Social psychology
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Social Psychology. The tremendous power of the situation. What is Social Psych?. Branch of psychology concerned with the personality , attitude s, motivation s, and behavior of the individual or group in the context of social interaction . Power of The Situation. Todays Agenda:

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Social Psychology

  • The tremendous power of the situation....


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What is Social Psych?

  • Branch of psychology concerned with the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual or group in the context of social interaction.


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Power of The Situation

  • Todays Agenda:

    • Obedience to authority

    • Conformity

    • Stanford prison experiment (power of the situation; roles; authority)


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Categories of Social Influence

  • Obedience - changing one’s behavior in response to a directive from an authority figure


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Obedience to Authority

  • Stanley Milgram

    • Participants thought that they were shocking participants

    • Would the participants in Milgrams study have shocked to the limit if:

      • Milgram had not been present

      • A 5-year old were giving the orders

      • There were two people and one stopped


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Why Did They Do It?

  • “I was just following orders”

  • The situation had a strong effect

    • Evidenced by the varying results when manipulating situational variables

  • Most likely a combination of both the situation and the individual

    • Synergistic affects


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Milgram Replication

  • Could it happen today?

  • Would people still go all the way today?

  • If so, what does that say about the mechanism that is causing the behavior?

  • What does this say about human nature? Are we all evil?


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Categories of Social Influence

  • Conformity - changing one’s behavior to match the responses or actions of others (not necessarily due to pressure)



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Conformity

  • Conformity: yielding to social pressure

  • Solomon Asch and the Line Studies (1950’s)- replications

  • Several confederates and one true participant

  • Ask which line on the right most closely matches the one on the left

  • With appropriate social pressure, (75%) of Ss caved at least once!

  • Variation factors:

    • Group size (7 and then plateau)

    • Group unanimity


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The Effect of The Situation?

  • When alone, 95% of participants got all the answers correct.

  • But 75% went against their own eyes at least once if the group gave a wrong answer.


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Group Pressure

  • What can we learn from this study?

    • Group pressure can change behavior

    • Illustrative of social pressure that we all are under (teenagers)

    • Will all will conform to group norms given the right circumstances


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Group Pressure

  • Conclusion: People faced with strong group consensus sometimes go along even though they think the others may be wrong.


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Conformity Video

  • Replication of Asch’s work - Anthony Pratkanis

  • Notice the agony on the students faces

  • Which of the two types of cultures we discussed is more likely to fall victim to conformity? Why?

  • Are high or low self-monitors likely to fall victim to pressures of conformity? Why?


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Stanford Prison Experiment

  • Philip Zimbardo- 1971

  • Method

    • Create a mock prison

    • Assign students roles (Guards or Prisoners)

    • See how role assignment and power of situation affects Ss

    • Study had to be stopped after 6 days due to severe mental distress and treatment of the prisoners by the guards


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What situational forces are at work?

  • Small first steps...”15 volts” .. “give me your cloths”

  • Took away individual identity

  • Told to do things that are dehumanizing

  • Small anonymity for guards (Ex., Big sunglasses)

  • Very infrequent visits from warden (Zim)

  • Commitment to take part

  • Altering semantics - reframing “learner in Milgram”

  • Increasing gradually- no noticeable huge step


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What Did We Learn?

  • If you were a guard, what type of guard would you have become? How sure are you?

  • Why did no one say “I quit!”

  • What prevented "good guards" from objecting or countermanding the orders from tough or bad guards?

  • What factors would lead prisoners to attribute guard brutality to the guards' disposition or character, rather than to the situation?

  • Explanation is not excuse


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What Cognitive Factors Are At Work?

  • Obedience to authority - Experimenter to Guard; Guard to prisoner

  • Conformity - Going along with other guards/prisoners

  • Attribution to external entity - “the experimenter is responsible”

  • Normative influence - “All the other guards were doing it”

  • Altercasting - “you are a guard... now act like one”

  • Diffusion of responsibility - “I am not the only one responsible”


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Similar Situations?

  • What other real world instances can we say have extreme situational forces?

    • All teenage years....

    • Fraternities & Sororities

    • Sporting Events

    • Interventions**

    • Witnessing a murder?


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Challenge!

  • Go home and think... no really THINK about what you saw in class today. Ask yourself would I have went all the way in Milgrams or Zimbardo’s experiment? Why would I have ... why wouldn't I have? What psychological factors would I have fallen victim to?

  • Think about the way your answers to the above questions should change the way that you think next time you hear a news story in situation with powerful effects...

  • Stop yourself from taking the easy way out...


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