13.1 situattional influences on behaviour Flashcards Preview

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social psychology

how other ppl influence what we think, feel, and do
we must be aware that our thoughts feelings and actions are often determined by other ppl


we would like to assume that others could never influence us to cause harm to others or do anything that would violate our ethics

there are decent people that can be influenced to engage in hurtful actions towards other ppl


situational factors that influences the abuse of prisoners at abu ghraib

1. by definition, prisoners have a lower status than the ppl guarding them and they are presumably there as punishment for doing something wrong
2. there was very little supervision of gaurds behaviour
3. a number of the americans working within the prison were not members of the military, so they were not as accountable to higher level authorities
4. the use of the prison occurred in the context of a ware in which US soldiers were overstressed, overworked, and considered their lived to be in danger from Iraqi citizens
5. cultural and language diffs bw guards and prisoners encourages racist attitudes and Us vs them thinking
6. higher level authorities frequently changed the rules about what were acceptable limits when interrogating prisoners and pressured personnel inside the prison to used aggressive means to get info from detainees


kurt lewin

behaviour is a function of the person and the environment



we have an unconscious tendency to engages in actions, emotional reactions and facial expressions that we observed in other people
this tendency allows for transmitting cultural practices and skills from one generation to the next
it also enables us to work cooperatively to achieve goals that we could not accomplish on our own.


the chameleon effect

our genetic disposition to unconsciously copy other ppls actions so that we can establish a comfortable rhythm with them and so we can appear more attractive to ppl that we like and want to get to know better


conformity pressure

engaging in behaviour bc of the actions, encouragement, or insistence of others
social norms combine with conformity pressure to encourage certain behaviours and discourage others
Usually thats a good thing but sometimes these pressures can also result in destruction and violence


group dynamics

the ways in which members of a group can influence the behaviour of other members
-social loafing-
ppl often work less diligently when they are part of a group than when they are on their own.


how to minimize social loafing

1 avoid low efficacy beliefs (the belief by members of the group that they are not capable of reaching their goal)
2 ensure that all group members view each others contributions as valuable
3 ensure that all group members place high value on the outcome of the project
4 ensure that all group members are putting in a strong effort and that they know how hard all of the other members are working


social facilitation

ppl tend to work harder at a task when they are in the presence of other ppl who are performing the same task
although the presnce others can enhance the performance of simple tasks it can make accomplishing complex tasks even more difficult


arousal determines whether the presence of others improves our performance or makes it worse

If the task is simple for us, higher arousal will keep us motivated and we will do better
if the task is difficult higher arousal will drain our energy and distract us


one would think that multiple heads would be better than one , when it comes to creative thinking and generating ideas




the tendency for groups to discourage a variety of opinions and ideas


negative consequences of groupthink

1. group members fail to identify problems or negative aspects of ideas that other influential members have presented
2. members of a group may pressure those who are uncertain, because the group comes to value agreement over the quality of their plans/actions
3 overconfidence in the groups decisions/actions and delusions that the group is not capable of error


groupthink is particularly likely when

the group is led y an individual who develops their own plans and beliefs and then discourages disagreement and alternative ideas


groupthink is less likely to occur when

a group is diverse enough to ensure that a variety of viewpoints will be represented


soloman asch

aschs conformity experiment
participants sat at a table with some number of other people, who presented themselves as participants in the study, but were actually confederates hired by the researcher
the group seated at the table viewed an image of three lines and their job was to select which of the three lines matched the length of another standard line
this task is easy and participants get 100% of the trials correct when they do the task on their own
however, when asch had confederates give the same wrong answers before the participants gave their judgment, 75% of participants gave the wrong answer on at least one trial
each time confederates provided the wrong answer about 1/3 of the participants provided the same wrong answer


conformity arising from a normative influence

when an individual experiences pressure to conform to the perspective of other in order to be socially accepted by them


conformity arising from an informational influence

when pressure to conform causes an individual to personally adopt the same beliefs and values expressed by a group of other ppl


conformity is strongest when there are more ppl applying conformity pressure

in aschs study, conformity was low when only 1-2 confederates provided the same wrong answer, but was high when 3 plus provided the same wrong answer


other factors that increase the strength of conformity pressure

1 the presence of high number of female members in a group
2 when the group pressuring conformity consists of close members of an individual's family, their friends, or other familiar ppl
3 when there is uncertainty about the task that the group is meant to perform
4 when ppl are required to express their ideas to the group in a public way


the bystander effect

the more ppl available to help someone in distress will actually reduce the change that anyone will intervene to help


kitty genovese

murderd in public and no one called the police


diffusion of responsibility

when there is more than one person who could help, no single person feels responsible for provided assistance
in a study in which participants thought someone in the next room was having a seizure, participants took longer to respond to the extent that they thought there were more other ppl available to help


pluralistic ignorance

when the public reaction of everyone in the group conflicts with the private beliefs of individuals within the group
as when nobody informed the emperor that his clothes were invisible
a study in which participants were placed in a room to fill out questionnaires, smoke started billowing into the room from a vent
when participants were alone, 75% of them investigated the smoke within 6 min
when participants share the room with two unconcerned confederates, only 10% of them investigated the smoke within 6 min


our social roles

also profoundly constrain our behaviours
and some social roles set the stage for normal people to engage in violent or abusive behaviour


phillip zimbardo

police publicly arrested the 9 participants randomly chosen to be prisoners
they were taken to the prison where they were finger printed and placed in a jail cell
later prisoners were blindfolded and taken to a simulated prison in the based of Stanford's psychology dept
they were striped and de loused with a disinfectant spray
they were presented with a prison smock and nylon stocking for their heads they wore a chain around their ankles and from that point on they were referred to only by their ID number
guards were provided with uniforms and they were told that they were responsible for the daily lives of the prisoners
by the first morning, prisoners rebelled, taking the nylons off their heads and barricading themselves in their cells, guards forcibly asserted their authority by using force, less than three days into the experiment, one prisoner had to be removed from the study. punishments for trivial infractions ranged from degrading to painful. meant to last two weeks, the study was terminated after only 6 days

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