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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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Ebuenga, Desiree Lei P.



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 young ages that range from approximately 12 years old and above. These youths are just in their high school ages. 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 high school student in broad daylight along Harrison Road. According to Supt. Agripino Javier, the city 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. All of 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 members were 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 to get a cab. But as soon as the three gang members in the compartment got out, about 20 to 30 armed gangsters suddenly appeared and attacked their group. Others managed to escape but when their car reached Leonard Wood Road in which they were caught up, the attackers dragged the 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 was rushed in the Saint Loius University Hospital of the Sacred Heart and died as a result of multiple skull fractures and other body injuries. Two days later, another 18-year old youth was stabbed 30 times in different parts of his body by 20 armed youth gangsters. The Baguio City Police Office 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 gangrelated 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 there other 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 a group. They called this factor deindividuation. This review of the different research studies made aims to explain the gang-related crimes and lynch mob atrocities in Baguio City using the Social Psychological theories and experiments. Deindividuation is an experiential state caused by factors relating to being in a group such as anonymity, diffused responsibility and group cohesiveness. Characterized by the loss of self-awareness, deindividuation usually results to aggressive behaviors, other anti-social and anti-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 and Antisocial Behavior,´ explains that the effects of deindividuation regarding prosocial and antisocial behavior depends upon the cues present in the environment. It supported Gergen¶s theory of deindividuation which proposes that with such state of loss of self-awareness, the influence 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 be disinhibited in a particular situation. Finding out the deficiency in the past studies, they wanted to incorporate how the certain circumstantial cues would affect the kinds of disinhibition that arises as one of their objective. To come up with this particular objective, they used Zimbardo and Gergen¶s theory on deindividuation as bases and made necessary adjustments in their own study. One observation they had in the experiment of the previous studies was whether there is an 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 will might be caused by other unintended manipulated variable, like for instance, the cues that elicits aggression (e.g. Ku Klux Klan outfits that were actually used in experiment to hide the identity of the respondents.) This particular research study addresses whether the valence of situational cues provokes the direction of behavior change or not. Method The experiment required sixty female subjects that were randomly assigned, making 15 subjects 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 the variable that was manipulated and was identifiable; and deindividuation being the nonidentifiable variable. It was explained to the subjects that the experiment was an investigative study 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 depending on 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). The subjects were informed that the shock each would administer will be averaged in each group and that no individual responses would be recorded. The manipulations of cues are through costumes. Each subject was to wear either a robe like that of Ku Klux Klan or a nurse¶s uniform. The purpose of the costume manipulation was to obscure individual differences. They were taken pictures with their costumes and attached to each group mate¶s consoles. The experimenters labeled the consoles of each subject in the group in the deindividuation variable so that the shock level administered by each member will become identifiable to them.

Costume manipulations were through having large name tags or not having such. The ones who had large name tags are under the individuation condition while those who had not were under the deindividuation condition. It was included in the study that the behavior of the accomplice was to be hateful and repulsive in order to reduce the inhibitions against shocking another person, but not so hateful and repulsive that it will prohibit the use of the shock decrease option. Results The manipulation on costume regarding the deindividuation condition was successful in making the subjects behave aggressively, being near to the scale of extremely aggressive that the experimenters used. On the other hand, on the individuation condition, subjects were almost near to the least scale of the aggressive behavior. This means that situational cues can really affect the behavior of an individual provided that situational cues affect the state of selfconsciousness 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 the experiment had been effective. There was an increase in the shock levels of the subjects who worn Ku Klux Klan costumes contrasting the effect for those subjects who worn nurse¶s costume as a prosocial cue.

Assessing the Directionality of Deindividuated Behavior: Effects of Deindividuation, Modeling, and Private Self-Consciousness on Aggressive and Prosocial Responses The 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 selfconsciousness on aggressive and prosocial responses in particular. But the primary focus of this was how deindividuation affects prosocial actions. Thus, it gave way to the differential selfawareness theory which explains that being in a crowd; a person could be affected by disinhibiting actions in two ways. The first mechanism is individuals¶ accountability was reduced because of anonymity and diffused responsibility through reducing their public selfawareness. This means that is having no concern for their self-image. What would happen next is that they will choose to act in a disinhibited manner because they believe that no one would gave them punishment with their behaviors as explained by the expectancy value theory. It suggests that deindividuation is a subjective reality and thus neutral. Like the theory of Gergen which was supported by the study of Johnson and Downing, this study also based its hypothesis on 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

the study also proposes that when deindividuation or reduced private self-awareness is relevant and powerful, its effect is greater than the degree of the private self-consciousness that the group members have. The second is when group cohesiveness together with physiological arousal creates a decrease in the individuals¶ private aspect of themselves. Prosocial behavior was measured through helping behavior. According to Gibbons and Wicklund, there are two important prerequisite in order for the self-focus to increase to enhance prosocial behavior. The first prerequisite is that the environmental cues must be noticeable and justifiable. The second is that the person should not be conscious with him being evaluated by others. On the other hand, a reduced private self-awareness increases responsiveness to antisocial environmental cues. Thus, it makes the individual act aggressively. One of the environmental factors that can affect the members of the group is the presence of the model. Deindividuated subjects had more tendencies to respond with environmental cues than the individuated subjects. Thus, it is the deindividuated subject who were expected to be affected more by prosocial modeling cues and not the individuated subjects. The same is true with aggressive model cues. According to Prentice-Dunn and Rogers, the influence of deindividuation to individuals may be affected by personality variables like private self-consciousness. Private selfconsciousness is the tendency of the individual to focus on his or her own thoughts and feelings. The relationship between private self-consciousness and deindividuation is antithetical. High private self-consciousness lowers the influence of group that fosters deindividuation, whereas, low private self-consciousness heightens the effect deindividuated group. But the influence of the personality variables of deindividuation decreases with the presence of extremely powerful situations. This study of Spivey and Prentice-Dunn wanted also to focus on assessing the impact of private self-consciousness on the behavior on the individuals exposed to deindividuation situations. It attempts to propose that there would be a main impact for situational cues manipulations on aggression and prosocial responding. In connection with this, the researchers also predicted that antisocial modeling cues would greater affect the subjects than situations with either no models or with prosocial models, and with deindividuation situations than with individuation situations. Method As the other research studies have made, this study made use of electrical shocks to measure aggression. The assessment of prosocial behavior was evaluated through the amount of money bestowed by each subject. Procedure The subjects had undergone the Self-Consciousness Scale three weeks prior to the experiment. The subjects in the memory study were informed that their ³duty´ is to distract the naïve participant who is one of the accomplices while he plays video games. A green light will appear occasionally as a signal for delivering either the shock or amount of money to the naïve participant depending on what they want to administer and what amount or level. The basis for the administering of either shock levels or amount of money was through the number of mistakes

that the naïve participant will be made since the experimenter¶s cover story for the experiment is about memory subject¶s performance and the extent of it when he is presented with distractions. Before the subjects in the problem-solving study were engaged in the experimental manipulations, they were asked to play a word game for 15 minutes and a ball-and-spiral game for 10 minutes. After the activity, models on the experiment were presented to them. Situational cues manipulation As a manipulation in the deindividuation condition, the experimenters had the subjects draw their attention away from themselves. This will allow them to reduce their private selfconsciousness. The tasks the subjects did before the experiment was to ensure that their private self-consciousness is reduced. Essentially, these tasks purposefully foster group cohesiveness. Thus, it tended to draw out the focus of the subjects on themselves. The subjects were constantly reminded during the experiment that they should not focus on themselves. Additional manipulations were done through situating them to dimly lit room and made them listen to loud rock music while solving the anagrams and ball-and-spiral game since it has been found that it increases arousal. Again, these will help reduce their private self-awareness. During the experiment, subjects were encouraged to interact with one another in the group but should not discuss the shock or money they had administered. All the manipulations done in the deindividuation condition were contradictory to that of the individuation condition. These were through giving them their individual tasks and materials that lessens their interests. They were commanded that they should focus on themselves²their thoughts, feelings and reactions. All the assigned tasks to them were done in a brightly lit room with individual desks and had no music and communication with each other. These were for the purpose of increasing their private self-consciousness. Antisocial and prosocial modeling manipulations In order for the manipulations of the modeling cues, subjects were shown models of administering the shock levels and amount of money. For the antisocial model cues, the experimental assistant five shock switches 9, 10, 9, 9 10 in order. For the prosocial model cues, the experimental assistant pressed 9, 10, 9, 9, and 10 in the money dispensing switches. No modeling of behavior was shown in the no-model cues condition. In addition for the conditions of the model cues, another experimental assistant in the antisocial modeling condition remarked that he would give the naïve participant 10s every time. On the other hand, he remarked that he would give the participant $2.50 every time for the prosocial modeling condition. No remarks had made in the no-model condition. Results As expected, the subjects in the deindividuation condition exhibited more aggression than the subjects in the individuation condition. With the influence of the modeling cues in the experiment, deindividuation subjects exhibited more prosocial behavior than the individuation subjects. But the experiment failed to show significant difference for shock intensity. Nonetheless, it showed significant effect in the prosocial condition which is money dispensing behavior. The result was consistent with Duncan¶s range test that presented more effectiveness of prosocial model cues in the subjects than those exposed to antisocial modeling cues and nomodel condition.

In terms of situational cues manipulation, results had shown significant main effects for both individuation and deindividuation situational cues. It means that deindividuation condition subjects showed more aggression than with those subjects in the individuation condition. Results indicated that there is a significant main effect between private selfconsciousness and for both situational cues and modeling cues. Discussion People are likely to engage in aggressive behaviors if the environmental cues present show antisocial behaviors. On the contrary, when prosocial cues in the environment are present, people are more likely to engage in altruistic behaviors. Results indicated that deindividuation stimulates disinhibition by means of an enhanced awareness to external cues. Deindividuation did not only show effects of antisocial behaviors but also of prosocial behaviors provided that prosocial environmental cues are present. Surprisingly, it was found out that individuated participants responded more aggressively than prosocially. It implies that individuated participants tend to behave more aggressively when given opportunity to respond either antisocially or prosocially.

Self-Awareness, Deindividuation, and Social Identity: Unraveling Theoretical Paradoxes by Filling Empirical Lacunae The purpose of this study was to articulate the paradoxes of some of the theories in the past about the common grounds of self-awareness, deindividuation, and social identity. Another focus of the study was to establish a resolution with the paradoxes. The Paradox between Deindividuation and the Search for Identity Some scholars viewed the notion that the loss of identity will lead to unrestrained behavior as a pathetically positive event. The works of LeBon, et al, illustrates that deindividuation involves being ³lost in the crowd.´ It then denotes that under the situations of deindividuation, self-awareness and social identity would be reduced. In contrast, the identity loss that is characterized by uncontrolled behavior may lead to ascertain the individual¶s uniqueness. It then shores up with the idea that a reduction in one part of identity will lead to an induction of another part of the identity. This means that with this notion in connection with deindividuation, self-awareness would be reduced while social identity would increase. The Paradox between Deindividuation and Depersonalization Participants in deindividuation experiments seem to be depersonalized not deindividuated because their personal identity were no longer salient. Additionally, the causes of deindividuation are decreased in the private self-awareness and an increased in the social identity. The Paradox of Symmetrical Activation of the Components of Identity This paradox explains that personal identity and social identity have an inverse relationship. When an individual is aware of him being in a group, his awareness of his personal self is reduced.

Methods and Procedure It is required in this study that the participants belong to the single ethnic group. The participants were asked to complete a three-page questionnaire about self-awareness. The participants were grouped into four different conditions in the experiment. They were instructed they will answer questions about their ethnic identity. In the control condition, participants were asked to just answer the question. In one condition, the mirror condition, participants answered the questions with the mirror in front of them. On the mask condition, they were asked to wear a featureless translucent mask while they answer the questionnaire. On the other hand, the family tree condition required that the participants would write the name of their ethnic group in the family tree. They answered the questionnaire in front of the family tree. Results In connection with the notion of deindividuation as being lost in the crowd, the results were highly significant whereas in the notion of deindividuation participants are depersonalized, results had shown marginally significant effect. It further implies that this study supports more to the first notion²that is deindividuation reduces self-awareness and social identity. With the notion of inverse relationship between personal identity and social identity, the findings were highly significant. On the other hand, in the self-attention theory where it explains a more schematic model of the self, the experimenters found out that the relationship was only marginally significant. Therefore, it supports more the former notion. In the paradox of deindividuation and the search for identity, results had shown high significance in the notion that identity loss stimulates uncontrolled behavior and thus, reduce self-awareness and social identity. The second notion which is the identity loss that stimulates individual¶s uniqueness had only marginal significance. The results implied that deindividuation does not increase any identity. Discussion The manipulation involving the mirror had led to an increase in the self-awareness of the participants but decrease in their social identity. A mask, on the other hand, decreased both selfawareness and social identity. Contrary to the effect of the mirror, a family tree had led to a decrease in the self-awareness but increase in the social identity of the participants. Resolution of the Paradoxes The approach to reinterpreting crowd behaviors through social identity phenomena may not involve people who are genuinely deindividuated but instead involve people who are depersonalized. The results suggest that more confidence should be engaged in the connectionist model than the activation self-system model. In laboratory experiments, it is possible that participants experience a loss of personal and social identity. But in reality, people actually do not drive to stable their identity.

Without Mercy: The Immediate Impact of Group Size on Lynch Mob Atrocity It was presented in this study two independent researches about the role of relative group size as a social influence to lynching. Interestingly, the two researches yield opposite results regarding the role of majority or minority ratios to lynching. In connection, self-attention theory suggests that the relative number of mob members influences lynching atrocity. The purpose of this article is to try to reconcile the two researches. Study 1: Words are Wise Men¶s Counters This study examined the archival data about lynching. The lynching events selected for the study were 60 and occurred between 1899 and 1946. Measures of the Study Lynching was measured through whether the five acts of violence²hanging, shooting, burning, lacerating and mutilating, occurred or not. It was also measured through the duration that it happened. The researchers, based on the newspaper articles on the archival data that they¶ve gathered, had identified the country where the lynching had happened. Results The proportion of the country¶s population showed no significant effect on the lynching atrocity. Findings also had shown that the members of the lynch mob are generally non-selfattentive. This means that these lynch mob members are deindividuated. The lynchings become more violent when the lynch mobs are greater in number and thus becoming lost in the crowd. Discussion The results imply that the self-attention theory is accurate. It was further cleared out that the effects of the proportion of the country¶s population and the numbers of members in the lynch mob are independent. Study 2: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words This particular study also acquired data through archival data about lynching. The difference of it from the previous study is that it made use of pictures rather than news articles. The criteria for selecting the pictures are (1) the victim/s was/were killed; (2) the number of victims is identifiable; (3) the number of lynchers is included in the photograph; and (4) the photograph was taken during or immediately after the lynching event. With careful selections, 22 photographs had been used that happened from 1890 to 1935. Measures of the Study The researcher rescaled the photographs in order for the victim¶s head to be approximately .5 inches long. Then the individual images were cropped to a size of 2 x 4 inch window. The victims were then organized with the scale of least atrocity to most atrocity. They were assigned numerical values based on the atrocity scale. The country from which the lynching occurred was also identified if possible. The percentage of the country population was also derived.

Results Contrary from the results achieved by the first study, the proportion of the country¶s population has a significant effect on lynching atrocity. But similar to the first study, this study also yielded the results that showed that lynchings are more violent when the proportion of members is greater in numbers and thus, the lynchers become deindividuated. Discussion The results imply that the proportion of the country¶s population can be connected with lynching atrocity unlike that of the result in the first study. Comparison of the Two Studies One of the possible reasons on why the two studies yield opposite results regarding the relationship of the proportion of the country¶s population and the lynching atrocity is photograph samples might not an accurate sample for lynching atrocities. Overall Discussion Generally, the country¶s population does not affect the lynch mob atrocities. But as the members of the lynch mob increases, the lynch mob atrocities also increase.

Conclusion Gang-related crimes in Baguio City could be possibly caused by deindividuation. The hypothesis of the studies of Johnson and Downing, and Spivey and Prentice-Dunn particularly about situational and modeling cues could help explain the numerous gang-related crimes in the city. On the other hand, the study regarding group size and lynch mob atrocities could help also help explain the lynch gang atrocities happened in Baguio. Critique Research studies on deindividuation and related topics have so many common grounds in terms of manipulations of the variables particularly the situational cues manipulation on deindividuation²that is to administer electric shock. In the methods, procedures and manipulations done by Spivey and Prentice-Dunn, I am somewhat disagree with the giving of signals to the subjects to which they will give the distractions. In a sense, it is like controlling their subjects because they might want to give more shock or they might want to give shock on their own time. Thus, the number of distractions they will give could also be measured and use as an indicator of aggressive behavior. In the last study reviewed, the methods and procedures used particularly the data used is quite inaccurate because as the researcher who made a review about them said, there are possible biases in the news article and same thru with the photographs. If we would sum all the findings of the different experiments made, we will see the broad effects of deindividuation usually on groups. Deindividuation generally results to antisocial behaviors. But it can also result to prosocial behaviors provided that the environmental cues at present are prosocial.

Sources: Johnson, Robert and Downing, Leslie (1979). Deindividuation and Valence of Cues: Effects on Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior. Journal on Social Psychology, vol.37. no.9. Leader, Tirza, et al (2007). Without Mercy: The Immediate Impact of Group Size on Lynch Mob Atrocity. Journal on Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33. 1340-1353. Mullen, Brian, et.al (2003). Self-Awareness, deindividuation and Social Identity: Unraveling Theoretical Paradoxes by Filling Empirical Lacunae. Journal on Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1070-1081. Palangchao, Harley, (2009). Death of a Teener Sparks Call for Justice, peace in Baguio. Baguio Midland Courier Website. Prentice-Dunn, Steven and Spivey, Cashton (1990). Assessing the Directionality of Deindividuated Behavior: Effects of Deindividuation, Modeling, and Private Self-Consciousness on Aggressive and Prosocial Responses. Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 387403.

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