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Social Psychology

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  1. Social Psychology • The tremendous power of the situation....

  2. 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.

  3. Power of The Situation • Todays Agenda: • Obedience to authority • Conformity • Stanford prison experiment (power of the situation; roles; authority)

  4. Categories of Social Influence • Obedience - changing one’s behavior in response to a directive from an authority figure

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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?

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

  9. Which line on the right matches the one on the left?

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

  14. 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?

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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”

  19. 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?

  20. 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...