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Outline and evaluate the theory of deindividuation

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Outline and Evaluate the Theory of Deindividuation Aggression is the intent to harm someone through verbal or physical actions. The Deindividuation theory is used to explain how anonymity can lead to individuals behaving in an antisocial manner, even though they would not act in this way in any normal circumstances. Deindividuation happens when you have an individual who feels anonymous, they act in ways that they would not normally due to social norms, but the fact that they are deindividuated makes them feel fine about not complying to the social norms, for example breaking the law and being aggressive. There are situations that increase Deindividuation, such as being in a group, or wearing a mask. ...read more.


Diener found that the children were much more likely to steal or display an act of antisocial behaviour when dressed up in Halloween costumes. This supports the Deindividuation theory as the costumes hide the identity of the children therefore making them anonymous, proving that Deindividuation does cause aggression. Deindividuation can be applied to real life situations, for example the football riots in Egypt where 75 people were killed, this behaviour was carried out in a crowd and therefore anonymity was high and the blame was not rested on a single person but dispersed throughout the crowd of rioters. The face validity of the theory is high due to it being very believable, it is seen in many circumstances to be true that when in a group the responsibility of any ...read more.


There is also the idea that the social learning theory opposes that of the Deindividuation theory. The social learning theory states that everything is learnt and therefore it is not down to a loss of identity but from seeing what others are doing around you and copying them. Aggressive behaviour may also not be down to the circumstances were in or whether we were brought up around violence but it could also be down to biological factors such as high testosterone levels. In conclusion the theory of Deindividuation is a valid way of determining why some people are aggressive but it does not account for every situation, what if the individual was by them self in daylight where everyone could see, then what? It is this idea that makes this theory only acceptable to a certain extent. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

This answer is very good. The candidate responds well and remains extremely focused on the question and the psychology of deindividuation throughout, straying only to describe studies into the behaviour. The candidate shows a clear knowledge of the psychology involved ...

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Response to the question

This answer is very good. The candidate responds well and remains extremely focused on the question and the psychology of deindividuation throughout, straying only to describe studies into the behaviour. The candidate shows a clear knowledge of the psychology involved in deindividuation and the circumstances in which it is most likely inhibited. I would recommend they draw a clear difference between deindividuation and conformity, as both are fairly similar and can often be confused.

The structure of the answer is good as well, with a clear introduction structured analysis and then a fine conclusion. The balance of the analysis is easily appreciated given the candidate's good structure as well.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is balanced and shows a good level of knowledge of psychology and how to effectively evaluate a theory based on empirical evidence from studies. A number of studies are cited, chiefly (and appropriately) Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. This shows the examiner the candidate has learnt from the studies and can draw from an inventory of these studies which are the most appropriate to back up theory analysis.

The analysis is balanced, with two strengths and two weakness clearly explained, with some pieces of evaluation involving real life events like the London 2012 riots. All this is excellent and shows an intuitive command of analysis for an A Level candidate.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is excellent. The candidate controls their use of psychology-related terminology and their Standard English brilliantly. There is no cause for concern with regard to spelling, punctuation and/or grammar.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 15/09/2012

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