PSYC 2310 Lecture Notes - Gustave Le Bon, Deindividuation, Social Loafing

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14 Nov 2012
Crowd Behaviour
The history of crowd
- Gustav Le Bon (1986)
- Suggested that in crowds people submerge in a very primitive mind
- People become mad
Group mind in crowds
- Le Bon described three characteristics of crowds:
1. Anonymity
2. Suggestibility respond to cues available in environment
- consistent with Freudian perspective
3. Contagion when an idea develops in a crowd, it spreads quickly
- referred to this as mental unity
- Le Bon described crowds as sources of power as well
- needs to be controlled
Alternative View
- Allport (1924) was highly critical of Le Bon and argued:
- “The individual in the crowd behaves just as he would behave alone only more so”
- He was also dismissive of crowds
- In his view, mad people joined crowds, crowds didn’t make people mad
- Argues that if you’re an aggressive person who seeks conflict, you’ll join a crowd
- Allport suggested that in crowd people reveal their true nature
People in group
- Social facilitation
- Groups facilitate certain behaviours
- Social loafing
- Diminishing one’s social responsibility
- Deindividuation refers to loss of sense of individual responsibility and reduction of inhibition due to
joining a group
- Zimbardo’s Prison study (1972)
- 2 of the conditions that lead to deindividuation are:
1. Group size
2. Anonymity
Group Size
- As the size of the group increase, deindividuation increases, leading to a higher probability of violence
in the group
- Zimbardo’s car experiment (1970)
- Bought 2 cars, removed license plates
- Placed one in New York City, and one outside of Standford Uni
- The car in New York City was vandalized and stripped of its parts within 10 minutes
- The one in the small town was left alone for the first week, it rained and someone
stopped and put the hood down
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