Discuss research into Deindividuation as an explanation for aggressive behaviour.

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Discuss research into one social-psychological explanation of aggressive behaviour (8 + 16)

One social-psychological explanation is deindividuation theory. This tells us that not all aggressive behaviour is interpersonal. Psychologists have explored the idea that membership of a large group leads individuals to behave more in a more anti-social manner than they would on their own.
  Zimbardo suggested that people part of a relatively anonymous group lose their personal identity and with it their inhibitions about violence. It’s used to explain the collective behaviour of violent crowds, mindless hooligans, genocide and other social atrocities.
  This is based on Le Bon’s classic crowd theory, which suggests that in crowd anonymity, suggestibility and contagion create a collective mind, which possess an individual and leads to a loss of self-control. This means an individual goes against their social norms because of a lowered self-evaluation and decreased concerns about the evaluation by others meaning a reduced sense of guilt about their actions, leading to the demonstration behaviors which are normally inhibited.

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   Zimbardo suggested that there are contributing factors towards deindividuation like anonymity such as wearing a uniform, this means a person in a large crowd is faceless and not easily identified, which means social constraints are reduced. Therefore the larger the group, the greater the anonymity and the greater the reduced sense of guilt, leading to an increase in anti-social aggressive behaviour. Another factor which is suggested contributes to deindividuation is altered consciousness through drugs or alcohol. Both anonymity and altered consciousness increase arousal and reduce responsibility, leading to an increase in normally inhibited behaviors.

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