What You Should Know About Mass Formation

There has been some talk going around about a controversial theory called “Mass Formation Psychosis.” The term has accumulated over 100,000 interactions on public Facebook groups, pages, as well as verified profiles, according to CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring site. And all of this stemmed from one episode of The Joe Rogan Experience.

This theory, which was brought about by Robert Malone, MD, concerns public health and the behavior around it as practiced by the eponymous masses. Dr. Malone theorizes that the messages that encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccinations are working to “hypnotize” entire groups of people. These people, being hypnotized as they are, are working against their will. 

Dr. Malone has likened this “Mass Formation Psychosis” to Nazism, saying:

“What the heck happened to Germany in the 20s and 30s? Very intelligent, highly educated population and they went barking mad. And how did that happen? […] When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere.”

Dr. Malone described Mass Formation Psychosis as possessing “free-floating anxiety” coupled with a sense of unreality or a loss of making sense out of reality, and a leader that can be viewed as charismatic and therefore hypnotic. All of these combine and lead to people seeking out vaccines “against their will.” He states that once this happens, people will follow said charismatic leader anywhere. “The data are irrelevant.”

But first, who exactly is Dr. Malone?

Allegedly, he is a consultant and former pathology and surgery professor. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is the  “Inventor of mRNA vaccines and DNA vaccines,” a claim that has been questioned. 

The Mass Formation Psychosis theory has been gaining some traction around social media and even cable and radio news. This is likely because on the 31st of December last year, Dr. Malone was interviewed as a guest on the wildly controversial podcast hosted by Joe Rogan, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” You’ve probably heard of Joe Rogan’s podcast after huge musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, India Arie, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash chose to pull their music from Spotify due to his positions about COVID-19, the language around race, etc.

There is much contention around the idea of Mass Formation Psychosis. In the eyes of medical societies, Mass Formation Psychosis doesn’t hold much water and is not an actual medical idea. Associate professor of psychology and neural science at New York University Jay Van Bavel, Ph.D., told Reuters, “It seems to have been made up recently.” It should also be worth noting that Dr. Malone was permanently banned from Twitter for  repeated perceived violations of the site’s COVID-19 “misinformation policy.” 

What do you think about this theory?

Are you for or against Mass Formation Psychosis?

Do you think it holds any weight in the medical world?


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