CROWDS AND VIOLENCE
[“Individuation” coined by Jung: a process of individuation for development of personality]
Le Bon (1890s) When individuals “descend” in a crowd, they become creatures of instinct, barbarians (Contagion theory, anonymity) Festinger (1952) Individuals who sat in dim light more likely to use bad language when discussing erotic material than individuals who were not. Zimbardo (1969) Stanford Prison Experiments: Individuals dressed as guards, others as prisoners. Guards acted in aggressive and brutal ways.
Diener (1976) Children on Halloween. “Individuated” children (with known personal details) were better behaved than “deindividuated” ones (because of clothing that hides identity, because they were not asked to identify themselves
Zimbardo & Deindividuation
Anonymity = Avoidance of responsibility
Psychological state of decreased self-evaluation
Usual social controls are diminished, i.e. disinhibited behaviour •
Loss of self-awareness
Individuals more impulsive, irrational, aggressive, and sometimes violent
The Stanford Prison Experiments: Zimbardo (1971) See Tom Postmes Link Stated Aim: “to explore power dynamics in social situations by creating false distinctions among university students”
1. Police in Palo Alto, the city where Stanford University is situated, rounded up a group of “prisoners”. They were strip-searched, sprayed for lice, chained around the ankles, and locked up.
2. Volunteer “guards” were identified among the college students and they were given authority to dictate the prison rules.
3. The guards soon became mean, exhibited extreme brutality, and humiliated the "prisoners" in order to break their will.
4. Some of the “prisoners” suffered mental breakdown as a result of the “guards’,” treatment and they became depressed and withdrawn.
5. Zimbardo had to terminate the experiment, which had been planned to run for two weeks,...
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