Slides in this set
Gustave Le Bons (1895) claimed that a crowd,
when combined with anonymity, suggestibility and
contagion, becomes of one mind.
Deindividuation is characterised by decreased self-
evaluation and lowered concerns over evaluation
by others, meaning that the person/group is
uninhibited by personal morals.
Zimbardo suggested that greater anonymity (such
as wearing uniforms) and an altered consciousness
(due to taking drugs or alcohol) can increase the
effects of deindividuation.…read more
Zimbardo (1969) used groups of 4 female students to shock
other students as part of a `learning exercise'.
In the first condition, the deindividuated condition,
participants wore lab coats and hoods, were never referred
to by name, and were addressed as a group when given
In the individuated condition, participants were introduced to
each other, dressed normally and had large name tags, and
were given instructions individually.
Those in the deindividuated group shocked for twice as long.
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
Not all crowds perform antisocial behaviours.
There is a lack of support for the theory. Postmes
and Speares (1998) concluded that there is
insufficient support for the theory, due to a mixed
result after a meta-analysis of 60 studies into
However, Watson (1973) studied warriors from
24 different cultures. Those who painted their
faces tended to be more aggressive.
But the theory of deindividuation is deterministic,
stating that the presence of the group determines
the aggressive behaviour.…read more