‘Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face’- Oscar Wilde
I recently read this quote by Oscar Wilde and was reminded of how scarily right he could be.
A mask, be that literal or metaporical, can make someone anonymous. This loss of self awareness is called deindividuation. When people deindividuate, they are less likely to follow normal restraints and inhibitions and more likely to lose their sense of individual identity. It’s the kind of thing that leads to ‘mob mentality’. It can be seen in real life in groups like the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and groups of rioters. Numerous experiments have shown that when people are deindividuated they perform acts that they otherwise might not.