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Self-Awareness, Deindividuation, and Social Identity: Unraveling Theoretical Paradoxes by Filling Empirical Lacunae

Self-Awareness, Deindividuation, and Social Identity: Unraveling Theoretical Paradoxes by Filling Empirical Lacunae

Abstract

In an effort to examine paradoxes involving self-awareness, deindividuation, and social identity, this article reports the results of a study that examines the effects of a range of manipulation operationalizations of self and social identity on a complement of measurement operationalizations of self and social identity. Specifically, participants completed measures of self-awareness and ethnic social identity while confronted with their mirror image, while wearing a mask, or while exposed to a family tree delineating their ethnicity. Patterns of mean levels of self-awareness and ethnic social identity are used to examine the paradox of depersonalization and deindividuation, the paradox of (a)symmetrical activation of components of identity, and the paradox of deindividuation and the search for identity. Discussion considers the limitations of this approach and considers the implications of these results for the long-standing study of the interplay between self and social identity.
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