Deindividuation

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A Levels Psychology (Aggression) Note on Deindividuation , created by davieschloe7 on 12/05/2013.
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DEINDIVIDUATION THEORY 

Le Bon (1895) Claimed that in a crowd the combination of anonymity, suggestibility and contagion mean that a 'collective mind' takes possession of the individual. The individual loses self-control and becomes capable of acting in a way that goes against personal or social norms 

THE NATURE OF DEINDIVIDUATION

It is a psychological state characterised by lowered self-evaluation and decreased concerns about evaluation by others

Zimbardo (1969) Factors that contribute to deindividuation include anonymity (e.g. wearing a uniform), and altered consciousness due to drugs or alcohol

RESEARCH

Anonymity -Zimbardo (1969)Female graduate shock experiement. Found anonymity increased aggression

Rehm et al. (1987)Assigned schoolchildren to handball teams, half the teams wearing orange shirts and the other half in normal clothes. Children wearing orange were consistently more aggressive. Suggests wearing uniform has an affect

Th

The faceless crowd - Mullen (1986)Analysed newspaper cuttings of 60 lynchings in the US between 1899 and 1946. The more people there were in the mob, the greater the savagery with which they killed their victims

REDUCED PRIVATE SELF-AWARENESS

Prentice-Dunn et al. (1986)Contradicted Zimbardo and claimed that reduced self-awareness rather than anonymity leads to deindividuation. If an individual is self-focused, they tend to act according to internalised attitudes and moral standards, thus reducing the likelihood of anti-social behaviour. If they submerge themselves within the group, they become less privately self-aware

IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL GROUP NORMS

Johnson and Downing (1979)Rather than deindividuation automatically increasing the incidence of aggression, any behaviour produced could be a product of local group norms

Zimbardo (1972)Stanford Prison experiment - people respond to normative cues associated with the social context in which they find themselves

LACK OF SUPPORT

Evidence for the theory is mixed

Postmes and Spears (1998)Concludes there's insufficient evidence to support the major claims of deindividuation and found that disinhibition and antisocial behaviour are not more common in large groups and anonymous settings. There wasn't sufficient evidence that deindividuation is associated with reduced self-awareness, or that reduced self-awareness increases aggressive behaviour

PROSOCIAL CONSEQUENCES

Deindividuation can increase prosocial behaviour -Spivey and Prentice-Dunn (1990)Deindividuation could lead to either prosocial or antisocial behaviour depending on situational factors. When prosocial environment cues were present, deindividuated participants performed significantly more altruistic acts and less antisocial acts when compared to a control group

Online deindividuation - Francis et al. (2006)Adolescents reported feeling significantly more comfortable with seeking help with mental problems under the deindividuated circumstances of internet chatrooms compared to the individuated circumstances of a personal appointment with a health professional

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

Watson (1973)Collected data on the extent to which warriors in 23 societies changes their appearance prior to going to war and the extent to which they killed, tortured and mutilated their victims. Those with war paint and costumes etc. were more destructive towards their victims when compares to those who didn't change their appearance   

GENDER BIAS

Cannavale et al. (1970)Male and female groups responded differently under deindividuation conditions. An increase in aggressive was only obtained in all-male groups

Deiner et al. (1973)Found greater disinhibition of aggression in males. Therefore, evidence indicates that males may be more aggressive in their response to deindividuated conditions than females

REAL WORLD APPLICATION

Mann (1981)Analysed 21 suicide leaps reported in US newspapers in the 1960s and 70s. 10 in 21 cases where a crowd had gathered to watch, baiting had occurred. These tended to occur at night when the crowd was at some distance from the person being taunted

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