Psychology in Action

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_____Jane is 19 and wants very much to become a commercial artist. She has been offered a scholarship to a good art school, but her parents strongly object to her choice of career. After considerable pressure, she enrolls at the same engineering school that her father attended. _____Bill is 21 and is having serious doubts about his decision to marry Sue. After discussing his concerns with Sue, he realizes how brokenhearted she would be if he cancelled the wedding. He decides to marry her. _____Mary is 20 and a senior in college. She desperately wants to get into a graduate program at a very prestigious school, but she is failing an important class. The instructor has made it clear that she could have an A in his course if she would sexually "cooperate." She agrees. Part II To overcome destructive obedience, John Sabina and Maury Silver (1993) believe that individuals should actively practice confronting authority, they should be taught about the social forces that operate on them, and they should eliminate intellectual illusions that foster nonintellectual obedience. These three suggestions can be usefully applied to the three situations you just rank ordered. 1. Mentally review the situation you ranked as most unethical and carefully rehearse how you could effectively combat a similar form of coercion. What would you say? What could you do? 2. This chapter's discussion on social influence should help to educate you about why people conform, comply, and obey, as well as how to resist such manipulation. For example, can you see how normative social influence, reference groups, and guilt induction played a role in the three situations described above? Can you use the text material to help develop an effective defense? 3. One of the most common intellectual illusions that hinders critical thinking is the belief that "only evil people do evil things" or that "evil announces itself." In Milgram's research the experimenter who ordered the subjects to continue looked and acted like a reasonable person who was simply carrying out a research project. Because he was not seen as personally corrupt and evil, the subject's normal moral "guards" were not alerted. But if we are to think critically about destructive obedience, we must avoid looking at personality and focus instead on the morality of our own and others' acts. In each of the three situations, can you identify the "evil" acts without looking at individual personalities? Now that you have analyzed Jane, Bill, and Mary's situations, think of a current or past situation in your own life where you were unethically persuaded. Applying Sabina and Silver's three suggestions to your own situation can further develop your own autonomous thinking and help you to resist future manipulation. Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 16                                             Page  254
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Critical Thinking Exercise 16.3 - Prejudice On Our Campus Applying Knowledge To New Situations
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