The opposite of Merton's self-fulfilling prophecy. In this situation a prediction is proven false because so many people know about the prediction. It's more than a little self referential since many of the aforementioned predections are generalizations generated by sociologists - so much for scientific objectivity. Some sociologists have even attributed this to a "wait and see what happens" mentality in the would be participants. This phenomenon is valuable because it not only illustrates the lack of precision in predicting crowd behavior but opens up a whole new area of deviance study.

The most obvious examples of this are the paranoia induced by the Y2K bug speculations. All the continual rumors about the end of civilization and militia groups forming huge post-apocalyptic clans almost jaded people into being calm. The powers that be assumed that New Year's Eve was going to be the riot to end all riots and not a whole lot happened. Here in Denver, the downtown area was more populated with police in riot gear than rioters. The barricades, tear gas cannisters, and kevlar vests were a joke. The script was there but there were no actors.

Of course, the opposite effect is often true. Year after year sports fans destroy downtown areas with massive arrests and injuries. The tone of the prediction probably plays a major role in this. Crowds are, in the end, composed of people and sometimes (stress the some here) they are reluctant to be part of the herd.

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