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

Dicuss one psychological theory of aggression

Extracts from this document...


Discuss one social psychological theory of aggression. One social psychological theory is deindividuation. This is the loss of all self responsibility when somebody is in a large group i.e. at a football match. As there is less feeling of anonymity people feel less restrains on their behaviour and as a result people act more impulsively and follow behaviours that are surrounding them at the time. When a group is merged together then the feeling of individuality ceases. Gustave le Bon (1892) said that individuals 'transform' when part of a crowd, the crowd results in a collective mind taking possession of the individual. He also suggests that being in a large anonymous group leads to more anti social behaviours. ...read more.


It was found that the deindividuation group gave the learner electric shocks for twice as long compared to the individuation group. There was a higher level of aggression as a result of high anonymity levels. However, Prentice-Dunn et al (1982) thought differently about Zimbardo's experiment. He believed it to be a result of self-awareness not anonymity. When somebody if thinking as an individual they are more self-aware of their social behaviours so will not act as aggressively. When they are in a group they loose their individual awareness so do not behave according to social norms. This theory has also been tested culturally. Robert Watson (1973) gathered data from 23 different societies of warriors. ...read more.


Although deindividuation is linked to aggressive behaviour it can create pro-sicial behaviour. This can be better understood when we look at the days after Princess Diana's death on 31st August 1997. This catastrophic event led to higher levels of positive social norms as many people flocked to Buckingham palace to place flowers and pay their respects. Another real life application that can be supported by research is the Ku Klux Klan uniform in America in the 60s. Members of the Ku Klux Klan dressed up in costumes to hide their identity which resulted in higher levels of aggression as it minimised the levels of guilt and shame. Mullen (1982) looked at newspaper cuttings of 60 lynchings in the USA between 1899 and 1964. It was found that the more people there were in a mob the more savagery in the killings. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This essay outlines some key research findings into deindividuation, but shows a lack of sophistication in the understanding of the concept itself and how it can be applied to real life situations. The Ku Klux Klan is one good example of a situation that provides anonymity, but the others are not. Better examples would be a riot under cover of darkness, or crowd situations with a high level of externally focused stimulation in which private self awareness becomes submerged such as a football match, or Hitler's Nuremberg rallies.
The essay also lacks A level depth. Although a plausible theory, deindividuation is an internal mental process which is notoriously difficult to operationalise and measure - it cannot be directly observed and self-report measures are unlikely to produce valid findings. A better analysis of the research would have drawn out the tentative, indirect and correlational nature of conclusions. Anothe way to develop depth would be to draw comparisons with the social learning approach to aggression, which has some more convincing research evidence.

Marked by teacher Jo Wilcox 17/02/2012

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

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The effect of the Level of Processing on the amount of information recalled

    4 star(s)

    It may be the more time and effort put into processing the word, that makes it more frequently recalled. There were a few anomalous results where structurally processed words were recalled more frequently than semantically processed words, this was against my hypothesis so deemed as anomalous.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and evaluate biological explanations of aggression

    4 star(s)

    Harrison's study only used male participants and then generalised the results to the whole population - these is beta bias, as it is assuming that there are no real differences between men and women. Also men have higher levels of testosterone than women - so how does it affect women?

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What is atypical behaviour?

    3 star(s)

    Nothing happened to homosexuality after this time, but what changed were societies attitude towards it, which then reflected in its official psychiatric status. (Gross 1992) Behaviour may be considered normal or abnormal depending on the situation or context. Taking off your clothes to get in to the bath is fine;

  2. Experiment investigating conformity in students.

    Line B (wrong) Set 5 Line A (wrong) Line A (correct) Set 6 Line C (wrong) Line A (wrong) Group Four (Male) Accomplices Answer Subjects Answer Set 1 Line C (correct) Line C (correct) Set 2 Line A (correct) Line A (correct) Set 3 Line B (correct) Line B (correct) Set 4 Line B (wrong) Line B (wrong)

  1. Critically consider the use of non-human animals in psychological research

    Indeed, Sneddon et al. (2003) found that fish do not feel pain. Additionally, a traditional view is that humans and non-humans can be differentiated by the fact that non-humans do not have a soul and therefore can not have real feelings or emotions.

  2. Critically evaluate how psychological theories, concepts, and explanations have been employed in the psychology ...

    In 1992, Glantz and Pickens formed a Biopsychosocial model (cited in DiClemente: 17) to try and explain the psychology of addiction, which, as the name suggests, combines biological, psychological and social theories together to try and create a more diverse model of addiction which could cover the various aspects of substance dependence.

  1. Causes of Aggressive Behavior

    On the same analogy it has been argued that competitive sports permit both the participant and the spectator to rid themselves of aggressive tendencies. According to James Neill, professor at the Centre for Applied Psychology, University of Canberra, there are three theories of aggression: the Cognitive neoassociation theory, the cognitive-social perspective, and the general aggression model (n.d.).

  2. Descibe and discuss 2 psychological factors that influence the developement of interpersonal relationships

    He gave each participant an attitude questionnaire, and then showed them one that had been completed by a stranger. The questionnaire filled out by the stranger was correlated in varying degrees with the participant?s answers (20%, 65%, & 80%). The participants liked the stranger more when their views were correlated to fit theirs.

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