Beat the pacifist: The deindividuating effects of anonymity and group presence
Diener, E., Westford, K. L., Dineen, J., & Fraser, S. C. (1973). Beat the pacifist: The deindividuating effects of anonymity and group presence. Proceedings of the 81st Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 8 APA, 221-222.
Employed a new paradigm for measuring aggression in which undergraduates helped "test a pacifist" in any manner they wished, either verbally or with materials provided, e.g., foam swords and plastic pellet pistols. The experiment examined the effects of anonymity and group presence, two of the deindividuation "input variables," on aggression. Contrary to P. Zimbardo's theory of deindividuation, group presence led to lessened aggression, and anonymity interreacted with group presence, producing more aggression in groups, but less in the alone condition. Males were significantly more aggressive than females, and there were significant Sex * Condition interactions. Deindividuation was reinterpreted as producing disinhibition of motivational states rather than independently producing antisocial motivation.
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