Psychology Unit two studies

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Asch (Social Influence)


Aim: To see if people can be influenced by other peoples' opinion when they knew to be wrong.

Method: Participants were shown a set of four lines one being a test line and had to say which line was the same size as the test line. (A,B or C) They were first tested alone and then tested with a group (all confederates apart from the one participant) the rest of the group was instructed to give incorrect answers for some of the tests.

Results: On 32% of the trials where the rest of the group gave a wrong answer the participants would give the same answer even if they knew it was wrong. However when they were tested alone the majority of participants gave the right answer.

Conclusion: Those who gave the wrong answers told Asch after that they knew it was wrong but it was because everyone else had said it. This shows clear evidence of conformity. 

Conformity: A change in a persons behaviour or opinions as the result of group pressure. 

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Milgram (Social influence)


Aim: To see how far people would obey and unreasonable order.

Method: Forty male participants volunteered to take part in what they thought was an experiment about learning and memory. In this experiment they were made to believe they were giving an electric shock to a "learner" every time he got an answer wrong. The learner was an actor and the shocks weren't real.  However the participants didn't know this. The participant was seated in front of a shock generator  that had 30 switches marked from 15 volts to 450 volts. With each mistake the "learner" made they participant was asked to increase the amount of shock, as the shock was given the "learner" would groan and scream in pain (Recording) after the shocks had increased so much the "learner" stopped screaming this made the participant want to stop, so the experimenter had to provide verbal prods. 

Results: Prior to the experiment Milgram asked psychiatrists how far they thought the participants would go. The consensus theory said no more than 1% would go to 450 volts. However despite participants being under great amount of stress (some even having seizures) all of them went up to 300 volts and a massive 65% went up to 450 volts.

Conclusion: People are prepared to obey quite unreasonable orders if they think the person giving them is in a position of authority. 

Obedience: Following the orders of someone we believe to have authority. 

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Latane et al (Social influence)

Social Loafing

Aim: To see whether being part of a group would have an effect on how much effort participants put into the task. 

Method: Researchers asked 84 participants to shout and clap as loudly as they could whilst they were alone and when they were in groups of up to six. Each participant wore headphones so they couldn't hear the others.

Results: The larger the group the less noise the participants made. 

Conclusion: People put in less effort into doing something when they know others are contributing to the effort of the same task. 

Social Loafing: Putting in less effort into doing something when you are with others doing the same thing. 

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Zimbardo (Social Influence)


Aim: To see the effect of hiding identity of participants on the size of electric shock they were prepared to give someone.

Method: Female university students were put into one or two groups, when playing the role of teacher. The first group were wearing laboratory coats with hoods to hide their faces and weren't introduced to each other. The second group wore their own clothes and name badges. They were then asked to give a person (Confederate) an electric shock. 

Results: The shocks given by the first group were twice as great as the shocks given by the second group. 

Conclusion: Being able to hide their identity leads people to behave in crueler ways than they otherwise would because the person on the receiving end does not know who they are. This means they are less likely to be any consequences for what they do. 

Deindividuation: The state of losing our sense of individuality and becoming less aware of our own responsibilities for our actions. 

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Raine (Aggression)

Biological Cause of Aggression.

Aim: To investigate the brains of murderers. 

Method: Researchers gave 41 murderers in California a PET scan and compared them with a similar group of non murderers. 

Results: The activity in the pre  frontal cortex of the murderers was lower. 

Conclusion: When the prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain is not working normally it can lead to people committing violent crimes. 

Aggression: Behaviour aimed at harming others

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Barker (Aggression)

Psychodynamic Aggression

Aim:To see the effect of frustration on aggressive behaviour. 

Method: Children were kept waiting a long time before being allowed to play in a room full of attractive toys. Their behaviour was then observed. 

Results: The children were more aggressive and destructive than the others who had not been kept waiting and getting frustrated.

Conclusion: Being frustrated does lead to an increase in aggression.

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Bandura (Aggression)

Social Learning Theory of Aggression.

Aim: To find out if 3 to 6 year old children would imitate the aggressive behaviour they see role models performing towards an inflatable "Bobo" doll.

Method: Researchers divided 96 children into 4 groups. Three of which were show someone throwing kicking and punching the bobo doll . Their own behaviour was then observed. 

Results: The children who had witnessed the aggressive behaviour showed more aggressive behaviour towards the bobo doll than those who hadn't. 

Conclusion: Children will copy how they see others behave. 

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