Aggression: Deindividuation Theory

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What two types of behaviour did Zimbardo distinguish between?
Individuated behaviour (rational, conforms to socially acceptable standards). Deindividuated behaviour (based on primitive urges, not confroming to societal norms
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What is the definition of deindividuation?
the process whereby people lose their sense of socialised individual identity and engage in unsocialised, often anti-social behaviour. (Hagg & Vaughan)
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When may deindividuation occur?
when an individual has decreased self awareness because they can't be identified, e.g. in a crowd or large group, when we're anonymous (in uniform) or under the influence of a substance.
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What is the process we experience during these situations?
A loss of sense of individuality-> reduced self restraint-> deviant or impulsive behaviour-> reduced attention to how our behaviour might be evaluated-> change in normal standards of behaviour.
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What two things are key in the process of deindividuation?
reduced public awareness (anonymity) and reduced private self awareness (loss of focus on internalised norms)
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Briefly outline Zimbardo's prison study.
21 college students randomly assigned either guard role (uniform, sunglasses, 'weapon') or prisoner role (arrested, prison clothes, number reference). Shut down after 6 days bc guards dehumanized prisoners who accepted it.
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How does this support the deindividuation theory?
Shows that w/ a uniform & sunglasses the guards felt that they were anon and adopted the 'role' and acted antisocial because they could. also, the prisoners acted submissive because they were referred to as numbers.
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Evaluate 2 positives and 2 negatives of Zimbardo's study.
+ high internal validity and ecologically valid. - unethical: psychologicall harm and small sample size/gender biased.
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What other studies support the deindividuation theory?
1. Watson. 2. Zimbardo's Women in Hoods study. 3. Diener's Halloween study. 4. Mann's Crowd-baiting study.
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Outline Watson's findings and how that supports deindividuation theory.
Investigated 23 different cultures- found that warriors who 'depersonalised' themselves w/ painted face masks were significantly more likely to ill, torture or mutilate captured enemies. Supports: shows the effect of anonymity.
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Outline Zimbardo's 'Women in Hoods' study p.1
Female students gave electric shocks to another student (confederate) on errors in a learning task. 1/2 wore bulky lab coats&hoods (hid faces), spoken to in groups of 4 and not referred to by name.
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Outline Zimbardo's 'Women in Hoods' study p.2
Other 1/2 wore normal clothes, given name tags & introduced to each other by name and could see each other when giving the shock. Confederate could be seen and pretended to be in discomfort.
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What did Zimbardo find?
The hooded (deindividuated) group gave twice as many shocks as the individuated group.
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Outline what Diener found in his 'Halloween' study.
Naturalistic obs. of 1300 trick or treaters in USA. When kids were in large groups & wearing costumes that hid their identity they were more likely to perform anti-social actions e.g. stealing money or sweets. Group reduces possibility of personal id
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Outline Mann's 'Crowd-baiting' study findings.
Analysed 21 suicide incidents reported in US newspapers in 60s&70s. 10 out of 21 cases where crowed formed baiting had occurred. Tended to occur at night when crowd was large and distant- produced state of deindividuation.
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What are the positive evaluations of the Deindividuation theory.
Research has influenced crowd control practices (e.g. those used by police). Good supporting evidence which show how evidence can be explained.
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What are the negative evaluations of Deindividuation theory.
Anonymity of victims may be an important factor not just of aggressor (e.g. victims in Mann's study). Johnson&Downing and Gergen go against the theory.
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Outline Johnson & Downing.
Zimbardo 'hoods' study repeated with groups in: KKK uniforms (showed highest aggr), Nurses uniforms (least aggr) and normal clothes (more aggr than nurses). Suggests that deinivid. don't always incr aggr- the role associated changes the levels.
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Outline Gergen.
12 p's- dark room group and light room group for 1 hour: no instructions, do w/ever they wanted. Dark room= 1st 15mins polite&social buy by 1hr 1/2 cuddled and 80% were sexually aroused.
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What are the issues and debates surrounding Deindivuation theory?
Free Will v Determinism (presence of group determines aggressiveness- can't make the decision yourself). Culture Bias- theory supported mainly by American Studies: culturally specific.
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Card 2

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What is the definition of deindividuation?

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the process whereby people lose their sense of socialised individual identity and engage in unsocialised, often anti-social behaviour. (Hagg & Vaughan)

Card 3

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When may deindividuation occur?

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Card 4

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What is the process we experience during these situations?

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Card 5

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What two things are key in the process of deindividuation?

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