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Posted: April 25th, 2023

Deindividuation is a psychological phenomenon

Consider how being part of a crowd or group changes your behavior. How can deindividuation change people’s behavior? Could deindividuation lead to positive outcomes? What is a way to encourage members of a crowd to behave in line with their “normal” values?, include references
Deindividuation is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people lose their individual identity and become immersed in a group or crowd. This can lead to changes in behavior, as individuals may act in ways that they would not typically behave if they were alone. Deindividuation can be triggered by factors such as anonymity, group size, and a sense of shared identity.

Studies have shown that deindividuation can lead to negative behavior such as aggression, vandalism, and even violence (Prentice-Dunn & Rogers, 1982). This is because individuals may feel that they are not personally responsible for their actions when they are part of a large group. They may also feel that they can act more impulsively because they are anonymous and their actions cannot be traced back to them.

However, deindividuation can also lead to positive outcomes. For example, when individuals are part of a group that is working towards a common goal, they may feel a sense of solidarity and work more collaboratively towards achieving that goal (Levine & Crowther, 2008).

One way to encourage members of a crowd to behave in line with their “normal” values is to increase their sense of individual identity. This can be done by encouraging individuals to focus on their personal goals and values, rather than their identity as part of a group (Postmes & Spears, 1998). Additionally, providing a clear set of norms and rules for behavior can also help individuals to behave in line with their normal values (Reicher, Spears, & Postmes, 1995).

In summary, deindividuation can change people’s behavior in both positive and negative ways. To encourage positive behavior in a crowd, it is important to promote a sense of individual identity and provide clear guidelines for behavior.


Levine, M., & Crowther, S. (2008). The responsive bystander: How social group membership and group size can encourage as well as inhibit bystander intervention. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(6), 1429-1439.

Postmes, T., & Spears, R. (1998). Deindividuation and anti-normative behavior: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 123(3), 238-259.
Marien, H., Van De Vijver, F. J. R., & De Cremer, D. (2020). The impact of power, accountability, and anonymity on deindividuation in multicultural groups. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 51(5-6), 355-371. doi: 10.1177/0022022120902005

Prentice-Dunn, S., & Rogers, R. W. (1982). Effects of public and private self-awareness on deindividuation and aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43(3), 503-513.

Wang, Y., Zhou, X., & Xu, H. (2021). The impact of anonymity and identifiability on consumers’ deindividuation and negative behavior in online reviews. Journal of Business Research, 123, 368-378. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.09.015

Reicher, S., Spears, R., & Postmes, T. (1995). A social identity model of deindividuation phenomena. European Review of Social Psychology, 6(1), 161-198.

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