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Deindividuation (Review of Related Literature)

Deindividuation (Review of Related Literature)

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Published by Desiree Lei Ebuenga
Ebuenga, Desiree Lei, P. DEINDIVIDUATION


Violence, gang wars, riots, atrocities, and vandalisms had increased instances alarmingly especially among adolescents nowadays. These are not just true to very populated cities like Metro Manila or in other countries but also in Baguio City. The growing numbers of gang wars and riots in Baguio are undoubtedly distressing. Surprisingly, these do not just happen in the nights but also in broad daylight. In addition, the gang members are in very
Ebuenga, Desiree Lei, P. DEINDIVIDUATION


Violence, gang wars, riots, atrocities, and vandalisms had increased instances alarmingly especially among adolescents nowadays. These are not just true to very populated cities like Metro Manila or in other countries but also in Baguio City. The growing numbers of gang wars and riots in Baguio are undoubtedly distressing. Surprisingly, these do not just happen in the nights but also in broad daylight. In addition, the gang members are in very

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Published by: Desiree Lei Ebuenga on Apr 14, 2010
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Ebuenga, Desiree Lei P. 2007-51277DEINDIVIDUATIONViolence, gang wars, riots, atrocities, and vandalisms had increased instances alarminglyespecially among adolescents nowadays. These are not just true to very populated cities likeMetro Manila or in other countries but also in Baguio City. The growing numbers of gang warsand riots in Baguio are undoubtedly distressing. Surprisingly, these do not just happen in thenights but also in broad daylight. In addition, the gang members are in very young ages thatrange from approximately 12 years old and above. These youths are just in their high schoolages. Thus, these are problems that must take seriously by the local government officials.On August 23 2009, one case of gang-related violence took a life of a 14-year old highschool student in broad daylight along Harrison Road. According to Supt. Agripino Javier, thecity director, the suspect in this incident is a 16-year old high school student who is a member of the Pinoy True Crips Gang. This is not just the case for the month and succeeding months. Allof the cases of deaths among adolescents in Baguio City were gang-related incidents.In later cases, an 18-year old gang member was murdered by the members of another gang. The gang of the victim went from Nevada square and rode a car. Other gang memberswere just ridden in the open compartment of their car since it was already packed full of their members. They just decided that when they arrive in Session Road, the other will just have toget a cab. But as soon as the three gang members in the compartment got out, about 20 to 30armed gangsters suddenly appeared and attacked their group. Others managed to escape butwhen their car reached Leonard Wood Road in which they were caught up, the attackers draggedthe lone teenager out of the compartment. They aided each other in striking him with punches,kicks, metal pipes, knives, bats and other weapons while his companions sped away. He wasrushed in the Saint Loius University Hospital of the Sacred Heart and died as a result of multipleskull fractures and other body injuries. Two days later, another 18-year old youth was stabbed30 times in different parts of his body by 20 armed youth gangsters. The Baguio City PoliceOffice reported 15 gang-related crimes from July 2005 to May 2007, eight or more than half happened in Nevada Square. This year, in just one month, there were already almost 5 gang-related crimes.
 
What does this mean? What can possibly be the causes for these antisocial behaviors and lynch mob atrocities among different gangs in the city? Is it simply the arousal of emotions and other physiological reactions in the parasympathetic nervous system? Or are thereother more influential factors causing all of these aggressive behaviors to happen?Research studies in social psychology explained reasons on these social problems. Social psychologists found out that antisocial behaviors are mostly influenced by being a member of agroup. They called this factor deindividuation.This review of the different research studies made aims to explain the gang-relatedcrimes and lynch mob atrocities in Baguio City using the Social Psychological theories andexperiments.Deindividuation is an experiential state caused by factors relating to being in a groupsuch as anonymity, diffused responsibility and group cohesiveness. Characterized by the loss of self-awareness, deindividuation usually results to aggressive behaviors, other anti-social andanti-normative behaviors. However, it yields not just a ³one-side´ effect. Rather, in some cases,it results to pro-social behaviors as shown in lots of research studies.
 
 Deindividuation and Valence of Cues: Effects on Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior In the study of Robert D. Johnson of Arkansas State University and Leslie L. Downing of Union College entitled ³Deindividuation and Valence of Cues: Effects on Prosocial andAntisocial Behavior,´ explains that the effects of deindividuation regarding prosocial andantisocial behavior depends upon the cues present in the environment. It supported Gergen¶stheory of deindividuation which proposes that with such state of loss of self-awareness, theinfluence of cues increases. The effect of deindividuation depends on what cues are present.Deindividuation along with positive cues enhances prosocial behavior and with negative cues,deindividuation increases antisocial behavior.Johnson and Downing¶s research study aimed on distinguishing the behaviors that will bedisinhibited in a particular situation. Finding out the deficiency in the past studies, they wantedto incorporate how the certain circumstantial cues would affect the kinds of disinhibition thatarises as one of their objective. To come up with this particular objective, they used Zimbardoand Gergen¶s theory on deindividuation as bases and made necessary adjustments in their ownstudy. One observation they had in the experiment of the previous studies was whether there isan accurate cause and effect relationship between disinhibition and deindividuation. The problem that they have to prevent when they started with their study is that the disinhibition willmight be caused by other unintended manipulated variable, like for instance, the cues that elicitsaggression (e.g. Ku Klux Klan outfits that were actually used in experiment to hide the identityof the respondents.)This particular research study addresses whether the valence of situational cues provokesthe direction of behavior change or not.
 Method 
The experiment required sixty female subjects that were randomly assigned, making 15subjects to each of the four conditions made. It was made using 2 x 2 factorial design,individuation vs. deindividuation and prosocial vs. antisocial cues, individuation being thevariable that was manipulated and was identifiable; and deindividuation being the non-identifiable variable. It was explained to the subjects that the experiment was an investigativestudy on the learning and the effects of arousal in it. In each error that the learner will commit,the subjects will provide a shock in a base level that could be increased or decreased dependingon what the subjects prefer. The options for the intensity of increase or decrease in the shock to be administered are high, moderate or slight increases (+3, +2, +1) or decreases (-3, -2, -1). Thesubjects were informed that the shock each would administer will be averaged in each group andthat no individual responses would be recorded.The manipulations of cues are through costumes. Each subject was to wear either a robelike that of Ku Klux Klan or a nurse¶s uniform. The purpose of the costume manipulation was toobscure individual differences. They were taken pictures with their costumes and attached toeach group mate¶s consoles.The experimenters labeled the consoles of each subject in the group in thedeindividuation variable so that the shock level administered by each member will becomeidentifiable to them.
 
Costume manipulations were through having large name tags or not having such. Theones who had large name tags are under the individuation condition while those who had notwere under the deindividuation condition.It was included in the study that the behavior of the accomplice was to be hateful andrepulsive in order to reduce the inhibitions against shocking another person, but not so hatefuland repulsive that it will prohibit the use of the shock decrease option.
 R
esults
The manipulation on costume regarding the deindividuation condition was successful inmaking the subjects behave aggressively, being near to the scale of extremely aggressive that theexperimenters used. On the other hand, on the individuation condition, subjects were almostnear to the least scale of the aggressive behavior. This means that situational cues can reallyaffect the behavior of an individual provided that situational cues affect the state of self-consciousness of the individuals in s group. However, results had shown only minor differences between deindividuation and individuation conditions.Results on situational cues showed that valence of cues play a significant role in either individuation or deindividuation but greater with the latter.
 Discussion
Based on the results of this study, it is then assumed that the manipulations in theexperiment had been effective. There was an increase in the shock levels of the subjects whoworn Ku Klux Klan costumes contrasting the effect for those subjects who worn nurse¶s costumeas a prosocial cue.Assessing the Directionality of Deindividuated Behavior: Effects of Deindividuation, Modeling,and Private Self-Consciousness on Aggressive and Prosocial ResponsesThe study of Cashton Spivey and Steven Prentice-Dunn focused on the directionality of deindividuated behavior as a whole and effects of deindividuation, modeling, and private self-consciousness on aggressive and prosocial responses in particular. But the primary focus of thiswas how deindividuation affects prosocial actions. Thus, it gave way to the differential self-awareness theory which explains that being in a crowd; a person could be affected bydisinhibiting actions in two ways. The first mechanism is individuals¶ accountability wasreduced because of anonymity and diffused responsibility through reducing their public self-awareness. This means that is having no concern for their self-image. What would happen nextis that they will choose to act in a disinhibited manner because they believe that no one wouldgave them punishment with their behaviors as explained by the expectancy value theory. Itsuggests that deindividuation is a subjective reality and thus neutral. Like the theory of Gergenwhich was supported by the study of Johnson and Downing, this study also based its hypothesison the notion that antisocial environmental cues increases aggressive behavior in deindividuated persons and have the opposite effect if the environmental cues that are present are prosocial² that is it increases altruistic behaviors. In addition, models affect deindividuated group members but not to a greater degree compared to those individuated members of the group. The results of 

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