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Describe and evaluate one social psychological theory of aggression?

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Describe and evaluate one social psychological theory of aggression? AO1 Deindividualisation is when someone loses their sense of identity and engages themselves in immoral things. The theory of deindividualisation suggests that when an individual is involved in a crowd they act like the crowd i.e. such as football hooligans. Just as the saying goes you are what you wear or eat can be applied here i.e. you are upon what your crowd or peers are upon. Le Bon proposed that there were a number of factors that lead an individual to become psychologically transformed in a crowd. One being remaining anonymous in the crowd i.e. when you're around a lot of people you are unlikely to be spotted. ...read more.


o Zimbardo also changed the identity of guards by making them wear military clothes. They carried whistles, handcuffs etc... Findings: o Even though the environment was artificial guards and prisoners still obeyed and reacted brutal. o Situational rather than dispositional because they were normal caring men. AO2 - Evaluation of Zimbardo et al study Positive * High ecological validity due to the fact that the environment and the behaviour were realistic. Even though the set up was artificial, the aggression or a loss of identity was rather bizarre even though all men knew it's a fake set up. * Study showed high extremes of aggression and behaviour when identity is lost. Negative * Unethical because extreme harm either verbal or physical was afflicted. * Sample was unrepresantable because it only included men. ...read more.


AO2 - Evaluation of experiment Positive * High ecological validity because experiment was done in a real environment and a large sample was used. Negative * Only children were used, would adults do the same? * Study only showed stealing little minor stuff such as sweets, would it be same for instance in bank robbery? AO2 - Evaluation of Deindividuliasation theories Positive * There is enough evidence to back up this theory Negative * Other theories can explain human aggression e.g. SLT, environmental stressors etc...other than deindividualisation itself. * Deindividualisation doesn't always lead to aggression. This is because when I a crowd the norm for the crowd could be good take for example helping each other in a jamm'ah even though you don't know them or in earthquakes. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The student provides some good background information into deindividualisation, drawing upon comparisons (e.g. you are what you eat) and famous psychologists (Le Bon and Zimbardo) to reinforce these ideas – it would be nice however if these examples and theories ...

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Response to the question

The student provides some good background information into deindividualisation, drawing upon comparisons (e.g. you are what you eat) and famous psychologists (Le Bon and Zimbardo) to reinforce these ideas – it would be nice however if these examples and theories from other psychologists were referenced to both demonstrate further knowledge and avoid plagiarism. Although the student does provide the necessary description of Zimbardo’s prison study, it is clear that they have only learnt the basics – to get higher marks more detailed description could be included (e.g. length of study, where were participants recruited from, how they were assigned to each group, particular tasks involved, etc). The findings provided for Zimbardo’s study are also far too brief, much more detail should be given here (e.g. mention the situation got so bad that the study was ended early). Similar issues arise for the description of Diener et al’s study – again the student could bulk this out by providing further information such as dates, and providing numbers in the findings (e.g. how many stole when alone vs. in a group).

Level of analysis

Although the layout of this piece of work is slightly different than a usual essay, this may simply of been a specific requirement of the assignment, thus, despite being in bullet points this analysis given is of a fairly high standard. The student successfully evaluates each study used to assess deindividuation (discussing both negative and positive points –which is crucial, since critical analysis should not be taken to mean just limitations!). Furthermore, the writer provides an overall analysis of the topic discussed which brings their ideas together.

Quality of writing

As mentioned, the structure is very different to usual, and so much of the writing is in short bullet points. This immediately gives the effect of a lower standard of grammatical and structural level, however as mentioned this may have been how they were instructed to write it. In general, however, when writing essays bullet points should not be used, and paragraphs with full sentences should be followed – with a clear introduction (to set the scene) and conclusion (to synthesize all the discussion points). Unfortunately there are some spelling and grammar mistakes in this piece of work which bring the level of work down a bit (e.g. “This is because when I a crowd the norm for the crowd could be good”). Always ensure you proof-read your work to avoid unnecessary mistakes like this.

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Reviewed by lcarter17 28/03/2012

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