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Social Psychology

Estimated Lesson Time: 7 hours (self-evaluated option) / 11 hours (instructor-evaluated option)

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Lesson Introduction

Social psychology is the study of humans as social animals, that is the way that we influence one anothers’ behavior and thinking. We begin our discussion of this subject by looking at how others’ influence our behavior by examining three types of social influence: conformity, compliance, and obedience. We then look at how we think about behavior, both our own and that of others. All of this is put into a real life context by looking at two historical events, the murder of Kitty Genovese and the Jonestown massacre.

This is a two-week lesson - twice as much content as the other weeks.

Lesson To Do List

Proceed to each section below. Click on the header bar to expand the section and follow the instructions in that section. Once complete, click on each item that you have completed.

Read Griggs, Chapter 9
Read Lilienfeld, Myth #27, #28, #29, #30
Watch the lesson presentation
Watch the videos (these are NOT optional - important part of the lesson)
Read about any three experiments at the wonderful website http://www.sociallypsyched.org
Match the terms and definitions
Review the discussion questions
Do the lesson assignments
Take the quiz

Lesson Presentation (01:19:02)

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Click To Begin Presentation (01:19:02)

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Lesson Videos

To Do: Watch all of the videos not marked optional. Click to clear watched video status.

You have watched all of the required videos! Click to clear watched video status.

Asch Conformity Experiment (00:04:11)

I am forced to put aomething here! It won't let me upload if I don't. So that is another way of getting conformity, through force!

The Dangerous Devotion to Cults Documentary (01:56:04)

documentaries documentary documentaries 2014 youtube documentaries documentaries online documentaries discovery channel documentary films online documentarie.

The bystander effect is complicated -- here's why | Ken Brown | TEDxUIowa (00:16:48)

Ken shares the implications of 'the bystander effect' for communities and individuals, including how to get help if you need it, but also how major movements begin and create change.

A Lesson In Cognitive Dissonance (00:04:55)

Dr, Philip Zimbardo walks us though a lesson in Cognitive Dissonance. Dr. Leon Festinger's theory shows us the precursor to Justification of Effort.

Feature Film - The Stanford Prison Experiment (Documentary) (00:29:01)

In the 1970's there was a test done where the people were told they were either prison guards or prisoners.
This is that story and how it came to be.
A study in Psychosis.

BBC The Experiment - Prison Study - Podcast from Open University website (00:11:45)

An important study in human behavior, used in psychology lessons around the world.

This was party funded by the UK TV Licence payers (myself included). I'm disgusted that this series isn't available to watch somewhere on the internet. At the very least, the BBC should put it on the iplayer, or repeat the series on one of their channels.

This is all the video I could find on The Experiment, apart from the trailer for the series, which someone was nice enough to upload.

Lesson Podcast

Lesson Terms and Definitions

To Do: Match the correct terms with the definition.

The scientific study of how we influence one another’s behavior and thinking.
Compliance to a costly request is gained by first getting compliance to an attractive, less costly request but then reneging on it.
The loss of self-awareness and self-restraint in a group situation that fosters arousal and anonymity.
Following the commands of a person in authority.
The tendency to underestimate the commonality of one’s abilities and successful behaviors.
Information gathered early is weighted more heavily than information gathered later in forming an impression of another person.
The probability of a person’s helping in an emergency is greater when there are no other bystanders than when there are other bystanders.
The tendency to make attributions so that one can perceive oneself favorably.
A theory developed by Leon Festinger that assumes people have a tendency to change their attitudes to reduce the cognitive discomfort created by inconsistencies between their attitudes and their behavior.
The tendency to overestimate the commonality of one’s opinions and unsuccessful behaviors.
A theory developed by Daryl Bem that assumes that when we are unsure of our attitudes, we infer them by examining our behavior and the context in which it occurs.
Evaluative reactions (positive or negative) toward objects, events, and other people.
The process by which we explain our own behavior and that of others.
Compliance to a large request is gained by preceding it with a very small request.
A change in behavior, belief, or both to conform to a group norm as a result of real or imagined group pressure.
Influence stemming from the need for information in situations in which the correct action or judgment is uncertain.
The tendency as an observer to overestimate dispositional influences and underestimate situational influences on others’ behavior.
Acting in accordance with a direct request from another person or group.
A mode of group thinking that impairs decision making, because the desire for group harmony overrides a realistic appraisal of the possible decision alternatives.
The assumption that the world is just and that people get what they deserve.
Compliance is gained by starting with a large, unreasonable request that is turned down and following it with a more reasonable, smaller request.
Compliance to a planned second request with additional benefits is gained by presenting this request before a response can be made to a first request.
The tendency to exert less effort when working in a group toward a common goal than when individually working toward the goal.
Facilitation of a dominant response on a task due to social arousal, leading to improved performance on simple or well-learned tasks and worse performance on complex or unlearned tasks when other people are present.
The lessening of individual responsibility for a task when responsibility for the task is spread across the members of a group.
The strengthening of a group’s prevailing opinion about a topic following group discussion about the topic.
Influence stemming from our desire to gain the approval and to avoid the disapproval of others.
The tendency to overestimate situational influences on our own behavior, but to overestimate dispositional influences on the behavior of others.
Our behavior leads a person to act in accordance with our expectations for that person.

Lesson Discussion Questions

What are some of the reasons you think that people did not help Kitty Genovese?
When do you think it is acceptable to use social influence on others? When is it not acceptable?
How and under what circumstances can conformity be a good thing?
Explain the difference between normative and informational social influence.
What's the difference between compliance and conformity?
Pick one of the discussed persuasion techniques in this chapter, and explain how a car salesperson might use it when attempting to sell a car to a prospect.
What did we learn from the Milgram experiments?
What did we learn from the “Astroten” study?
Explain, using concepts from this chapter, how one can get sucked into a cult.
What social function do the hoods of KKK members serve?
How might group polarization lead to unfair verdicts in trials by jury?
Do people get what they deserve in life? Why or why not?
Why do you think many people like to believe in the concept of perfect justice either in this life or a believed afterlife?
How do your self-fulfilling prophecies result in different behavior of other people with whom you interact?
Provide an example of cognitive dissonance from your own experience.
What did the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about "evil"?
Do opposites attract? Why or why not?
Is there’s safety in numbers?
Do men and women communicate in completely different ways?
Is it better to express anger to others than to hold It in?

Lesson Assignments

Assignment #1:

This assignment is for students with the instructor-evaluated course option.

Choose any 3 (three) of the key terms in Chapter 9, describe them, and explain how understanding them can help you in life. Relate them to either a personal situation or in your profession. Use examples. One page.
Assignment #2:

This assignment is for students with the instructor-evaluated course option.

Choose any social psychology experiment (use Google to find one) and following the format at https://www.dowellwebtools.com/tools/lp/Bo/psyched/11/Milgram-s-Obedience-to-Authority, present the following:

1) Main Findings
2) Summary
3) Results
4) Criticisms
5) Applied Ideas

Do NOT use an experiment/study already listed on sociallypsyched.org. Should be about 2 pages.
Assignment #3Answer one of the following question found in the "Lesson Discussion Questions" section using the discussion section below, and respond to/comment on at least one student's post. Comment on a post that has no comments yet, if possible.

Instructor Feedback on Assignments

This is where the instructor would leave personalized feedback on the assignments for students with the instructor-evaluated course option.

Lesson Quiz

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    From the Course:
    Introduction To Psychology
    Bo Bennett, PhD
    Social Scientist, Business Consultant
    (1 ratings)
    Academics : Social Science
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    Lesson Progress

    Lessons greyed out are for enrolled students only.

    #2: The Science of Psychology
    #3: Neuroscience
    #4: Sensation and Perception
    #7: Cognitive Biases
    #8: Thinking and Intelligence
    #9: Developmental Psychology
    #10: Personality Theories and Assessment
    #12: Abnormal Psychology
    #13: Course Summary and Final Assignment
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    Lesson Quiz

    Be sure to click the "Submit Quiz Answers" at the end of the quiz to save and submit your quiz answers. Select the best answer.

    1) The conformity demonstrated in Sherif’s study using the autokinetic effect stems from ______.
    a) actor-observer bias
    b) self-serving bias
    c) informational social influence
    d) normative social influence
    2) Which of the following factors increases conformity?
    a) group is not unanimous
    b) responding secretly
    c) correct action is not clear
    d) being of higher status than other group members
    3) Which of the following compliance techniques involves gaining compliance to a much larger request by preceding it with a much smaller request?
    a) that’s-not-all technique
    b) door-in-the-face technique
    c) low-ball technique
    d) foot-in-the-door technique
    4) Which of the following situational factors in Milgram’s shock experiments led to the highest maximum obedience rate?
    a) experiment conducted in a rundown office building
    b) two co-teachers disobey experimenter
    c) experimenter not present
    d) teacher has to force learner’s hand onto shock plate
    5) ______ is the strengthening of a group’s prevailing opinion on a topic following group discussion of the topic.
    a) Deindividuation
    b) Group polarization
    c) Groupthink
    d) Social facilitation
    6) When committing the fundamental attribution error, we tend to ______ the influence of dispositional factors and ______ the influence of situational factors.
    a) overestimate; overestimate
    b) overestimate; underestimate
    c) underestimate; overestimate
    d) underestimate; underestimate
    7) With the self-serving bias, we tend to make ______ attributions for our failures and ______ attributions for our successes.
    a) dispositional; dispositional
    b) dispositional; situational
    c) situational; dispositional
    d) situational; situational
    8) Which two compliance techniques involve the rule of reciprocity?
    a) foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face
    b) low-ball and that’s-not-all
    c) foot-in-the-door and low-ball
    d) door-in-the-face and that’s-not-all
    9) The bystander effect refers to the finding that an observer of an emergency is less likely to help if the ______.
    a) emergency takes place in a big city
    b) emergency is being observed by other people
    c) observer has just endured a frustrating experience
    d) observer has been exposed to many similar emergencies in the past
    10) When our expectations of a person elicit behavior from that person that confirms our expectations, this is a case of ______.
    a) self-serving bias
    b) actor-observer bias
    c) deindividuation
    d) self-fulfilling prophecy
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