Doing Together What We Would Not Do Alone

826 words - 4 pages

The social psychology concept, deindividuation, is the psychological state in which a person has a lower sense of individuality and personal responsibility, due to the anonymity of being in a crowd of people. (Psychology concepts) Deindividuation can lead to poor self-control and is used to summarize mob behaviors resulting in police brutality, rioting and lynching. These unrestrained behaviors are usually provoked by the power of the group.
When part of a mob, people feel that they cannot be held responsible for violent behavior hoping that their actions would be perceived as the groups rather than their own behavior. Physical anonymity can lead to a person experiencing fewer social inhibitions. Many types of studies were explored to prove this theory. In 1970, Philip Zimbardo conducted a study to shock women dressed in identical outfits that were similar to the Ku Klux Klan’s outfit concealed their identity. The study also included woman whose identity was exposed just wearing a large nametag. As a result, the women hidden underneath the Ku Klux Klan’s outfit shocked the staged participants longer than those that didn’t have their identity concealed.
In 1995, a similar test was conducted. Patricia Ellison, John Govern, and their colleagues wanted to test deindividuation on the streets. The confederate this time waited after the light turned green for 12 seconds to see how the 4x4 vehicles and the convertible with the top down exposing the driver behind the confederate reacted to the wait.. The 4x4 that were relatively anonymous with their tops up honked one-third sooner, twice as often and for nearly twice as long. (Meyers)
In 1976, a research team led by Ed Diener ingeniously demonstrated the effect both being in a group and of being physically anonymous during Halloween while observing 1,352 kids trick or treating. “In this classic study, Diener and colleagues had a woman place a bowl of candy in her living room for trick-or-treaters. An observer was placed out of sight from the children in order to record the behaviors of the trick-or-treaters. In one condition, the woman asked the children identification questions such as where they lived, who their parents were, what their name was, etc. In the other condition, children were completely anonymous. The observer also recorded whether children came individually or in a group. In each condition, the woman invited the children in, claimed she had something in the kitchen she had to tend to so she had to leave the room, and then instructed...

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