Institutional Aggression

Topics: Aggression, Violence, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 3 (676 words) Published: May 27, 2013
Institutional Aggression

1. Institutional aggression is aggression influenced by factors associated with the institutional setting. Deindividuation within institutions is common practice to reduce individuality in a number of ways. Similar uniforms, routines and the use of numbers are all examples of how individuality is reduced. Deindividuation will therefore explain institutional aggression as members of the institution will not be constrained by normal acceptable standards. Shared responsibilities and uniforms were seen in the Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment to enhance deindividuation. 1. Diener’s theory also applies to deindividuation, Diener argues that deindividuation occurs when self-awareness is blocked by environmental factors, such as increased arousal which is highly likely in prison due to large concentration of criminals in a confined space and strong group feeling which again is likely due to hazing rituals and the vast benefits inmates gain from being loyal to a gang. 1. In addition, Diener lists four consequences of deindividuation: poor self-monitoring of behaviours, reduced need for social approval, reduced rational thinking and reduced inhibitions against behaving impulsively. These consequences can lead to aggressive behaviour

2. Research supports the role of deindividuation in institutional aggression in Prisons, at Abu Graib ‘regular’ soldiers behaved extremely aggressively to the prisoners there. This behaviour can be explained in terms of deindividuation as factors identified by Diener were particularly prevalent in this situation; because they were interrogating the prisons in a foreign prison the soldiers’ arousal increased and the USA army has a powerful group feeling. 2. However, dispositional factors may play a part in Abu Graib as not all soldiers carried out the violence and there was in fact a whistle blower. The...
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