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Deindividuation & Mob Psychology

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Katie Wilburn

on 1 May 2014

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Transcript of Deindividuation & Mob Psychology

Model of Deindividuation
Large groups create anonymity & diffusion of responsibility
Less aware of self
More likely to engage in impulsive behavior
Behavior hard to stop
Founded by Phillip Zimbardo
Studies on Self-Awareness
Students were asked to solve a series of anagrams timed by a bell
In a control study, 3/4 of the participants fudged a bit by continuing to work through the bell
In a condition where students were made self-aware by working in front of a mirror, fewer than 10% cheated
Self-awareness forces people to act on the beliefs they carry
An enhanced sense of individual identity focusing attention on the self
Generally leads people to act carefully and in accordence with their sense of propriety and values
Group Mind
-The reduced sense of individual identity accompanied by diminished self-regulation that comes over people when they are in a large group

Emergent Properties of Groups
-behaviors that emerge only when people are in groups.
Testing the Models
The psychology of a mob is difficult to study, ethical constraints and being able to recreate an actual situation that individuals will act aggressively and destructively is unlikely. Therefore, much of what we know is through the examination of archives.
Deindividuation & Mob Psychology
Diffusion of Responsibility
Irrational Behavior

Suicide Baiting
Crowds of people encourage someone who is threatening suicide to indeed commit suicide
Self-Awareness Theory
A theory that maintains that when people focus their attention inward on themselves, they become concerned with self-evaluation and how their behavior conforms to their internal standards and values
Self-Consciousness & The Spotlight Effect
People enjoy feeling deindividuated -it is a welcome break from the usual self-conscious state.
Spotlight Effect-people's conviction that other people are attending to their appearance and behavior more than is actually the case
Insightful comments
Embarrassing mishaps
Analysis of newspaper reports
Over a 15 year time span, 21 articles of instances of attempted suicide, baiting occurred in 10.
Suicide baiting was twice as likely if the crowd exceeded 300.
Four times as likely if the episode occurred after 6pm.
Large crowds and the protection of the dark secured their anonymity and people may not feel accountable
Variables that lead to deindividuation also lead to anti-social behavior
Brutality of warfare related to deindividuation
23 non-western cultures investigated, did they deindividuate before battle i.e. Painting faces, mask
Of the cultures studied those that disguised their appearance fought more ferociously.
Halloween Mayhem
27 homes , 1,000 trick-or-treaters, adult supervision or none, bowl of candy and coins
Children in groups and individually
Remaining anonymous, or being identified
Once the adult left 57 percent of children in groups who remained anonymous took more than their share, 21 percent took more when they were alone and remained anonymous versus identified and in groups at 20 percent and identified and alone at 7.5 percent.
Halloween Mayhem
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