Deindividuation theory was developed to explain the violence and irrationality of the crowd. How does a group of seemingly normal individuals become an unruly mob? According to deindividuation theory, the anonymity and excitement of the crowd make individuals lose a sense of individual identity. As a result, crowd members cease to evaluate themselves, and they become irrational and irresponsible. All of this makes the crowd fickle, explosive, and prone to antinormative and disinhibited behavior.

But, despite a large amount of research, there is little support for deindividuation theory. Alternative approaches suggest that crowd behavior is not due to a loss of identity but to a transition to a collective (social) identity. The remainder of this entry outlines the theoretical evolution of deindividuation theory, summarizes the research ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles