Jan 10, 2022

Understanding Mass Formation with Mattias Desmet

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Belonging, Groupthink, Health, Mass Formation, Psychology


The psychology of individuals is interesting, and how individual psychology is influenced by groups, media, marketing and fear is an area I’m going to continue to explore. It’s like family systems but muchhhhh larger. And much more complex. Yet still simple in the narrow ways we respond when afraid — thanks to evolution and our amygdala.

This is why I’M SO EXCITED that I got to interview Mattias Desmet! He is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ghent University in Belgium with a masters degree in statistics. As an academic researcher, Mattias started to study the statistics presented around the current events in early 2020 and it became clear to him that the stats needed further exploration and discussion, as did how we were approaching it psychologically.

Mattias joins me to share his expertise in a phenomenon known as “mass formation,” a kind of collective hypnosis that occurs under certain societal conditions. WOW. What an incredible exploration that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope this episode gives you deeper context for our current situation and makes you a feel less alone as you navigate today’s climate.


  • The psychological process of “mass formation” and how it relates to current events
  • The four specific conditions in society that when fulfilled simultaneously, lead to groupthink
  • The surprising reason people continue to buy into a consensus narrative
  • The most efficient strategy you can adopt to help shift the narrative