reverse effect. Literature is consistent with this claim.

The two opposite effects in this respect are the Blueberry phenomenon in which interdependent individuals bring out the worst in each other. In contrast, the Michelangelo phenomenon is in which individuals of a group bring the best of each other.

The Blueberry phenomenon has been researched well There are similar research findings on the detrimental effects of bad groups or friends. Psychological scars, developing the bad habits of the group such as smoking and heavy drinking, emotional and mental damage, and many more.

One form of mental damage that individuals suffer from is excessive loyalty to the group that closes the mind to accept other groups with different thinking. We become what the group thinks and not what we think.

There is one major issue that people tend to forget. When an individual develops scars or cracks the strength of her/his magnetic field weakens considerably. This makes the individual more exposed to the bad influence of the group as his influence on the group weakens. This person loses her/his influence over time and it becomes harder for her/him to leave the group.

The opposite effects are true for good friends. You widen your possibilities in life, become more immune to developing cracks or scars, and widen your openness to difference.

It is true…we are, because you are.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Thanks for drawing our attention to this interesting subject so inspiring and deserving the utmost consideration.
    It is well known the phenomenon of social influence which implies that the group
    influences the individual. The influence that the group exerts on the behavior of the single individual is very high. This influence pushes people to conform in behavior (thoughts, feelings, actions) to that of others, that is to conformism. The consequence is that conforming to group norms can result in the loss of our independent thinking. The sense of belonging to a group can be such as to lose awareness of one’s self, individuality and self-control can be lost. People engage in behaviors in groups that they would never adopt alone. The identity and norms of the group have the upper hand. This is what happens in crowds, thanks also to the presence of anonymity.
    All this, of course, happens more easily to those who do not already have a strong personality or go through moments of psychological difficulty.
    To reduce negative conformism, it is appropriate (necessary) to avoid isolation and open up to exchanges with the outside world, encourage a critical attitude and be ready to welcome dissent.

    • I love the way you order your thinkng and present your ideas, Aldo.

      One clearexample is this comment of yours. “The consequence is that conforming to group norms can result in the loss of our independent thinking. The sense of belonging to a group can be such as to lose awareness of one’s self, individuality and self-control can be lost.”

      Your conclusion and recommendation on how to move out of this social field effect is brilliant.

  2. enjoyed the conversation . to me a group or herd mentality is different than each one of the herd. when old friends get toagther they just forget the age , position , emminance they belong they just enjoy the group
    Nice post. enjoyed

    • Vinod, your comment is interesting and in particular “.to me a group or herd mentality is different than each one of the herd.”

      The interactions of many individuals mat indeed result in what we call emergent behavior. The group behavior is different from the individual behavior.
      I agree with you:

  3. Insigtful post Brother Ali
    Clearly one would want to avoid the Blueberry phenomenon is relationships with friends and lovers.

    I have friends from my youth with whom I used to have a dynamic of “giving each other grief” -insulting each other, teasing that bordered on the hurtful and mean-spirited. I also had friends with whom, my pattern was over-indulgence in alcohol. One-by-one I have changed those relationships to be more positive and affirming or walked away from them.

    I see the opposite kind of relationship the Michaelangelo phenomenon -where one tries to be one’s best self and encourages friends and lovers to be their best self as desireable, but incredibly dangerous. If I attempt to sculpt my partner, friend or group of friends into my understanding of their best self or selves, mightn’t I just making self-replicas.
    The pschopath or sociopath doesn’t recognize boundaries between himself an others. Do we want to encourage such potentially manipulative behavior.

    The only remedy I see to this danger is to make the sculpting of the Michaelangelo phemomenon, overtly agreed upon and transparent. In that way it can be based in love and mutual.

    In groups -“We are, because you are, and we agree to be”


    • Brother Alan,

      You are spot on. I am grateful to you for sharing your personal experience and the hard lessons you learnt from them. We all benefit from being open and sharing what would help others to avoid or repeat our mistakes.

      I mentioned in the post that the electromagnetic fie field is what attracts bees to flowers. That said, this interaction is natural. However, I completely understand your concern .It is not about manipulation, but rather exchange of experiences. To shape or try to shape other peoples’ ‘ lives is unacceptable. We change because we want to change. The group may build on this desire.