The Relationship Between Masks and Aggressive Behavior

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A review of the literature demonstrates that being anonymous by wearing a mask has been hypothesized to create many psychological effects, but mainly deindividuation. Numerous distinct explanations have been suggested as to why that effect has come about. Using an ethnographical approach and open-ended interviews, this study investigates through two disciplines; anthropology and social psychology respectively in detail the hypothesis that wearing a mask could lead to aggression, and that this aggression comes about by wearing a mask thru deindividuation and anonymity. The findings show that a mask can considerably lessen the mask wearer’s impressions of the self and that it could likewise substantially reduce their public self-awareness because of deindividuation. Nevertheless, the empirical evidence collected indicates that the mask’s deindividuation effect could be restricted to situations in which an individual wants to behave in a particular way. This study also explores the hypothesis that being anonymous in a group could alter the person that is wearing a mask, and that this transpires via the Deindividuation theory summarized by Zimbardo, Newcomb, Pepitone, and Festinger. This research provides consistent empirical evidence that wearing masks invokes aggressive behavior, demonstrating that wearing a mask does in fact make an individual feel less resembling to their typical self and further compared to the character embodied by wearing a mask.

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  • 08/13/2021
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