Deindividuation theory

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  • Deindividuation (DDD) theory
    • Lack of support for DDD
      • Postmes and Spears – meta analysis (MA) 60 studies – concluded there is insignificant supp for major claims of DDD theory
        • Dis-inhibition and anti-social behaviour not more common in large groups/anon settings
    • Importance of local group norms
      • Johnson and Downing – rather than DDD automatically increasing instance of aggressive behaviour, the behaviour could be the product of local group norms
        • Same conditions as Zimbardo – one group dressed as KKK others as nurses. The KKK people were more aggressive than the nurses
          • Felt that aggressive behaviour was more appropriate
    • Process of DDD
      • People refrain from acting in aggressive manner because social norms inhibit such uncivilised behaviour and also because they are easily identifiable
        • Being anon therefore unaccountable has psych consequence of reducing inner restraint and increasing behaviour usually inhibited
          • Large crowd; each person faceless and anon – the larger the group the greater the anonymity
            • Reduced sense of guilt and negative evaluation
              • Conditions that increase anonymity minimise concerns about above and weaken barriers to antisocial behaviour
    • Nature of DDD
      • Psych state characterised by lowered self-evaluation and lowered concern about eval by others
        • Increase in behaviour normally inhibited by social/personal norms
          • DDD - aroused when ind joins large group/crowd
            • Contributing factors - anonymity e.g. wearing uniform and altered consciousness due drugs/alcohol – Zimbardo
              • Stressed that this could also lead to increased pro-social behaviour e.g. religious gatherings
                • Focus of DDD theory exclusively on anti-social
    • Based on classic crowd theory (Gustave le Bon).
      • Described how individual transforms when part of crowd
        • Combination of anonymity, suggestibility, contagion - collective mind possesses individual (IND)
          • Ind loses self-control, capable of acting in way against personal or social norms.
    • Gender bias - IDA
      • Cannavale et al – fe/males respond differently
        • Males show increase in aggression only – Diener et al
          • Greater dis-inhibition of aggression in males indicating males more prone to aggressive behaviour in DDD
    • Real World Application – IDA
      • Mann – 21 suicide leaps reported in newspapers and found in 10/21 where baiting had occurred


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