When people join a large crowd, often they find themselves losing their individuality. Some people may feel a strong desire to conform to fit into the crowd (Changing Minds, 2013). People in crowds may undergo deindividuation, which is a loss of individual identity to gain the social identity of the group. This can result in a loss of the normal constraints that a person may have to guard against deviant behavior (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2010). This behavior results from the feelings of arousal, anonymity, and a reduction of individual responsibilities. People may feel that in a group their less responsible for actions and behaviors. This can allow people to participate in destructive behaviors without feelings of moral and ethical responsibilities one may have when alone.
Throughout history, destructive behaviors through deindividuation can be seen. For example, during World War II people participated in acts that were morally wrong as a group that they would not have felt was acceptable individually. Deindividuation consists of two environmental cues which are accountability and attentional cues (Kassin et al, 2010). Accountability cues affect the calculation of costs and rewards of behaviors. In a large crowd, accountability may be low making people feel that they are less likely to be caught and punished for behaviors. This can cause them to participate in deviant behaviors. Attentional cues takes the focus of people’s attention off of themselves. When a person is less focused on themselves, they are less likely to use internal standard of behaviors, react more to immediate situations, and may be less sensitive to the long-term consequences of ...
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...its their self-interest. Research has also shown that even groups that are competitive in nature are able to respond cooperatively to the use of this strategy.
Changing Minds. (2013). Deindividuation. Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/deindividuation.htm
Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2010). Social psychology with study guide. (8th ed.). Mason: Cengage Learning.
Lindskold, S. (1978). Trust development, the GRIT proposal, and the effects of conciliatory acts on conflict and cooperation.Psychological Bulletin, 85(4), 772-793. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.85.4.772
Van Lange, P., Joireman, J., Hardisty, D., & Van Djik, E. (2014). Introduction to social dilemmas. Steering Committee of the International Conferences on Social Dilemmas. Retrieved from http://socialdilemma.com/content/introduction-social-dilemmas
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