Lecture 18: Social Psychology Flashcards Preview

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What is social psychology?

The effect of social variables on individual behaviour, attitudes, perceptions and motives

Group and inter group phenomenas


What are the two main constructions of social reality?

Social cognition- process by which people select, interpret and remember social info

Social perception- process by which people come to understand and categorise the behaviour of others


What is obedience?

The compliance to the orders of an authority figure


What did Millgram discovier in his obedience researcj?

He studied to determine how far people would go in following orders from an authority figure

Participants were told experiments was on the effects of punishments on learning

They were asked to punish the learner's wrong answers with increasing electric shocks

The learner in the other room was a confederate of the experimenter (i,e, was an act, they didnt actually receive shocks)

The learner did respond with grunts, and screams and stopped responding after 300 volts


What were the results of Millgram's obedience study?

65% of participants shocked up to 450 volts
These included shocks delivered to a sobbing learner who pleaded to stop.
These even continued after the learner complained of heart problems.
Also continued after the learner screamed in agony and fell silent and unresponsive,


What does Millgram's study tell us?

The power of obedience is very strong


What are the situational factors which influence obedience?

Proximity of leaner: subjects were less likely to use high levels of shock when the learner was in the same room.

Proximity to experimenter: subjects were more likely to disobey when the experimenter was remote

Dissent: when other subjects dissented to give shocks, subjects were more likely to refuse to shock the learner

Modelling: when other subjects modelled shock behaviour, subjects were more likely to shock the learner


What are cognitive factors which affect obedience?

Normative influences- we obey to be liked.
Informational influences- we like to be right
Ambiguity of situation
Confusion about how to dissent
Obedience to authority is a social norm


What is conformity?

A change in attitudes or behaviour to accommodate the standards of peers or groups


What is Asch's conformity study? 1955

Subjects were asked to judge line lengths while working in a group of 7-9 people
Only one was a real subject, others were confederates

Confederates initially gave right answers then all started giving the same wrong answers


What are the results of Asch's conformity study?

50-80% of participants in different studies conformed with the false majority at least once

1/3 of participants agreed with false majority in half or more trials

Only 1/4 of participants remained independent


What factors affect conformity?

Group size: larger groups elicit more conformity
Dissention: if even one confederate dissented from the group, the subject followed own judgement
Personality: those with low self esteem are more likely to conform
Culture: people from collectivist cultures are more likely to conform


What is the bystander effect?

This is a theory proposed to explain the actions surrounding the murder of Kitty Genovese

The victim was subjected to stalking attack over a half jour period

38 witnesses heard her cries, at least one was eye witness to attack but no one went to help


What causes the bystander effect?

One main cause is the diffusion of responsibility:
This is where there is a diminished sense of personal responsibility to act because others are seen as equally responsible


Why do bystanders feel this way?

Bystanders who feel anonymous e.g. Part of a large crowd, are less likely to help
Bystanders act most quickly in 2-person groups


What are the factors that affect bystander intervention?

Bystander's awareness of the event
Bystander's interpretation of the event as an emergency
Bystander's willingness to take responsibility


What are social roles?

Socially defined pattern of behaviour that is expected of a person when functioning in a given setting or group

Different social situations make different roles available

E.g. Home vs. Work, family vs. Sports team


What provides the behavioural guidelines for specific settings?



What is the Stanford Prison experiment? (Zimbardo 1972, 1975)

Students were randomly assigned to be prisoners or guards in mock prison
Prisoner subjects were arrested, fingerprinted and dressed as prisoners
Guard subjects were dressed appropriately and given minimum instructions


What was the result of the Stanford Prison experiment?

Guards became agreesive, treated prisoners as less than humans
Prisoners became lethargic and depressed, half had to withdraw due to depression or anxiety
Experiment was aborted after 6 days


What did the stanford prison experiment demonstrate?

The person role merger, this is the identification with a role to such a degree that the person becomes the role.