Explain Deindividuation Explanations for Aggression

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Deindividuation explanations on aggression

Deindividuation can be used as an explanation for aggression. Deindividuation can be applied to explain aggression in groups and crowds through masking of identity as well as having real life application such as explaining aggression by KKK and the Nazis.

Deindividuation is the loss of ones sense of individuality which can be accomplished by using a disguise such as a mask or even from alcohol and drugs which can reduce inhibitions making us likely to change from our normal behaviour which aggression is one of.

Zimbardo showed dramatically the effect of reduced inhibitions. He had two groups of teachers, one group who were identifiable who wore large name tags and those who were not who wore large lab coats, hoods to cover their faces and were never referred by name. They found that teacher who were deindividuated, administered more shocks to students and for longer because they were unidentifiable. Concluding that the higher deindividuation the higher aggression.

Supporting research was completed by Diener. They conducted research into trick or treaters in the US. They found that when children were in large groups and wearing costumes that meant they could not be identifiable, were more likely to perform antisocial actions like stealing money or sweets. The group reduces the possibility of identification which means that behaviour may deviate the moral standards.  

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In similar findings, Silke analysed violent attacks. Just under half of the violent attacks were conducted when the perpetrator faces were concealed.  Furthermore, the severity of the attacks were positively correlated to whether the perpetrator was wearing a mask. These findings support Zimbardo’s findings as the more identifiable a person is the more likely they will show aggression.

However, a weakness of Zimbardo’s study was that it was androcentric. This is because the research was only conducted on females and therefore cannot explain why aggression occurs in males.

Nevertheless, Zimbardo also conducted research into males in a prison ...

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