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PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Seat Belt

Course Code
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

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PSYCH 215 Lecture Dec 2
Behavior in Small Groups
Social psychologists that study aggression and consider it their field; missing
most important part
Aggression is behavior every society worries about because they don’t like
Why would anyone be aggressive then? If every society has a norm, that says
aggression is bad, why do we even have a topic? It means people are
breaking the norm, they’re being aggressive
Sexual behavior is aggression. Every society worries about it, why? Because
society has norms about how and when you should practice it. People seem
to break it regularly
Thus, aggression and sexually are always BIG issues in society including our
Because society has well defined norms about aggression, need to look at
norms to determine what to do about it
Means all of us have some aggression in us that we would actually break the
norm, and be aggressive, so much so that we do it anyways
When society says don’t be aggressive and we keep being aggressive, means
aggression and sexual behavior is hardwired in us and hard to stop
EX. Blue shirt- if society says don’t wear it, you don’t. Not the same as
aggression and sexuality
We need to learn how to motor behavior
Tension tells us there is something very basic about aggression- tied up with
social reality, norms- that’s where we learn about them
Every text book always has a chapter on aggression followed immediately by
Altruism: natural tendency of people to be nice, to be good
So social psychology wants to be balanced- aggression, negative then
altruism= positive
All altruism chapters begin with a story: ought to make us really perplexed,
usually start- Kitty Jenevis, young woman living in high rise in NYC, walking
home was attacked and stabbed with a knife- people on their balconies
watched this and did nothing, the guy who stabbed her ran away and then
came back and continued to stab her, people continued to watch and did
o Why did no one come to help when this person was in trouble?
o EX. Chinese girl, lying there and people walk by not caring, some
vehicle ran over her, backed up and did it again- WENT Viral
o Where’s the altruism? What’s happened to out values, how could we
let this happen?
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o Chapter that’s supposed to be good, first question, how come we don’t
help anyone? Trying to find something good, but trying to find how
come we are not altruistic
o First experiments- why did no one come to help Kitty? How come we
are all so not altruistic?
o Lead to experiments- Jim Darly at Yale, fascinated by why people
didn’t help, scream or phone 911, in basement of Yale, had a lab, took
some money from his grant and divided lab to make 2 rooms with
door, one room looked like waiting room, and then other room into
real lab
o Jim set up this scenario to study kitty phenomenon, wanted to do pilot
testing, recruited students to come one at a time to go through
procedure to see if it worked, at Ohio state he got student
o Student comes, have a seat in waiting room while we set up, the
assistant in lab takes dry ice which makes smoke, put the dry ice by
the door, smoke into waiting room, screams FIRE, what’s the guy in
the waiting room going to do? Help or not help?
o Fundamental flaw was by BAD LUCK the student for pilot study, was
linebacker, he sat in waiting room, football player knocks the door
down, experiments thus don’t always work the first time
o Believable situation- linebacker acted, Jim’s experiment involved in
half the conditions, 1 student in waiting room, in other conditions, 4
or 5 students in waiting room, dry ice and yell fire, measure reaction
o To everyone’s surprise, when there is 1 person in waiting room, high
probably that person is going to try to do something about the crisis,
when 4 or 5 less chance they’ll do anything
o In Kitty’s situation, typically the case- people watch but don’t do
anything, if one person there and doesn’t do anything= bad person
o Darly’s insight, part of the issue, a lot of you, don’t do much. WHY?
o People were rocked by Kitty incident and experiments and started to
wonder about scenario- so went back to Kitty situation and spoke to
some who were on their balconies and watched
o In all cases, they felt awful, all said they assumed someone else had
called 911- but if everyone’s thinking that then nobody did
o If alone, can’t assume anyone else- either you’ll do something or no
one will
o Same as Chinese situation
o EX. If you have 100 people walking on St. Caths, and there’s a guy lying
there, most would not stop, if someone does kneel down, there’s 99
other people who walked by- what’s normal is to walk by, the guy who
stops is abnormal= NORM, unless first person stops and everyone else
follows suit, abnormal
o For 1 person who stops, 100 others don’t- norm is that you don’t stop
How do groups influence us?
Part of social psychology bridges individual and society
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