Explanations of institutional aggression: deindividuation

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Psychology unit 3 aggression revision
Explanations of institutional aggression- deindividuation
A situational explanation which explains why prisoners and guards tend to be more
aggressive in prisons. Prison guards or prisoners have uniforms and maybe
referred to by a number instead of a name, increasing sense of anonymity leading
to deindividuation which causes aggression. Prisoners could also have a external
focus as they focus on guards.
Zimbardo: did a prison simulation investigating deindividuation. He used students
who were chosen to be either prisoners or guards. The guards wore a uniform that
gave them a strong group feeling and dark reflecting glasses to give a sense of
anonymity. This led to deindividuation of the guards which led to an increase in
aggressive behaviour. However, even though the prisoners were deindivduated too,
they did not show increased aggression as they have become depressed instead, so
aggression could be due to other factors so deindividuation is a factor into
explaining institutional aggression but it isn't the only factor.


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