Class Notes (807,452)
Canada (492,628)
Psychology (4,968)
PSYCH 1X03 (1,053)
Joe Kim (987)
Lecture 18

Lecture 18+19 Influence of Others Detailed Note.docx

16 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Joe Kim

1 Psychology Lectures 18/19: Influence of Others Presence of Others  Norman Triplett and the Tour de France o How does the presence of fellow riders in the race affect the effect of each individual competitor? o Would race times be different if each rider was allowed to race through a stage individually rather than as a group? o Normal Triplett is often credited as performing the first formal study of social psychology in 1898 o Triplett observed that cyclists raced faster when competing against each other in a group, compared to when racing against the clock on an individual time trial o Also performed an experiment on children  Asked a child to perform the simple task of winding a string on a fishing rod as fast as he could either alone or in groups  Triplett noted that children would wind the fishing rod faster when other children were present compared to when they did the task alone o Triplett hypothesized that the mere presence of others was an important variable in the performance of the actor o Group members can be divided into co-actors and the audience o Co-actors are individuals performing the same task along with you, while the audience is a group of people observing performing a task o Many studies have confirmed that the presence of co-actors or an audience affected performance on a variety of tasks, a phenomenon termed social facilitation  Exceptions to social facilitation o In some cases, presence of co-actors and an audience did not produce a noticeable enhancement in performance o In fact, new studies even demonstrated compelling evidence that the presence of others can hinder performance on tasks such as learning nonsense syllables, completing a difficult maze or solving complex math problems  In 1965, Robert Zajonc suggested that the important factor to consider is that the presence of others increases your arousal o How this heightened arousal affects your performance depends on the specific task to be performed o For simple tasks for which you are an expert or well-practiced, performance is enhanced o For complex tasks, for which you are neither expert nor well-practiced, performance is hindered o Ex. Imagine you are about to go on stage for an important performance  The presence of the crowd will cause you to feel some anxiety and nervous energy 2  If you have been preparing for weeks, you’re more likely to use the crowd’s energy to put on an amazing show  If you are underprepared and lacking confidence, the pressure of an audience is more likely to make you perform even worse than normal Social Learning Theory  Popularized by Albert Bandura, the theory suggests that you learn appropriate behaviours by modeling and imitating the behaviours of others  When applied to social behaviours, social learning theory can be differentiated from basic conditioning because the behaviours you learn from others do not always require explicit reinforcement to develop  Albert Bandura’s famous bobo doll experiment o A bobo doll is an inflatable doll with a weight in the bottom that picks the doll back up once it tips over o In his study, individual children between the ages of 3 and 6 were offered a variety of toys to play with in a room with an adult who was a confederate of the study o The adult would model either aggressive or passive play with the toys in the room o For example, in the aggressive play model, the adult would engage in such activities as punching the bobo-doll, yelling at it and hitting it with a mallet and other toys in the room o The question was, how would the adult model’s behaviour influence the child’s later play behaviour? o After viewing the adult model, the child went into a new play room with a bobo- doll and his behaviour was observed o As you might expect, children who had previously viewed the aggressive play model were much more likely to subsequently display aggressive behaviour to the bobo doll, punching, yelling and generally attacking the defenceless doll o What is particularly interesting is that this aggressive behaviour was spontaneous, with no explicit reinforcement or encouragement o This finding ran counter to the pure behaviourist ideas which suggest that learning of a behaviour would only occur with explicit reinforcement o In a follow-up experiment, children still attacked the real person with kicks, punches and toy hammers that were in the room Conformity  Sherif and Norm Function o In the 1930’s Muzafer Sherif conducted a series of experiments on conformity using a perceptual illusion called the autokinetic effect o You are in a pitch black room looking at a small dot of light at the front of the room 3 o As you stare at it, the light seems to move sporadically for a few seconds and it is your job to carefully observe how much it moves o On the first day, you are given several of these trials and report that the light moves a mean of 5 cm o The surprise is that the light actually does not move at all o This is due to an optical illusion known as the autokinetic effect  A stationary light in a pitch black room will appear to move about randomly  This is because as your eyes scan the scene of a dot of light against a uniform dark background, you mistake the movement of the image on your retina as actual motion of the light o On Day 2, you are seated in a room with two other individuals and one by one in the dark you tell the group how much you thought the light moved o As was the case in Day 1, you think it moved 5 cm o The other two subjects however, report that the light has moved 15 and 20 cm respectively and you are a bit surprised o You and the other two subjects are then asked to return for two more days of testing o The question is, how will the presence of others influence the individual reports of how much the light has supposedly moved? o Results show that over several days of testing, your responses will gradually converge with the others despite the different starting points of the individual subjects o This convergence is an example of norm formation o In one follow-up experiment, Sherif had a confederate of the experiment sit in with the subjects and report a very large estimate of how much the light moved o As expected, the group’s responses converged towards a large number, incorporating the confederate’s response  Asch’s Stimuli o Solomon Asch addressed the question, why do people seem to fall in line with a group so easily? o Asch’s subjects were seated in a room with a group of other individuals and told they were going to complete a rather simple experiment o They would see one sample line and three comparison lines and they would have to identify which of the comparison lines matches the standard o After showing the group a set of lines, the experimenter asks the group to report which comparison line is identical to the sample one by one o However, in this group of seven individuals, only one is a real subject, the other six are confederates o Importantly, the subject is always sixth to respond, with most of the confederates responding first o At first, everything proceeds as you would expect with all subjects agreeing on rather obvious line judgements 4 o Once the subject settles into the flow of the experiment, something strange starts to happen o One by one, the confederates start agreeing on clearly incorrect answers o When it comes time for the subject to respond, it’s clear that the popular answer is the incorrect answer o Surprisingly, Asch found that on average, 37% of all responses conformed to a clearly incorrect answer o Moreover, 75% of subjects conformed to an incorrect answer on at least one trial  We can explain these results by looking at the two broad functions of a group for our decision making o First is the normative function, the role of others in setting norms or standards of conduct  This function is evident in fashion trends and popular culture  The normative function of the group sets these standards because you fear rejection and ostracism by others for not conforming o Fear of social rejection is not the only reason you conform to a group o Comparative function  The role of others in providing information about an ambiguous situation  In Deutsch and Gerard’s study, each subject was seated in a separate cubicle where they could neither see nor hear the other subjects  Like Asch’s study, a subject made a judgement after seeing a set of lines  The twist was that each subject made an anonymous response by pressing a button  Before responding, lights in front of the subject indicated the anonymous responses of the other subjects  Consider that the normative function was not in play as there was no need to conform to other subjects to avoid ridicule and rejection  Despite this, there was an interesting result  Even with anonymity, subjects still went along with the wrong answers of the rest of the group on a number of trials  Importantly, subjects conformed primarily on trials where the correct answer was less clear  And so, a subject conformed to the group answer primarily because he thought the others might be right and he doubted his own perceptions Group Dynamics  Risky Shift o James Stoner began to study the “risky shift” effect o At that time, the commonly held belief was that groups were more cautious than individuals o Stoner tested this idea by asking individuals to read a set of hypothetical situations and make risk assessments 5 o The individuals then came together in groups to come to a consensus o One scenario  Helen is a writer who is said to have considerable creative talent, but who so far has been earning a comfortable living by writing cheap westerns  Recently, she has come up with an idea for a potentially significant novel  If it could be written and accepted, it might have considerable literary impact and be a big boost to her career  On the other hand, if she cannot work out her idea or if the novel is a flop, she will have expended considerable time and energy without pay  Imagine that you are Helen’s agent advising her  What is the lowest probability of success you would consider acceptable for Helen to write the new novel? o To Stoner’s surprise, the group decisions were on average riskier than the mean decision of the individuals before the group discussion o However, not all experiments produce a risky shift o In some cases, the group’s decision was more cautious than the mean of the individual decisions o Consider the case of Roger  Roger is a married man with two young children and a secure, but low paying job  Roger can afford life’s necessities, but few of its luxuries  He hears that the stock of a relatively unknown company may soon triple in value  To invest in the company, Roger is considering selling his life insurance policy o Group decision was more cautious in this case o The explanation comes in realizing that group decision making is more complex o A new idea, called group polarization, provides a better explanation of decision making processes in a group  Group polarization o Group polarization suggests that decision making in a group tends to lead to more extreme views by strengthening the original inclinations of the individual group members o This can move the group decision in either the risky or cautious extreme o In Helen’s case, the individual group members likely started with a risky position and when they got together, their consensus was an even more risky position o In Roger’s case, the individual group members likely started without much risk and their consensus was pushed towards an even less risky position o Group polarization is supported by a number of experiments which demonstrate that group decision making seems to enhance national pride, negative racial and financial attitudes and decision-making in juries  When deliberating together, mock jury members will often decide on punitive damage awards that are either larger or smaller than the amount that any individual juror had favoured prior to deliberation 6  What happens when group polarization leads a group astray o Irving Janis has coined the term groupthink as a group decision making environment where group cohesiveness becomes so strong that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative opinions o In essence, groupthink is what we might call mob mentality o Groups falling victim to groupthink often believe that they are right and all other groups are wrong o They fail to critically test, analyze and evaluate the ideas of the group o Group decisions tend to be rationalized and pressure to conform is high o Individuals in these groups often censor dissenting opinions and those who disagree are rejected from the group o Janis laid out a set of recommendations for preventing groupthink  Be impartial  The group leader should never endorse any particular position from the outset  Encourage critical evaluation and allow group members to disagree  Assign a devil’s advocate whose explicit position is to present counter arguments  Subdivide group and come to separate decisions  Later, reunite to discuss differences  Call a “second chance” meeting to air any lingering doubts The Bystander Effect  Research in the Bystander Effect began after the case of Kitty Genovese o She was murdered outside her apartment building in NYC after being stabbed repeatedly and left for dead by her assailant in an attack that lasted 30 minutes o 38 people witnessed the crime from the apartment window and did nothing at all o They knew what was happening, yet not one went to her aid or even called the police o The initial response of the public was that there was something wrong with the witnesses o However, when they witnesses were interviewed, they turned out to be ordinary people and many were extremely distraught about the death o For most of them, one reason for not intervening was the fear of personal injury o One explanation for not calling the police was that as they looked out on the crime scene, they saw that many others were also watching and each assumed that the police had already been called by someone else so it wasn’t necessary for them to do so  Later experiments uncovered two key decisions that must take place before an individual acts o First, an individual must decide whether the situation is truly an emergency and then secondly whether this situation requires them to personally respond 7 o If the answer to both these questions is yes, the individual will likely respond o If the answer to either of these questions is no, the individual will fail to respond  When deciding whether or not a given situation is an emergency, a person by default will typically try to appear calm and look to those around him, rather than over-react  If nobody else is responding, he determines it must not be a emergency and no response is necessary  Of course, everybody else in the room is looking at you and coming to the same decision  Latane and Darley called this effect collective ignorance o Is this an emergency? o Ex. “smoke in room” experiment  Diffusion of responsibility o When deciding whether we have to act, we determine that someone else in the group is more qualified o If there are others around you, particularly anyone with special skills, you are less likely to act o Ex. “seizure over intercom” experiment  Returning to case of Kitty Genovese, we can see that the bystanders at the scene failed to respond because of collective ignorance and diffusion of responsibility o At first, many individuals at the scene thought the attack might be a domestic dispute and not an emergency o In time, it became clear that the attack was an emergency, but seeing so many others observing the attack, most bystanders assumed someone else would respond or perhaps were better qualified to respond  To break these effects, you need to be more direct o Ex. You there with the green sweater, this is an emergency and you need to go call an ambulance o You are breaking both the collective ignorance and diffusion of responsibility for that individual  Another interesting finding suggests that seeing someone helping increases the probability that you will help in later situation o In one experiment, a confederate of the experiment parked her car on the side of the road with its hood up, indicating that she needed help and the number of passing drivers that stopped to offer help was recorded o In a second condition, the researchers provided a helping model, a disabled car parked some distance before the confederate was receiving help from another driver o When exposed to this helping model, the proportion of passing cars that stopped to help the confederate was higher o This finding suggests that helpful behaviour is contagious  Social loafing is a special case of diffusion of responsibility in which individuals seem to be less motivated when working in a group than when working alone o One of the first demonstrations of this effect comes from Alan Ingham 8 o He devised a task where participants were brought into the lab, blindfolded and told they were going to be playing a game of tug of war o The subjects were required to pull as hard as they could on a rope and were told that others will be pulling on the rope behind them o In fact, all the subjects were pulling alone o Ingham found that subjects pulled 18% less when they thought they were pulling in a group as compared to pulling alone o Latane, Williams and Harkins conducted a similar experiment where participants were brought into the lab, blindfolded and told they would be joining a group of people would be clapping or shouting as loud as they could o In fact, participants were wearing headphones simulating groups of different sizes and were actually shouting alone o When Latane and his colleagues measured the amount of noise made by the subjects, they found that less and less noise was produced, as the perceived group size was larger o Interestingly, subjects who participated both in the perceived group and individual conditions self-reported that they made exactly the same amount of noise in both conditions Obedience  Milgram’s Experiment o The experimenter explains that the purpose of the study is to examine the effect of punishment on learning o You are designated as the Teacher and the other subject is the Learner o The Learner is in fact a confederate of the study, but you do not know that o The Learner is connected to shock electrodes while you as the Teacher quietly watch o During the set-up, the Learner casually mentions
More Less

Related notes for PSYCH 1X03

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.