Devindividuation Theory

Notes I made for my A2 exams.

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What is it? - loose our identity and engage in anti-social behaviour
When does it occur? - Crowds, Uniform, Drugs/ Alcohol ...whenever someone's identity is hidden
Examples...French revolution, student protests, genocides et c
Why does it happen? - Usually constrained by social norms, in a crowd these social norms are
relaxed as we become part of the angry mob.
Zimbardo 1969- when individuals we conform to rational behaviour, when deindividuated-
primitive urges as we are anonymous, and the fear of retribution is no longer present. Most
aggressive acts are carried out when either the victim or perpetrator is deindividuised.
Malamuth 1981- 30% US males may consider rape if they thought they could get away with it, if
they were deindividuaised
Prentis dunn et rogers 1989- anti social acts are a result of reduced self- awareness rather than
FOR- Zimbardo 1969- Inspired by Milgrams shock experiment, two groups- one group wore bulky
lab coats, hoods and sat in separate cubicles and not referred to by name. Another wore own
clothes, name badges and introduced by name. The deindividuated group gave shocks for twice
as long.
AGAINST- Johnson and Downing- Similar to Zimbardo study, although this time both groups were
dendividuated. One group wore KKK costumes, the other Nurses uniforms. Those wearing KKK
gave higher shocks than those dressed as nurses...suggesting social roles are more important as
type of uniform had an effect, but shouldn't matter because according to the theory, uniforms are a
form of deinivduation.
FOR- Mann 1981- Analysed 21 suicide jumps. Found that 10 out of 21 had baited the jumper and
these took place at night, where individuals most likely to be deindividuised, so more aggressive
behaviour likely to take place.
FOR- Watson 1973- warriors who changed appearance more brutal than those who didn't... 13
most violent societies all but one changed appearance. 10 least brutal societies 7 out of 10 did
not change appearance...found information from HRAF...cultures not fully represented and
researcher bias... current day military.

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AGAINST-Gergen 1973- 6 males and 6 female- pitch black room...deindividuised, for 1 hour. By 1
hour people were started to become aroused by one another...suggest deindiviuation can lead to
prosocial behaviour.
AGAINST- Not all crowds lead to anti-social behaviour, depends on the general mood of the
crowd and why the crowd has gathered in the first place.
Personality factors can have an affect...nature "angry genes" most likely to go out and look for
trouble, know they won't be seen in a crowd.…read more


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