Deindividuation, anonymity and violence: Findings from Northern Ireland

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The author examined the relation between anonymity and aggression in violent interpersonal assaults that occurred in Northern Ireland. Of the 500 violent attacks that the author studied, 206 were carried out by offenders who wore disguises to mask their identities. The findings revealed that significant positive relationships existed between the use of disguises and several measures of aggression. Disguised offenders inflicted more serious physical injuries, attacked more people at the scene, engaged in more acts of vandalism, and were more likely to threaten victims after the attacks. The author discussed these results within the framework of deindividuation theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-499
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • aggression
  • anonymity
  • deindividuation
  • terrorism
  • violence

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