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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Psychology of Evil COULD ANYONE OF US COMMIT EVIL ACTS? Which factors might play a part why some people harm other people?

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Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Psychology of Evil COULD ANYONE OF US COMMIT EVIL ACTS? Which factors might play a part why some people harm other people?"— Presentation transcript:


2 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Psychology of Evil

3 COULD ANYONE OF US COMMIT EVIL ACTS? Which factors might play a part why some people harm other people?

4 OBEDIENCE – WOULD YOU OBEY? Stanley Milgrams experiments 1960/1962

5 THE RESULTS The result: 2 / 3 of the 40 participants gave the highest electric shocks! The experiment showed that normally nice people with simple means can be made to execute other equally nice people.




9 MODERN TIME A replication of his study-made in the present day: how do people react today?

10 OTHER OBEDIENCE STUDIES Hofling et al. 1966: obedience in American hospitals Bickman 1974 Gender? Nationality? Puppies?

11 TASK Read the study and summarize it into one paragraph (max. 200 words). Your summary should answer: What was the: - aim of the study? - Procedure? -Results?








19 SOLOMON ASCH Solomon Aschs experiment:


21 CONFORMITY – HOW ADJUSTABLE ARE YOU? Handout: Aschs study. Summarize it as the Milgram study but with only 150 words!

22 BYSTANDER-EFFECT – WOULD YOU HELP? Kitty Genovese: Girl being kidnapped in the USA And another…Smoke filled room:

23 HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THE NEED OF HELP? OR SEEN OTHERS BEEN? DID THEY HELP YOU/ YOU HELP THEM? Why do you think nobody helped? What does it take for somebody to help?

24 BYSTANDER EFFECT The tendency to be less likely to help if others are also present Smoke-filled room study (Latané and Darley, 1968) IV: left alone with 2 other real participants with 2 other confederates who pretended nothing was wrong DV: Percentage of participants who reported smoke

25 SMOKE-FILLED ROOM STUDY Percent who report smoke AloneWith 2 other real subjects With 2 calm confederates

26 MORE VIDEOS elated elated

27 SITUATIONAL INFLUENCES: 5 STEPS TO HELPING Step 1: Notice the Event In order to help, you must realize something is happening Often people are distracted and dont even notice (especially in large cities) Step 2: Interpret as Emergency If you see someone lying on the sidewalk, does that mean they need or want help? Pluralistic ignorance can play a role here Others not helping, must not be a problem

28 5 STEPS TO HELPING Step 3: Feel responsible Just because you notice someone in need of help, is that your problem? Diffusion of responsibility plays a role at this step Step 4: Know how to help If someone appears to need medical care and youre not a nurse or doctor, then what? If you cant offer appropriate help, you will likely not try

29 5 STEPS TO HELPING Step 5: Assess costs of helping You see someone in need of help, you feel responsible, you know what to do, but… Could be highly dangerous Could make you financially liable Could embarrass you



32 MORE STUDIES Piliavin et al. – subway in NY (proximity of bystanders and situation may play a role) (next slides) Darley and Latane - the number of bystanders ( discussion over an intercom 2 in the group: 85% helped 3 in the group: 62% 5 other subejcts: 31 %


34 THE SITUATIONAL DETERMINANTS OF HELPING BEHAVIOUR The reaction of others: people look to each other to know how to act The number of bystanders: a diffusion of responsibility occurs when many witnesses are present. More witnesses can actually men less helping! The closeness of bystanders: the closer the more likely to help (face to face vs. over the phone) on the street vs. subway Ambiguity, environmental location and the norms of the society

35 Results/Findings Helping behaviour was very high and much higher than earlier laboratory studies. The cane victim received spontaneous help on 62 out of the 65 trials, and the drunk victim received spontaneous help on 19 out of 38 trials.

36 On 60% of the 81 trials where spontaneous help was given, more than one person offered help. Once one person had started to help, there were no differences for different victim conditions (black/white, cane/drunk) on the number of extra helpers that appeared. The race of the victims made no significant difference to helping behaviour, but there was a slight tendency for same-race helping in the drunken condition.

37 It was found that 90% of helpers were male. Although there were more men present, this percentage was statistically significant. Diffusion of responsibility was not evident. The diffusion of responsibility hypothesis predicts that helping behaviour would decrease as the number of bystanders increases. In fact the field experiment found that the quickest help came from the largest groups.

38 FOR YOU! Since you were so brilliant at acting last time… In groups of 3-4, produce and perform a role-play of either obedience, conformity or bystander-effect. You get 15 minutes to rehearse, then its show time!

39 PRISON STUDY By Zimbardo, Haney and Banks (1973) They wanted to demonstrate the situational rather than the dispositional causes of negative behaviour. Read the study and answer the following questions: Why did they simulate a prison for their experiment? What factors contributed to the studys result?

40 CONCLUSION Philip Zimbardo shows how people become monsters... or heroes "Philip Zimbardo knows how easy it is for nice people to turn bad. In this talk, he shares insights and graphic unseen photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. Then he talks about the flip side: how easy it is to be a hero, and how we can rise to the challenge." Ted Talks do_on_the_psychology_of_evil.html do_on_the_psychology_of_evil.html


42 ASSESSMENT SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: PSYCHOLOGY OF EVIL Essay: Criteria B, C & D 2-3 pages, 1,5 space, size 12, bibliography 1. Pick one historical/current event/crime and summarize the event/outcome. 2. Then analyse that event/outcome/crime to reasons that we have studied for why and how people turn to negative behaviour, to see if one could come to another conclusion today or give an alternative answer to the why.

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