Deindividuation and valence of cues: Effects on prosocial and antisocial behavior

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Abstract

Manipulated deindividuation and valence of costume cues in a 2 × 2 factorial design. P. G. Zimbardo's (1970) theory of deindividuation suggests that deindividuation should disinhibit antisocial behavior independent of cue valence, and should reduce any influence due to cues. The theory of K. J. Gergen et al (1973) suggests that cues may have increasing influence, given deindividuation, and that deindividuation may increase prosocial behavior, given positive cues, and increase antisocial behavior, given negative cues. Results support Gergen's position. Given options to increase or decrease shock level received by a stranger, no main effect was found for deindividuation. There was a main effect for costume cues, and an interaction of cues with deindividuation, with deindividuation facilitating a significant increase in prosocial responses in the presence of positive cues and a nonsignificant increase in antisocial responses in the presence of negative cues. Also cues interacted with trial blocks, prosocial behavior increasing with positive cues and antisocial behavior increasing with negative cues over trial blocks. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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