Social Psychology

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Social Psychology
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Social Psychology

Asch and Conformity Experiment (Asch, 1951)

•When answered alone, 99% correct •When in groups, 37% of the responses were conforming

Asch and Conformity Asch Experiment

Conformity Crutchfield (1955)

Studies of attitude “Free speech being a privilege rather than a right, it is proper for a society to suspend free speech when it feels threatened” – 19% agreed with statement in private – 58% agreed under pressure of group influence

Obedience to Authority Milgram’s experiment (1963)

• 2 males asked come to psych exp. at Yale. • apparently about learning and memory • Stern experimenter (in lab coat) explains cover story: pioneering study on the effect of punishment on learning. The experiment requires one of them to teach a list of word pairs to the other and to punish errors by delivering shocks of increasing intensity. • To assign the roles, they (apparently) draw slips out of a hat (but fixed so confederate is “learner”)

Obedience to Authority Milgram’s experiment

• Confederate strapped into chair with electrodes • Teacher & experimenter go to room with shock generator… • Shocks range: 15 volts (slight shock) - 450 volts (Danger/severe shock/XXX) • Every time learner gets one wrong, “teacher” is to increase the shock

Obedience to Authority Milgram’s experiment

How far would YOU go?

Do you really know? Described expt. to 110 psychiatrist, college students & middle class adults. => All groups guessed they would disobey at 135 volts.

Obedience to Authority Out of 40 men, 25 (63%) went all the way to 450 volts.

Obedience to Authority 1. Emotional distance of the victim More obedience when learners not seen 2. Closeness of authority More obedience if authority figure physically close 3. Legitimacy of authority Less obedience when authority was just a clerk 4. Institutional Authority Less obedience at lower status institution

Stanford Prison Experiment • Participants – 24 healthy, stable, intelligent 19-20 year old male college students

*Stanford prison video

Stanford Prison Experiment • Pathology of Prisoner Syndrome – Loss of personal identity – Passiveness & dependence – Adoption of “prisoner” profile – Uncontrollable anxiety

Stanford Prison Experiment • Similarities to Iraqi prisoner abuse? – – – –

diffusion of responsibility anonymity, secrecy dehumanization peers who model harmful behavior – bystanders who did not intervene – stress, boredom

Situational Influence • Group size in crisis situations – Kitty Genovese’s story

Situational Influence •Bystander effect – Perceived number of bystanders predicts likelihood of helping behavior

– Why? Diffusion of responsibility

Bystander effect • Darley study – College student ushered into room, listened to headset, would speak in mic when his/her turn came – Participants thought they were speaking with 1, 2, or 4 other students

Bystander effect • Darley study (cont.) – During the experiment, the subject heard another "participant" have a seizure, with the victim saying: "give me a little help here...;I'm gonna dieer-er-I'm ... gonna die-er-help...“ – "victim" had an 85% chance of receiving help within two minutes when there was a single bystander – only a 31% chance when there were two or more bystanders

Situational Influence • Social Facilitation – improved performance of tasks in the presence of others – occurs with simple or welllearned tasks but not with tasks that are difficult or not yet mastered

Situational Influence Home Advantage in Major Team Sports


Games Studied

Home Team Winning Percentage







Ice hockey









Situational Influence • Deindividuation – loss of self-awareness and selfrestraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity

Situational Influence •Deindividuation – Light and dark room study – Self-awareness study

Situational Influence • Group Polarization – the enhancement of a group’s prevailing attitudes through discussion within the group

Situational Influence

High +4 +3 +2

High-prejudice groups

+1 Prejudice 0 Low-prejudice groups

-1 -2 -3 Low -4 Before discussion

After discussion

• If a group is like-minded, discussion strengthens its prevailing opinions

Social Relations • Prejudice – an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members

• Stereotype – a generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people

Social Relations • Americans today express much less racial and gender prejudice Percentage 90 answering 80 yes 70

Would you vote for a woman president?

60 50 40 30 Do whites have a right 20 to keep minorities out of 10 their neighborhoods? 0 1936 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995


Social Relations •Why stereotypes? – Benefits of categorization – Grain of truth – Ingroup/outgroup dynamic

Social Relations • Sherif study (1961) – Phase One: boys with no previous contact randomly split into two groups and brought to Robbers Cave campsite. – Phase Two: competition set up between the two groups of boys in which only one group can win. – Phase Three: attempts to reduce the conflict between the two groups. • Increasing contact – made worse • Working together to reach common goals – diffused prejudice, tensions

Social Relations • Why prejudice? – – – –

Benefits of categorization Grain of truth Ingroup/outgroup dynamic Self-esteem maintenance

Prejudice & Self-esteem • Fein & Spencer (1997) – Comparisons to less competent others boosts self-esteem – We apply negative stereotypes when we are motivated to reaffirm our self-worth

Prejudice & Self-esteem • Fein (cont.) – Participants receive positive or negative feedback on an IQ test (self-esteem threat) – Evaluate job applicant in an “unrelated” experiment – Applicant portrayed as Jewish or Non-Jewish

Prejudice & Self-esteem • Fein (cont.) – Positive feedback did not affect ratings of candidate – Negative feedback resulted in Jewish applicant being viewed more negatively – Self-esteem only increased for participants who saw a Jewish applicant after receiving negative feedback

Social Relations • Why prejudice? – Self-protection •When students received a high grade, male and female instructors rated the same •When students received a low grade, female instructors rated more negatively than their male counterparts

Social Relations - Attraction • Psychology of attraction – Proximity •Mere exposure effect – Physical Attractiveness •Youthfulness •Neotany

– Similarity

Social Relations - Attraction • Dutton bridge study

‘I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work…’

– Participants approached confederate on high, unstable suspension bridge (arousing situation) OR – spoke to confederate on stable, low bridge (non threatening situation) – Findings – confederate in arousing situation rated more attractive

Social Relations - Attraction

Social Relations – Attraction • Psychology of attractiveness – Men and women shown pictures of opposite sex of varying attractiveness – Then told they had chance to win $15-35 tomorrow or $50-75 at variable point in the future – Findings?

How Does It Feel to See a Perfect 10?

Social Relations – Attraction • What is beautiful is good – Kurtzberg (1968) study on plastic surgery for prisoners – Stewart (1980) followup study on crime and punishment

Social Relations – Attraction • What is beautiful is good – Essay by attractive author judged better than that by unattractive author – Attractive children judged as having greater intelligence/ academic potential than unattractive children

Does changing behavior change attitudes? Once you behave in a particular way without any obvious external justification, you are likely to internalize the commitment. We internalize commitments made •Publicly •Voluntarily •Repeatedly

Experiment: Festinger & Carlsmith (1959) 1. Subjects perform dull task 2. Experimenter explains how expectations affect performance & we need next subject to believe it will be interesting. Assistant is away. 3. Next “subject” (confederate) says they have heard it is boring 4. Subjects paid $1 or $20

5. Someone else studying reactions to psychology experiments asks how much you enjoyed the task……

Who reported higher enjoyment of knob turning? Paid $1



Cognitive Dissonance

Leon Festinger

“cognitive dissonance”: discrepancy between behavior & beliefs makes us uncomfortable

=> easiest way to reduce discomfort is to change our beliefs to match our already accomplished behavior

Foot in the door technique Experiment Group 1 1.

Group 2

Could you put up a small “drive safely” sign in your window?

Left in peace

---2 weeks pass--2. Could we put up large, unsightly “Drive Safely” billboard in you front yard? 76% say YES

17% say YES

Unification church recruitment 1st Invite people to dinner 2nd Invite them for a weekend retreat 3rd At retreat encourage attendees to join in songs, activities and discussions 4th sign up for longer retreats 5th more arduous tasks (e.g., solicit contributions, recruit others)

By making the members behave as cult members, the best way for the new recruits to make sense of their own behavior is bring their attitudes and beliefs in line with their behavior and identify with the cults.

Jim Jones--Peoples’ Temple Cult

1st monetary offerings voluntary…then 10% income contribution…then 25%…finally, turn over everything!

Also, workloads became progressively demanding Cult member, Grace Stone:, “nothing was ever done drastically. That’s how Jim Jones got away with so much. You slowly gave up things and slowly had to put up with more but it was always done very gradually. It was amazing because you would sit up sometimes and say ‘wow, I have really given up a lot. I am really putting up with a lot’ but he did it so slowly, that you figured ‘I have made it so far, what the hell is the difference’”.

In 1978 in Guyana, Jim Jones’ request REALLY escalated

Jones urged his followers to drink Kool-Aid laced with tranquilizers, pain killers and a lethal dose of cyanide

911 followers killed themselves

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