• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Ib psychology IA

Free essay example:

Two theories of Crowd behaviour

  1. Deindividualisation theory (Festinger)
  2. Collective unconscious theory LeBon (1895)

Deindividualisation theory (Festinger et al. 1952)

In crowd or large group there is a loss of sense of personal identity. We become more anonymous. Control over our own behaviour is weakened and we are less concerned with observing social norms.

In a crowd or large group there is less concern with how our behaviour will be evaluated. There is also less likely to think of the consequences. Our inhibitions are lowered and aggression becomes more likely. One tends to relinquish personal control.

Reasons why deindividualisation leads to aggression

1) Diffusion of responsibility: As an individual we take full responsibility for our actions. As a group responsibility is shared 2) Disinhibition: As an individual we are easily identifiable. Less easily identifiable as a group. Less likely to lead to unpleasant personal consequences. Fear of punishment reduced. Lose our inhibitions - free to behave anti-socially 3) Anonymity: Belonging to a group gives a sense of identity/ belonging. At the same time our personal identity can merge with the group - becoming more anonymous.

Research support for deindividualisation theory

Rehm: Children divided randomly into five a side teams to play handball. One team played in normal clothes – other team played in orange shirts. Those who wore orange shirts played significantly more aggressively than thon those who wore their everyday clothes

Mann ’81 Analysed 21 suicide reports in newspapers. In ten cases identified a ‘baiting' crowd e.g. shouting jump. Baiting more likely to occur at night with a large crowd and when there was some distance between the crowd and the person threatening suicide. (NB This is another example of the archival method which probably made use of content analysis).

Zimbardo 1970: Anonymous lab coat experiment. Woman dressed in white lab-coats and hoods – anonymous. Control wore ordinary clothes and name tags. Similar to Milgram’s study - participants had to shock a victim. Anonymous participants shocked longer (more painfully). Anonymity contributed to aggressive behaviour. Evaluation: Klu Klux Klan effect: Association with KKK may have affected intensity of the shocks given rather than anonymity; Nurses in uniform shocked less in an equivalent experiment; Sample entirely women; Unethical – lacked informed consent and protection from harm.

Research challenging deindividualisation theory

Gergen et al. (1973) Darkened room arousal study. Gergen looked at the effect of anonymity on deindividualisation. Male and female students interact for an hour in an environmental chamber. No rules. Afterwards they leave alone with no interactions.  There were two conditions: lights on; total darkness (anonymous) Lit room condition: participants found the study boring – no hugging! Dark room condition: half hugged 89% intentionally touched reported experience to be sensuous and fun.  Many volunteered again. The conclusion deindividualisation leads to freeing of inhibitions, not necessarily aggression. This is evidence against deindividualisation theory of aggression. In fact it’s an example of anonymity leading to a pro-social act. Note: The study is low in ecological validity, it is artificial and involves a small number of participants.

Evaluation of deindividualisation

Can you think of an example where people act pro-socially in a large group or crowd? E.g. pop concerts, peace rallies, natural disaster, large gatherings for religious festival. Clearly deindividualisation doesn’t always lead to anti-social behaviour. A meta-analysis of 60 studies looking at crowd behaviour and deindividualisation concluded there was insufficient support for the theory. Deindividualisation doesn’t always lead to aggression, in fact it can at times lead to increased pro-social behaviour.

Collective unconscious theory Le Bon

Men undergo a radical transformation in a crowd. Individuals in a crowd lose their conscious individual personalities to the primitive, animalistic spirit of the crowd. Individuals in a crowd descend ‘several rungs in the ladder of civilisation’ showing impulsive, irritable, highly suggestible and overly emotional behaviour and an incapacity to reason

The mechanisms of what happens 1) Anonymity: due to sheer numbers the individuals, the crowd feels a sense of invincible power along with a lack of responsibility. 2) Contagion: crowd behaviour spreads amongst its members like an involuntary disease 3) Suggestibility: the suggestions of crowd members or leaders are accepted uncritically due to loss of conscious personality

The crowd has the following effect upon its members: 1) Homogeneity of personality: all members behave in the same way. 2) Intellectual retardation: Crowds are intellectually inferior to the individuals who compose it, showing rapid shifts of attention and acceptance of ideas in the absence of evidence. 3) Violent action: with a loss of constraint, savage and destructive behaviour is shown. 4) Exaggerated emotionalism: Crowd members become excited and impulsive

Evaluation of theory: 1) Reporting – unscientific based largely on anecdotal evidence 2) LeBon contrasts the irrationality of the crowd with a model of normal isolated people – lone individuals can be just as irrational, stupid and emotional 3) LeBon does not distinguish between types of crowds e.g. often peaceful gathered for the purpose of enjoyment and celebration 4) Explanations of crowds being mobs serves the political purpose of denying crowd action about legitimate concerns. 5) Others challenge theory, suggesting that crowd behaviour is not wild and unruly and does not involve a loss of identity.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Psychology section.

(?)
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related International Baccalaureate Psychology essays

  1. psych ia SL

    on the immediate free recall of concrete and abstract words and replicate the results. The study conducted by Dukes and Bastian used college students as participants, these participants were presented with concrete word lists and abstract word lists, each containing 10 words.

  2. IA stroop effect

    INFORMED CONSENT FORM 4 February 2010 Dear Parents RE: PERMISSION REQUEST TO PARTICIPATE IN A PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIMENT As a standard level psychology student, I am required, as part of the Internal Assessment process, to perform a simple experiment and analyse the data collected.

  1. EE PSYCHOLOGY

    This may be done through many repetitions of punishment until it is completely eliminated. There are two types of punishments used the positive punishment, when something negative is presented. Negative Punishment, in the case that something positive is taken away.

  2. How Psychology Could Help Reverse the Trend in Obesity

    as into gene therapy to look at ways of inducing a kind of artificial fullness or lower the facility with which weight is gained respectively. I suppose this is an admission of the limits of what psychology is able to effect, like chemicals have only a certain capacity to affect

  1. Abu Ghraib Psychology Essay. What do you think you would do in a ...

    could treat prisoners, including the UN Convention against Torture. Part I - Crime Chapter 113C of Torture does not define many of the terms used such as torture, severe, pain, all of thought were to be ambiguous and vague implications therefore the U.S. justice department issued a memo in 2002 to the Whitehouse averring "Physical pain amounting to torture

  2. Ethics In Psychology

    It is estimated that today between 50 and 100 million animals are used for experimentation, the vast majority of these animals are euthanized at the experiment's conclusion. Approximately 90% of the vertebrates used in vivisection are rats or mice, the remaining animals include cats, dogs, farm animals, fish, birds and non-human primates.

  1. Psychology IB Abnormal Notes and Essay Plans

    Depressed moods can lead to cognitive symptoms. 2. Cognitive theorists like Ellis and Beck believe that cognitive distortions and irrational beliefs can lead to depressed or anxious moods. 3. The way that we think of ourselves may be affected by the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains or

  2. Psychology IB Abnormality Notes

    Diathesis stress model ? Current ideas err towards the fact that you may have the genetic predisposition to a particular condition, but it will only emerge if one is exposed to certain environmental stimuli. So despite the success of certain treatments like SSRIs, many believe that they do not

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work