Diener (1976) investigated this with over 1,000 children in Seattle on Halloween. Children were faced with a dilemma, whilst trick or treating they were offered a bowl of candy, with an adult telling them they could take one before leaving to go inside for something. When the adult didn’t ask for the children’s names and the children had arrived in a group they were significantly more likely to take more than one piece of candy (57%).
The two important factors were anonymity and being in a group. If one of the factors was missing. Results dropped significantly.
This study shows us the power of deindividuation – losing ones self-identity whilst in a group and becoming part of the crowd. People will often engage in behaviour they ordinarily wouldn’t, when they become deindividuated.
Can this be applied to other settings?
How is this useful for today?