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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - First social psychology study: group influence and “mere presence” of others - Triplett (1898) discovered the “social facilitation effect” o Bikers bike faster if others are on the track o Fishing reels experiment Faster in groups than individually - Pessin found “social inhibition” – essay writing task people were slower in others’ presence - How can both be true? - Zajonc gave a “drive” explanation that accounts for both effects o The presence of others increases physiological arousal Arousal facilitates the dominant response If easy or well-practiced task facilitation If hard or new task inhibition The shoes and coat study - Even bugs are influenced Cockroach stadium study How else does the presence of others affect us? - Conformity – yielding to real or imagined social pressure - Asch’s line length study, 1 participant, 5 confederates, when confederates gave wrong answer, 76% of participants conformed on at least 1 trial (dropped if answers weren’t aloud) What affects conformity? - Normative influence – we want to be liked, will do what it takes to get along - Informational influence – if ambiguous situation, look to others - Cohesiveness – liking for a group increases conformity – normative - Group size – up to 3-4 increasing numbers increases conformity - Support – even one ally reduces conformity o Even if ally is *incompetent* (“legally blind” ally) o Even if has different view Different reasons for conforming - Normative influence - we want to be liked, Asch’s conformity and line length study - Informational influence – we want to be right, when situation is ambiguous, we look to others for right answer. Sherif’s autokinetic effect study o Sherif’s autokinetic effect – group of participants would converge on how the light was “moving” – carried this belief into a new group – so clearly believed group estimate was true A paradigm shift: Milgram’s studies - OK-fine so people are influenced by others for minor perceptions and behaviors (like biking faster, line length, light estimates) - But surely, they would never be influenced on something important, something against their values! - Stanley Milgram – like many other psychologists – he tried to explain the behavior of the Germans in WW2
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o Everyone was focused upon personality features (e.g., the authoritarian personality, German parenting styles, etc.) o Milgram focused on the power of the social situation o Yale “teacher/learner” studies “shocking” confederates – community sample - When asked to predict what percentage of people would go all the way to the end? Regular audience – less than 5% will go all the way Clinical psychologists – around 1-3% will go all the way o 65% of people went all the way to the end Power of the situation, paradigm shift in psychology Most ethically controversial study in psychology (beginning of IRB) o Participants were not callous to the pain of the other
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course PSYCH 110 taught by Professor Finkel during the Spring '08 term at Northwestern.

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