ScienceDaily (June 22, 2011) Powerful, Intoxicated, Anonymous: The Paradox of the Disinhibited
Power can lead to great acts of altruism, but also corruptive, unethical behavior. Being intoxicated can lead to a first date, or a bar brawl. And the mask of anonymity can encourage one individual to let a stranger know they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe, whereas another may post salacious photos online. What is the common thread between these three disparate states?
A forthcoming article from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University presents a new model that explains how the diverse domains of power, alcohol intoxication and anonymity produce similarly paradoxical social behaviors — for better or worse.
According to the researchers, all three states work to break down inhibitions in a person, thus triggering the most prominent response in any given situation regardless of the consequences. As a result, alcohol, power, and anonymity can all inspire heroism and hedonism in the same person depending on the context.