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Chapter 15: Social Psychology Dr. Mary Streit Suffolk Community College.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 15: Social Psychology Dr. Mary Streit Suffolk Community College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 15: Social Psychology Dr. Mary Streit Suffolk Community College

2 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology How do most people think, act, and feel in the presence of others? Focus here is on normal behavior or the average individual Social psychologists emphasize the power of the situation on behavior Directly opposing the beliefs of personality psychologists

3 Chapter 15 – Social How We Think About Others. Attributions: our explanations for Why? another person behaves or acts a certain way Two types of attributions: 1. Internal: it was something about the person. Part of their personality, something within them. 2. External: it was something about the situation or context. Not due to the individuals personality! Something outside the person.

4 Social Fundamental Attribution Error: the tendency to automatically make an internal attribution for another persons behavior, and not adjust our thinking enough to account for external factors. Most of us automatically think like a personality psychologist and make internal attributions for other peoples behavior.

5 For example: If a brand new red Corvette cuts you off on the LIE and zips way ahead of you at about 90mph even though you are keeping up with traffic [in the middle lane], what do you automatically think about that person? Why did they do that? Would it make a difference if the car was a 1985 Chevy Chevette? [OK, think hypothetically here!] For example: If a brand new red Corvette cuts you off on the LIE and zips way ahead of you at about 90mph even though you are keeping up with traffic [in the middle lane], what do you automatically think about that person? Why did they do that? Would it make a difference if the car was a 1985 Chevy Chevette? [OK, think hypothetically here!]

6 Social Psychology What if I told you that the guy who cut you off doing 90mph was racing to the hospital because his wife was in labor with their first child?? Did anyone even wonder if he might have had a good reason for going so fast? Is he still an &*(%#!?

7 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology The Bystander Effect. The Case of Kitty Genovese At approximately 3:20 on the morning of March 13, 1964, twenty- eight-year-old Kitty Genovese was returning to her home in a nice middle-class area of Queens, NY, from her job as a bar manager. She parked her red Fiat in a nearby parking lot, turned-off the lights and started the walk to her second floor apartment on Austin St. some 35 yards away. She got as far as a streetlight when a man grabbed her. She screamed. Lights went on in the 10-floor apartment building nearby. She yelled, Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Windows opened in the apartment building and a mans voice shouted, Let that girl alone. The attacker looked up, shrugged and walked-off down the street. Ms Genovese struggled to get to her feet.

8 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Lights went back off in the apartments. The attacker came back and stabbed her again. She again cried out, Im dying! Im dying! And again the lights came on and windows opened in many of the nearby apartments. The assailant again left and got into his car and drove away. Ms Genovese staggered to her feet as a city bus drove by. It was now 3:35 a.m. The attacker returned once again. He found her in a doorway at the foot of the stairs and he stabbed her a third time--this time with a fatal consequence. It was 3:50 when the police received the first call. They responded quickly and within two minutes were at the scene. Ms Genovese was already dead. The only person to call, a neighbor of Ms Genovese, revealed that he had phoned only after much thought and an earlier phone call to a friend. He said, I didnt want to get involved.

9 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology 38 people witnessed the attack against Kitty The attack lasted for almost 45 minutes Why didnt anyone call the police or try to help her? The bystander effect: the more people that are present during an emergency or crisis situation, the less likely it is that someone will help due to diffusion of responsibility. Diffusion of responsibility: this phenomenon occurs when an individual knows that others are present in a crisis situation, and therefore they do not feel solely responsible for intervening. They make the assumption that someone else must be taking care of the crisis. In the case of Kitty Genovese witnesses reported thinking surely someone must have done something by now.

10 Chapter 15 – Social Apply your learning. If your car breaks down, where do you think you would be more likely to get help? 1. on the LIE during rush - or - 2. on route 12 in NY where you might not see another car for several hours at a time. The bystander effect illustrates why common sense and psychology do not often go hand in hand.

11 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology The Milgram Studies: Obedience to Authority. During the Nuremberg trials after WWII, Herman Eichmann, a high ranking official of the Nazi Party, was on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The questions is, "Could it be that Eichmann, was just following orders?" Are individuals responsible for their actions during a time of war if they were following orders? Thoughts??

12 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Stanley Milgram performed a series of studies on the Obedience to Authority to answer this exact question. Milgram's experiments on which his initial research was based were conducted at Yale from 1961-1962. Milgram's experiments on which his initial research was based were conducted at Yale from 1961-1962.

13 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Subjects were misled or deception was used. They were led to believe they were randomly assigned to be the teacher when in fact this was rigged. The other participant in the study was actually another researcher. This researcher was aware of the study but pretended to be just another student. This type of participant is often referred to as a confederate in actual studies. Subjects were misled to believe they would be giving a shock to the learner everytime the learner got a question wrong. This shock would increase in intensity every time the learner got a question wrong. [watch video]

14 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Many of the ethical guidelines for research in psychology exist today as a result of the Milgram studies. Results: Shockingly, Milgram found that nearly 66% of all subjects finished the entire experiment and gave the learner near lethal shocks at the command of the experimenter. When Milgram was asked if anyone ever got up to go and check on the learner, he replied Not one, not ever.

15 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Are we accountable for the morality of our actions? Does it depend upon the situation, or it is a moral imperative as Kant described? What about the officers at Abu Gharib? The McDonald employees? Is authority always right? 9/11: Morgan Stanley – Ray Rescorla. A hero. Because he did NOT obey authority 2700 lives were saved.

16 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology In 2001, Richard Rescorla was a retired Army Reserve colonel and the head of security for Morgan Stanley's Individual Investor Group at the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, Rescorla found himself leading a massive evacuation of Morgan Stanley's 2,700-person workforce which occupied floors 44 through 74 of the South tower. As soon as the first plane hit the North tower, Rescorla sprang into action. He ignored the admonition of Port Authority security officials to stay put. A co- worker shot the now-famous photograph (below) of Rescorla commanding his troops with a bullhorn. Employees marched two-by-two down the stairwells. Rescorla sang patriotic songs to keep them calm. "Today is a proud day to be an American," he is said to have told co-workers.

17 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology Most of Morgan Stanley's employees were safely out of the building by the time the second plane hit the South tower. And incredibly all but six of Morgan Stanley's 2700 workers survived. Richard Rescorla was one of the lost six. He was last seen walking back up the stairs, in search of stragglers.

18 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology The Stanford Prisoner Studies (Phillip Zimbardo). What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions that were posed in the dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University (http://www.prisonexp.org). http://www.prisonexp.org

19 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology The planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, the guards became sadistic and the prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress. [see video]

20 Chapter 15 – Social Psychology What did we learn from the Stanford Prison studies? 1. The power the situation has on our behavior. 2. The power of a social role on both our own behavior and the behavior of others. Definition of social role: The characteristic and expected behavior of an individual in a particular situation.

21 Chapter 15 - Review 1. Findings of the Milgram studies 2. Findings of the Zimbardo prison studies a. Nearly 50% of all subjects obeyed the experimenter to the end b. About 66% of all subjects obeyed the experimenter to the end c. None of the subjects obeyed the experimenter until the end d. The prisoners and guards behaved normally for the entire 2 week period e. The prisoners were fine but the guards became very cruel and mean f. The prisoners became very stressed and depressed while the guards became extremely cruel and abusive

22 Chapter 15 - Review 1. Internal attribution 2. External attribution 3. Fundamental attribution error 4. Confederate 5. Social role 6. Deception 7. Bystander effect 8. Diffusion of responsibility a. The feeling of being less personally responsible to help another person in a crisis situation due to the presence of others b. When many people witness a crisis and no one helps c. When a subject is misled or lied to in a research study d. A researcher who pretends to be just another subject

23 Chapter 15 – Review 1. Internal attribution 2. External attribution 3. Fundamental attribution error 4. Confederate 5. Social role 6. Deception 7. Bystander effect 8. Diffusion of responsibility a. When you see the cause of another persons behavior as being due to their personality. b. When you see the cause of another persons behavior as being due to the situation. c. The characteristic and expected behavior of an individual in a particular situation. d. When you automatically make an internal attribution for anothers behavior and do not adjust enough for any situational factors.


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