by CommonLit Staff
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
- CommonLit Staff
Studies have shown that infants can recognize themselves in the mirror when they are as young as 6 months of age, but psychologists have debated about what this actually means. Some psychologists claim that recognizing your reflection is key to developing identity, but others say that you can still understand your identity without being able to recognize and process your reflection. In this article, students will explore the concept of the "mirror" stage and its implications for our understanding of identity.Pair “Mirror Stage” with “Herd Behavior” to let students discover the many factors that shape who we are and how we behave.
The Third Wave
- CommonLit Staff
The Third Wave was an experimental social movement created by high school history teacher Ron Jones in 1967 to explain how the German populace could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during the Second World War. While he taught his students about Nazi Germany during his "Contemporary World History" class, Jones found it difficult to explain how the German people could accept the actions of the Nazis, and decided to create a social movement as a demonstration of the appeal of fascism. As the movement grew outside his class and began to number in the hundreds, Jones began to feel that the movement had spiraled out of control.Pair “The Third Wave” with “Herd Behavior” and ask students to consider how the psychology of herd behavior played out in the Third Wave experiment.
- CommonLit Staff
Violent acts and delinquent behavior have long been associated with soccer games. The need to feel accepted by a group and to gain power are the main reasons people partake in what is known as football hooliganism.Pair “Football Hooliganism” with “Herd Behavior” to continue a discussion on how people tend to behave in crowds.
- CommonLit Staff
The drive to conform to group norms is a powerful force in most people’s lives. This informational text about conformity helps explain why people tend to match their beliefs and behaviors to those around them.Pair “Conformity” with “Herd Behavior” to introduce another lens for viewing human behavior in crowds. How are the concepts of conformity and herd behavior related to each other?
When Good People Do Bad Things
- Ann Trafton
Rebecca Saxe, an associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at MIT, conducted an experiment to study the way people behave in groups. This article explores the study's findings, and what they can teach us about the science behind mob brutality.Pair "When Good People do Bad Things" with "Herd Behavior" and ask students to analyze how each text explains the influence that large groups have on moral behavior.
Witchcraft in Salem
The informational text “Witchcraft in Salem” recounts how mass hysteria gripped the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692-1693, a period now known as the Salem Witch Trials.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “Witchcraft in Salem” and ask students to discuss the concepts of herd behavior and mass hysteria. What — besides “witches” — did the people of Salem have to fear? How did this fear manifest? Do students think society today is more or less prone to this instinct than the Puritans were in the 1600s?
The Dancing Plague of 1518
- Doug MacGowan
In “The Dancing Plague of 1518,” the informational text explores the medieval case of sudden, violent dancing in a small French village.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “The Dancing Plague of 1518” and ask students how people’s behaviors change in crowds. Could the behaviors exhibited in the case of the dancing plague have been caused by the types of social pressure described in “Herd Behavior”? Why or why not?
The Kitty Genovese Murder: What Really Happened?
- Jessica McBirney
“The Kitty Genovese Murder: What Really Happened?” discusses the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese, in which 37 bystanders were said to have heard the crime and failed to act.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “The Kitty Genovese Murder: What Really Happened?” and ask students to discuss how the bystander effect is related to herd behavior. Why are people more likely to act when others are acting in a certain way around them?
Thresholds of Violence
- Malcolm Gladwell
In “Thresholds of Violence,” Malcolm Gladwell explores the social structures that encourage people to act violently when they normally wouldn’t.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “Thresholds of Violence” and ask students to discuss how herd behavior is similar to Mark Granovetter’s theory on riot behavior. Is there a way to disrupt herd and riot behaviors and to prevent the negative consequences?
The Madness Of Humanity Part 3: Tribalism
- Marcelo Gleiser for NPR
In “The Madness of Humanity Part 3: Tribalism,” Marcelo Gleiser discusses what role tribalism plays in our society today, and the different social interactions it promotes.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “The Madness of Humanity Part 3: Tribalism” and ask student to discuss how herd behavior and tribalism are similar social phenomena. Why do humans participate in both? What are the benefits and disadvantages of herd behavior and tribalism?
Learning How To Code-Switch: Humbling, But Necessary
- Eric Deggans
In “Learning How To Code-Switch: Humbling, But Necessary,” Eric Deggans discusses how cultural identity shapes the communication style a person uses.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “Learning How To Code-Switch: Humbling, But Necessary” and ask students to discuss whether they consider code-switching to be a form of herd behavior. How does code-switching differ from herd behavior?
- Jessica McBirney
In the informational text “Adolf Hitler,” Jessica McBirney discusses Adolf Hitler’s life, his rise to power, and the violence that followed.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “Adolf Hitler” to provide students with additional information on why people tend to follow the crowd. How do the explanations given in “Herd Behavior” translate to people’s willingness to follow Hitler? How might “group mind” have contributed to people’s violent treatment of Jews during WWII?
On Various Kinds of Thinking
- James Harvey Robinson
In “Various Kinds of Thinking,” James Harvey Robinson discusses different types of thinking, why humans should continue to pursue knowledge, and what deters them from doing so.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “On Various Kinds of Thinking” to dive deeper into James Harvey Robinson’s discussion of herd behavior. How do the details revealed in “Herd Behavior” translate to Robinson’s piece? How do the two texts portray herd behavior?
The Limits of Empathy
- David Brooks
In his opinion piece “The Limits of Empathy,” David Brooks discusses what it means to be empathetic and whether or not empathy can influence us to act morally.Pair “Herd Behavior” with “The Limits of Empathy” and ask students to discuss how group mentality might contribute to an individual’s ability to feel empathy but not act. Do students think that people would be more compelled to act if others were doing the same? Why or why not? How is the example about the Nazi guards in “The Limits of Empathy” also an example of herd behavior?