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Deindividuation

    Image:A16 IMF march.jpg|thumb|right|200px|Individuals may become deindividuated in crowd situations such as in this demonstration Deindividuation theory refers to a state of decreased self awareness and control through reduction in self-evaluation and evaluation apprehension and becoming capable of violating personal or social norms Postmes T. & Spears R. (1998) "Deindividuation: Deindividuation and Antinormative : A Meta-Analysis" Psychological Bulletin 123(3):238-259 It is one of the most widely cited effects of social groups (eg crowd) but some psychologists have used it in other context such as where individuals feel they have anonymity
    It can have very destructive effects sometimes making people more likely to commit a crime (Diener 1976) or leading policemen to use excessive force in an arrest It has been admitted to justify actions in crowd behaviour even in legal context and murder trials Colman AM (1991) "Crowd Psychology in South African murder trials" American Psychologist 56, 1071-1070

    Background and development of theory

    The contemporary theory is an outcome of series of developments since it's origin The Deindividuation theory is largely based on the classic crowd theory of Gustave Le Bon in the 19th century crowd where "collective mind" of the crowd takes possession of the individual Le Bon (1895/1995) The : A study of the popular mind : Transaction
    The theory was revitalised half-century later by the Social Psychologist Leon Festinger who claimed that deindividuation is a reduction of inner restraints He claimed that it is this loss of inner controls that are responsible for individual actions in crowds rather than a "collective mind" which he rejected Festinger L., Pepitone A. and Newcomb T. (1952) Some consequences of deindividuation in a group Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 47, 382-389
    It was however Zimbardo (1969) who presented a theoretical framework and specified various variables that lead to deindividuated behaviours (established norms of appropriateness) such as anonymity sensory overlorad and conscious altering substances (eg alcohol and/or drugs) However Zimbardo did not see the concept deindividuation as an exclusively group phenomena Zimbardo P. G. (1970) The human choice: Individuation reason and order versus deindividuation impulse and chaos In W. J. Arnold and D. Levine (Eds) 1969 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (pp 237-307) Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press Zimbardo carried out a number of very influential experiments which formed the "blue print" of future research in deindividuation However his results and conclusions remain questionnable Ed Diener in the late 1970's reviewed and refined Zimbardo's theory and criticised what he claimed to be inconsistent experimental support and deficiencies in the literature especially regarding what he saw as the central to the validity of the construct the internal state of deindividuation Diener E., Fraser S. C., Beaman A. L. and Kelem R. T. (1976) Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 33(2) 178-183

    Crowd Psychology

    Deindividuation has been hypothesized as a major cause of rioting such as the violent rioting occurred in the 1992 riots in south central Los Angeles California USA Because people in a deindividuated mental state lose awareness of themselves they ignore external evaluation of themselves by other people and are unrestrained by their normal inhibitionsDeindividuation occurs when one loses one's social identity and behaves in a manner in which one usually would not behave (Nelson 2005)

    References

    Recommended reading

    • Diener E., Fraser S. C., Beaman A. L. and Kelem R. T. (1976) Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 33(2) 178-183
    • Festinger L., Pepitone A. and Newcomb T. (1952) Some consequences of deindividuation in a group Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 47, 382-389
    • Zimbardo P. G. (1970) The human choice: Individuation reason and order versus deindividuation impulse and chaos In W. J. Arnold and D. Levine (Eds) 1969 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (pp 237-307) Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press

    See also

    • Contrasted with individuation
    • Depersonalization
    • Dehumanization
    • Objectification
    • Risky shift

    External links

    • http://changingmindsorg/explanations/theories/deindividuationhtm