The 1964 Wellington Study of Beatlemania Revisited


In June 1964, an Honours class in clinical psychology set out to objectify the major parameters of crowd and audience reaction to the Beatles’ during the group’s three-day visit to Wellington, New Zealand. Advance publicity had warned of the “mass-hysteria” to be expected at the sight, sound and lyrics of the four lads from Liverpool. Adolescents anticipated their arrival eagerly, while the authorities were disparaging and somewhat fearful of the breakdown in law and order that might occur. The findings were published in Britain in 1966, taken a little further in the United States in1968, and the original published once more in Britain in 1992 by special request to encourage more psychologists to undertake research off campus. When writers from those countries mentioned the study recently near the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ visit, it seemed interesting to review the accretion of similar studies that might have occurred. Sadly, the outcome showed that psychologists had not taken mass-audience research any further. Hence it was thought appropriate to lift the Wellington study from obscurity, in the hope of inspiring the next generation to make amends.



Share and Cite:

Taylor, A. (2014). The 1964 Wellington Study of Beatlemania Revisited. Psychology, 5, 1844-1853. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.515190.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Aldridge, E. (1969). The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. London: St. Giles House.
[2] Anon (2011). The Timechart History of the World (4th ed.). Chippenham: Third Millenium Press.
[3] Armstrong, G., & Neill, A. Half a World Away: The Beatles’ Australasian Tour.
[4] Backman, E. L. (1952). Religious Dances in the Christian Church and Popular Medicine. London: Allen & Unwin.
[5] Bartholemew, R. E., & Goode, E. (2000). Mass Delusions and Hysterias: Highlightsfrom the Past Millennium. Skeptical Inquirer, 24.
[6] Bedford, C. (1984). Waiting for the Beatles: An Apple Scruff’s Story. Poole: Blanford.
[7] Burt, R., Ed. (1983). The Beatles: The Fab Four Who Dominated Music for a Decade. London: Phoebus/Octopus.
[8] Fulpen, H. V. (1982). The Beatles: An Illustrated Diary. New York: Perigee.
[9] Goldman, A. (1988). The Lives of John Lennon. London: Bantam.
[10] Hecker, J. F. C. (1844). The Epidemics of the Middle Ages. London: Woodfall & Son.
[11] Herscovitz, M. J. (1948). Man & His Works: The Science of Cultural Anthropology. New York: Kopf.
[12] Hill, T. (2012). The Beatles: Then There Was Music. Croxley Green: Transatlantic Press.
[13] Jensen, J. (1992). Fandom as Pathology: The Consequences of Characterization. In L. Lewis (Ed.), The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media (pp. 9-26). London: Routledge.
[14] Lennon, C. (1978). A Twist of Lennon. London: Allen.
[15] Lennon, J. (1964). In His Own Write. London: Cape.
[16] Mayer-Gross, W., Slater, E., & Roth, M. (1960). Clinical Psychiatry (2nd ed.). London: Cassells.
[17] Reddish, P., Fischer, R., & Bulbull, J. (2013). Let’s Dance Together: Synchrony, Shared Intentionality and Cooperation. PLoS ONE, 8, e71182.
[18] Salk, L. (1962). Division of Psychology: Mothers’ Heartbeat as an Imprinting Stimulus. Transactions of the New York Academy of Science, 24, 753-763.
[19] Sutton, J. (2014). For Those Psychologists About to Rock… The Psychologist, 27, 320.
[20] Taylor, A. J. W. (1966). Beatlemania: A Study in Adolescent Enthusiasm. British Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 5, 81-88.
[21] Taylor, A. J. W. (1968). Beatlemaia: The Adulation and Exuberance of Some Adolescents. In M. Truzzi (Ed.), Sociology and Everyday Life (pp. 161-170). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[22] Taylor, A. J. W. (1992). Beatlemania: A Study in Adolescent Enthusiasm. Clinical Psychology Forum, 50, 9-13.
[23] Toffler, A. (1970). Future Shock. London: Bodley Head.
[24] Waller, J. (2009a). A Forgotten Plague: Making Sense of Dancing Mania. The Lancet, 373, 624-625.
[25] Waller, J. (2009b). Looking Back: Dancing Plagues and Mass Hysteria. The Psychologist, 22, 643-647.
[26] Weiner, J. (1991). Come Together: John Lennon in His Time. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.
[27] Wesseley, S. (1987). Mass Hysteria: Two Syndromes? Psychological Medicine, 17, 109-120.
[28] Winnington-Ingram, R. P. (1948). Euripides & Dionysius. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.