Psychology in Action

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Discuss how crowded conditions affect their behaviors, both positively and negatively. Would more space improve their lives? Use this as a lead-in to the general field of social psychology and how the presence of others affects our individual behavior. 3. Janis (1972) has extensively discussed the role of group-think in business and governmental organizations. Ask the students to prepare a one-page paper on any personal experiences they might have in group problem solving. Have the students be prepared to discuss their examples at the next class meeting. Most will have examples of group-think in action. Use these examples as a lead-in for your lectures on group processes. 4. Ask for a show of hands of those who are prejudiced toward a minority group (hopefully no one will raise a hand). Discuss the overt and covert nature of prejudice. Then ask minority students in your class which they would prefer. Most will answer overt. Discuss the difficulties of studying and reducing prejudice in nations that pride themselves on democratic principles. Use this as a lead-in to prejudice. 5. Ask students to imagine a situation where they would be in desperate need of help. This could be modified to suit your location, for example, in a big city, a mugging; a small town, a heart attack. Have students write down the optimal number of bystanders they think would be necessary to elicit the most help. Now ask for a show of hands for various numbers (10 and above, 5-9, 3-4, 1-2). Most students will vote for the highest numbers. Use their responses as a lead-in for your lectures on altruism. Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 16                                             Page  236
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  L ecture E xtenders 1. - A Community of Individuals This chapter, in dealing with the individual in society, looks at the processes of conformity and obedience. These have been the aspects most emphasized since the 1960's when individualism became a high priority in this country. Others have looked at the interaction between society and the individual and have seen it as an equal-exchange situation: the individual gives up something, but gets back something in return. Surprisingly, one of the best known "philosophers" on this subject, Dr. Sigmund Freud, was the one who voiced this opinion. The material below deals with Freud's ideas on the nature of this "deal" and is based upon his book, Civilization and its Discontents (1930/1961). Freud has often been called "anti-society" since he viewed society as responsible for individuals' neuroses; however, he was quite the opposite. While he did agree that neuroses were experienced by some who could not tolerate instinctual frustrations (aggressive and sexual), he felt that there was no alternative. Civilization, by its very nature, has to put restrictions on the ways in which instincts can be satisfied. Freud said all civilizations have to satisfy two basic functions: to protect man from nature and to regulate the relationships among individuals within society.
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