Reicher and Haslam

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  • Created on: 09-03-13 14:55
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Reicher and Haslam (2006)
a. To provide data on the unfolding interactions between groups of unequal power and privilege.
b. To analyse the conditions that lead individuals to (i) identify with their group; (ii) accept or
challenge intergroup inequalities.
c. To examine the role of social, organizational and clinical factors in group behavior.
d. To develop practical and ethical guidelines for examining social psychological issues in
large-scale studies.
Information on the experiment
The study was a laboratory experiment designed to create a society in which the participants would live
for 10 days.
It was a repeated-measures design because the same participants were used for each of the
independent variables.
The sample was self-selecting ­ responded by adverts and leaflets.
Participants were matched on personality variables.
15 males (selected from an original pool of 332 who responded to adverts in national press and
Screening process to ensure that only well-adjusted and pro-social participants were included.
Conducted in three stages;
Psychometric tests to assess a range of social and clinical variables
Full weekend assessment by independent clinical psychologists
Medical and character references and police checks
Final choice was made to ensure a diversity of age, social class and ethnic background
Final 15 allocated into 5 groups of three closely matched on personality variables
One of each group randomly selected to be a guard and the other two to be prisoners
Nine prisoners and five guards at the start of the study
The 10th prisoner was added later

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Introduction process ­ Guards:
Invited to hotel the evening before the study started
Told they would be guards
Given prison timetable
Told their responsibility was to ensure that the institution ran smoothly
Asked to draw up a series of punishments for prisoner rule violation
Given uniform: formal trousers, shirt and tie
Introduction process ­ Prisoners:
Nine prisoners arrived individually
Heads shaved and given uniform: t-shirt with number, loose trousers and sandals
Given list of prison rules and prisoners' rights
Independent Variables
Day 3: told…read more

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Some lost faith with this and a number of former guards and prisoners decided to become the
new guards ­ asked for black berets and dark glasses to symbolize their desired authoritarian
Remainder did nothing to defend commune ­ lack of individual and collective will
For ethical reasons the study was terminated on Day 8
Data Gathered
There was a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data
Collected via a range of techniques including observation, psychometric testing and physiological
The study is compared…read more

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Findings…read more


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