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Deindividuation is based on Gustave Le Bons (1895)
theory of the classic crowd. He claimed that a crowd,
when combined with anonymity, suggestibility and
contagion, becomes of one mind. The individuals in the
crow lose their self control, and can behave in a way that
they wouldn't normally.
What is deindividuation?…read more

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It is characterised by decreased self-evaluation, and
lowered concerns over evaluation by others. This means
that they aren't as inhibited by personal morals, and they
don't care what other people think of their actions.
· Zimbardo suggested that greater anonymity (such as
wearing uniforms) and an altered consciousnes
(drugs/alcohol) can also increase the effects of
What are the features of
deindividuation?…read more

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Normally, people don't behave anti-socially because
there are social norms that people behave in a civilised
manner. They also behave according to these norms
because they are easily identifiable, and can therefore be
accounted for for their antisocial behaviour.
· However, in a crowd, the anonymity means that their
inhibitions about behaving antisocially are decreased
because they are less identifiable.
· The larger the crowd, the greater the anonymity.
How does it work?…read more

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Zimbardo (1969) had groups of 4 female students shock other
students as part of a 'learning exercise'. There were 2
conditions, the deindividuated condition, and the individuated
condition. Those in the deindividuation condition wore bulky
lab coats and hoods, were never referred to by name, and were
addressed as a group when given instructions. Those in the
individuation condition were introduced to each other, dressed
normally and wore large name tags, and were given
instructions individually. Those in the deindividuation
condition shocked for twice as long.
Research…read more

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Mullen (1986) analysed newspaper cuttings of 60 lynchings in
the US between 1899 and 1946, and found that the larger the
mob, the more savagery with which they killed their victims.
· Johnson and Downing (1979) used the same experimental
conditions as Zimbardo, but participants were made
anonymous by a) masks and overalls, or b) nurses uniforms.
Those in masks and overalls shocked more than the control,
and those in nurses uniforms shocked less than control,
conforming to social roles.
· Prentice-Dunn et al (1982) put forward an alternative
perspective to Zimbardos conclusion on deindividuation. They
claim reduced self awareness, rather than anonymity, is the
cause for this phenomenon
Research…read more

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