Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This week I wanted to talk a little about deindividuation. Deindividuation is best described as getting lost in the crowd. You basically become a part of the crowd and lose your own sense of identity. It can also lead to one's normal constraints against deviant or morally wrong behavior to be reduced. In simpler terms, you are more likely to do bad things that you normally wouldn't because you do not believe that you can be identified (Diener et al., 1976; Festinger et al., 1952). It is also important to consider the two different types of cues that are involved in deindividuation: attentional cues and accountability cues
Accountability cues refer to a person's ability to be identified and therefore, accountable for their actions. If accountability is low, a person feels that they can behave however they want because they "can't" get caught (Prentice-Dunn & Rogers 1982,1983).
Attentional cues focus a persons attention outwards from the self. This leads to a decrease in self-awareness, which then allows the person to focus more on the situation at hand and to think less of the long-term consequences of their behavior (Prentice-Dunn & Rogers 1982,1983).
Deindividuation happens a lot at many of the spring break locals all over the world. People literally lose control of their identity and go nuts, which is the point... what happens in Padre, stays in Padre. The spring break my junior year of high school was a particularly crazy event. My best friend from McAllen had never drank in her life, was a virgin, and thought pot was gross. We got the the beach and the first day was mayhem, their were drunk people in swarms around you and my best friend was overwhelmed and felt left out. Finally, with a little peer pressure, she had her first drink... after that it was balls out for her. She went nuts, she slept with her boyfriend (sober), got wasted every night for a week, and by the end of the week, she had tried pot. On monday the pictures began to surface on Facebook, and her face said it all... She was mortified. Her identity had returned and proof of her deindividuation was all over the internet. Needless to say, that was one of the best spring breaks ever! 

Diener, E., Fraser, S.C., Beaman, A.L., & Kelem, R.T. (1976). Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33, 178-183.

Festinger, L., Pepitone, A., & Newcomb, T. (1952). Some consequences of de-individuation in a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, 382-389.

Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R.W. (1982). Effects of public and private self-awareness on deindividuation and aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 503-513.

Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R.W. (1983). Deindividuation in aggression. In R.G. Geen & E.I. Donnerstein (Eds.), Aggression: Theoretical and empirical reviews: Vol. 2. Issues in research (pp. 155-171). New York: Academic Press. 

No comments:

Post a Comment