At birth, a person is not separate and distinct from the mother. An infant conceives of itself as part of the mother, rather than as its own self-based entity. Individuation starts when the child is able to answer questions for itself because it realizes it is accountable and that the mother no longer has the power to determine its future. Making choices and acting on one’s own decisions marks the formation of a separate and distinct self.
Social psychology is the study of how people are affected by the presence of others. Deindividuation is a concept from social psychology that describes the loss of self-awareness and the blurring of the distinction between the self and the crowd. In a crowd, people can become less separate and feel like they are part of a mob, resulting in behavior they would ordinarily not commit. Deindividuation is relevant to the behavior of lynch mobs, armies, and even crowds at public events.
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