Social Roles

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  • Created by: Liv134
  • Created on: 26-11-15 10:10

Conformity to Social Roles

Social Roles-

People who influence us in various situations, making us conform to them (act alike). 

We learn by looking at the social roles 

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Conformity to Social Roles

Conformity to social roles involves IDENTIFICATION; this is stronger than compliance.

This involves both public and private acceptance of the behaviour and attitude exhibited. 

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Conformity to Social Roles

Conformity to social role isn't as strong as internalisation; this is due to individuals adapting to different situations. This means that their behaviour will change depending on the social situation and adopt different social roles for this, to fit the social norms. 

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STUDY of conformity to social roles

Study of Prisoners and Guards in a simulated prison - Craig Haney, Curtis Banks, Philip Zimbardo (1973)

His study showed how people conformed readily to social figures. 

The aim was to investigate the extent of which participants would conform and play the role of a guard and a prisoner in a role play of prison life.

To test the dispositional versus situational hypothesis   of whether prison violence was either due to brutal conditions of the prison environment, or due to sadistic personalities of guards and prisoners. 

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STUDY of conformity to social roles

Conclusion and evaluation:

Concluded from the study:  after a few days (shorter than was expected) the study had to be stopped due to uncharacteristic behaviours shown, as the role played prisoners and guards conformed their behaviours towards their roles, and adapted to these in order to make it life like however, there was an extent of harm which was occuring

Therefore, the situational hypothesis is favoured over dispositional hypothesis as none of the participants had shown this type of behaviour before the study. The environment they were in and the roles they had to play and conform to has lead them to show this type of behaviour. They did this despite their moral beliefs about their personal behaviour. They learned this behaviour from media sources e.g. films, and learned models of social power e.g. teachers, parents etc. 

Evaluation:  Individual differences are important as not all guards behaved brutally; Zimbardo referred to his study as a failure in the sense that prison conditions in USA are now much worse than what was performed in his study. 

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KEY Terms

De-individuation - a state in which individuals have lower self- awareness and a weaker sense of  personal responsibility for their actions. This may be due to to the relative anonymity of being a part of a crowd. 

Dehumanisation - Degrading people by lessening of their human qualities 

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