Discuss the Deindividuation Theory

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Aggression, Milgram experiment Pages: 2 (660 words) Published: January 30, 2013
Deindividuation is a process whereby people lose their sense of socialised individual identity and engage in unsocialised and often antisocial behaviour. Generally, people refrain from acting in an aggressive and antisocial manner because they are easily identifiable. When a person is deindividualised, they lose their sense of self awareness and their sense of personal responsibility. For example, in a crowd, where a person is less likely to be identified and held responsible for their aggressive behaviour as they have anonymity. This explanation can be used to explain the behaviour that was seen in the riots in 2011. LeBon stated that an individual’s behaviour changes in the presence of a large crowd. Watson found that 12 out of 13 societies that tortured and killed their victims changed prior to their battle. 7 out of 10 societies that were less brutal did not change their appearance before battle. This shows the role of deindividualisation. Research from Zimbardo supports this idea. In Zimbardos study, the Stanford prison experiment. In this experiment, participants were randomly allocated to either a prisoner or guard. The guards were told to do what was needed to maintain order in the prison. They were both given uniforms, including the guards given sunglasses to wear so that their eyes could not be seen (they cannot make eye contact). The guards were all dresses the same in a plain kharki shirt and trousers. The prisoners were given smocks to wear and a number to identify them with. They were not allowed underwear and were given rubber sandles. These uniforms were designed to individuate the prisons by humiliating them, as well as having to refer to each other by their ID numbers and not their names. The guards showed aggressive behaviour to the prisoners, making them do humiliating tasks. This caused some of the prisoners to have to be released early due to increased rage and anxiety. This study supports this approach because it shows how the guards...
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