2008-03-03 - Social Psychology The Power of the Group...

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Unformatted text preview: Social Psychology The Power of the Group Announcements Exam #2 will take place on Wed, Mar. 19th Covering Chapters 6-9 Peer mentoring help is available! Review sessions are held every Monday & Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30pm in OM 297 Kutztown Research Conference Monday, Mar. 24th McFarland SUB 218 Multipurpose Room Poster session: 3pm 5pm Keynote speaker: 5pm 6pm Dr. Peter Langman, Director of Psychology at KidsPeace "Pathways to Rampage: The Psychology of School Shooters" Social Facilitation and Interference The presence of others can help or hurt our ability: For simple tasks, the presence of others tends to improve our ability, compared to our performance on the same task done alone Social facilitation However, when tasks are difficult, the presence of others tends to impair performance Social interference Examples Can you think of any personal examples of when your apparent level of ability changed due to the presence of other people? Did you perform better (social facilitation) or worse (social interference)? Altruism The presence of others also influences the likelihood of our behaving altruistically Altruism Acting in a way that demonstrates unselfish concern for the welfare of others If someone needs our help, and there is no one else around but us, we are likely to help So, Why Did No One Help Kitty Genovese? We return to the question from the start of last class... Why did not one of the 38 people who heard Kitty Genovese being assaulted come to her aid? What leads some individuals to not act in an altruistic fashion in some situations? The Bystander Effect: Kitty Genovese Revisited Powerful phenomenon of reluctance to help someone when others are present The greater the number of people present, the less likely it becomes that any single person will help Kitty Genovese was a victim of the Bystander Effect At least 38 "bystanders" were present in her apt. building and nearby Diffusion of Responsibility Thoughts like these reflect a diffusion of responsibility The belief that other people (perhaps more able/qualified individuals) will help, or are helping Reduces the experience of feeling personal responsibility Diffusion of Responsibility Perhaps the people in Kitty Genovese's building had the following thoughts: "Someone else will help." "I don't know what to do... I'm sure that someone who knows what to do will help her." "She's screaming so loudly, someone else MUST have called the police already. So I don't have to." Take Home Message If you observe someone in need: Don't assume that someone else is helping. Chances are, the bystander effect has kicked in, and other people are engaging in faulty assumptions about the situation. Instead, do something. Anything. There is no such thing as too much help. The Power of the Group One of social psychology's most important contributions to our understanding of human behavior When in groups, people act much differently than when alone Behavior Decision making Social Loafing The tendency for individuals to exert less personal effort on a task when working in a group Results from diffusion of responsibility "Many hands make light work" "The project doesn't depend greatly on my individual contribution; therefore, I don't have to work as hard" Deindividuation The loss of our sense of individuality Getting caught up in the "mob mentality"; extreme diffusion of responsibility We feel less personal accountability for our actions Leads some to believe they can "get away" with certain behaviors that they wouldn't attempt if alone What Would You Do? If you had the ability to become *completely invisible* for one day, what would you do? Take out a piece of paper and write down one thing you would do during your time of invisibility Prediction Before we look at some of the activities you wrote down, let's try to predict what most people wrote down What kinds of things do you think most people wrote down? Why? Are these behaviors that most people would participate in while visible? Some Predictions Rob a bank Spy on my friends / family members / significant other Find out what people really think of me Sneak into someplace hidden (e.x. Area 51) Why are so many of the responses antisocial? Invisibility & Deindividuation Invisibility represents the ultimate form of deindividuation There is no way for my actions to be connected to me I am completely anonymous Removal of motivation to follow social rules and norms Which of the lines is closest to the line on the left? Write down your choice, but don't show your answer to anyone else This morning, I asked 30 members of my personality psych. class the same question Asked to look at the lines Stated their answer, out loud, one at a time Here were the results of the responses to this task: A: B: C: 22 6 2 What Happened? Why did the members of my personality class overwhelmingly select an obviously incorrect answer? What factors may have influenced their decision? The role of the situation Conformity I was attempting to replicate a famous experiment on conformity When our thoughts, feelings and behaviors begin to move toward a group "norm" Standard of expected behavior Asch's Conformity Study Participants seated in a room with a group of confederates (fake participants) Asked to evaluate a series of lines, and determine which line was closest in length Confederates were instructed to all pick the same incorrect line, before the participant made their choice Creation of a Norm By stating the obviously incorrect choice first, the confederates created a situational norm 7 individuals have all given the same (apparently incorrect) answer before you are asked to respond Social pressure to conform I don't want to stand out; what if I am wrong? Maybe they see something that I do not. Asch's Conformity Study Conformity was operationalized as going along with the group Selecting the obviously incorrect answer made by the group Asch found that conformity occurred at least once in 75% of experimental trials Factors Influencing Conformity The number of confederates As the number of confederates increased (from 2 to 3 to 4), conformity increased However, increasing to more than 4 confederates did not further increase conformity Presence of a dissenting opinion If at least one of the confederates disagreed with the group, then the participant was less likely to conform to the group Factors Influencing Conformity In-group vs. Out-group The similarity of the group of confederates to the participant A college student participant would be more likely to conform to a group of college-aged confederates, than with a group of middleaged confederates What other factors do you think might influence conformity? The Elevator Game One common social experience we all share is riding in elevators Try to identify the situational norms for behavior surrounding elevator use Situation #1 You walk up to the elevator buttons, only to find that the button for your floor has already been pressed by someone else. Would you re-press the button? Why or why not? What attributions would you make for someone who presses the button again? Situation #2 You are alone in the elevator, and the doors are about to close. Would you press the "hold door open" button in this situation? Why or why not? What if there were 3 strangers in the elevator with you? Situation #3 You are entering an empty elevator. Once inside, where do you stand? In the middle? Toward the back? Right in the front, by the doors? What if there is one person in the elevator, standing at the rear? Where do you stand? Situation #4 If you have the choice, would you stand next to the elevator buttons? What are the situational expectations for people who stand next to the buttons? Situation #5 If you find yourself in an elevator with a stranger, would you talk to this person after the doors close? If you are with someone else in a crowded elevator, would you continue your conversation during the elevator ride? Why or why not? The Power of the Situation The situation provides powerful cues for behavior Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Expected behaviors vs. Unexpected Violation of these norms produces discomfort, unease Evaluation of our own behavior (Negative) attributions we make about others Obedience What happens when conformity happens in response to the requests of an authority figure? What factors influence conformity to a request by an authority figure to do something we are uncomfortable with, or something unethical? The Milgram study of obedience Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience & Authority Subjects were told they were participating in a study of the effect of punishment on learning The subject was seated at a console, and told that they would be serving as the role of the "teacher" Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience & Authority Another participant (in reality, a confederate) would be serving as the "learner" The "learner" task was to recall a list of word pairs; for each mistake made, the "teacher" was told to administer an electric shock No actual shocks were given Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience & Authority The console had switches for shocks ranging from 15 volts to 450 volts (marked as "DANGEROUS! XX") With each successive mistake by the "learner," the voltage of the shock was to increase by 15 volts Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience & Authority At 150 volts, the "learner" began protesting, and yelling about a heart condition At 300 volts, the learner began to emit painful screams At 350 volts and higher, the learner went silent Stanley Milgram's Experiment on Obedience & Authority The experimenter was instructed to: Always remind the subject that they must continue (despite the protesting from the learner) Tell the subject that the experimenter would take full responsibility for the outcome Question: How much would the subjects conform? Would subjects stop? When would they stop? What About You? How would you behave in this situation? Would you stop when the person in the other room began screaming? What percentage of people in Milgram's study do you believe stopped delivering shocks? Expectations Milgram believed that most subjects would stop at the first sign of protest from the "learners" He believed almost no one would go past 300 volts, and that no participants would go all the way to 450 volts Milgram's Results In actuality, almost 65% of subjects went all the way to 450 volts! Not one of the teachers stopped before reaching 300 volts Obedience & Roles Again, we see the power of the situation taking hold Milgram: If the situation is powerful, and our personal responsibility reduced, we are capable of obedience to surprising requests The Stanford Prison Experiment Another classic example of the power of the situation How does involvement in a vivid, powerful situation (a simulated prison environment) influence behavior? Video Discovering Psychology The Power of the Situation Host: Dr. Philip Zimbardo Social psychologist Principle researcher behind the Stanford Prison experiment Implications The power of the situation can be extremely strong The participants in Milgram's & Zimbardo's studies were not sadistic, uncompassionate individuals However, the presence of an authority figure, and the removal of personal responsibility significantly increased conformity/obedience Even to a unethical request! ...
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