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PSYC 2310 Lecture Notes - Stanford Prison Experiment, Deindividuation, Electric Shock

Course Code
PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

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Chapter 10: Intergroup Relations
How do different theories explain intergroup relations?
- intergroup relations refers to the way in which people in groups perceive,
think about, feel about, and act toward people in other groups
- Early Research and Theories of Crowd Behaviour
o Le Bon said there are 3 characteristics associated with the processes
that seem to be specific to crowds:
1) anonymity people become anonymous in a crowd and are
therefore less responsible for their actions
2) suggestibility when people’s social constraints are
loosened, they become more suggestible. When one or a few
individuals start to act on their aggressive impulses, others
copy due to their heightened suggestibility, giving in to their
own urges to act unreasonably.
3) contagion: the irrationality and acts of violence are
contagious and sweep through the crowd
o Le Bon argued that people “go mad” (become irrational) in crowds –
crowd behaviour is destructive, pathological, and should be controlled
o Le Bon had a negative perception of crowds and believe that a crowd
has to be controlled and managed
o Le Bon argued crowds made people mad
o Allport argued that there is no psychology of groups which is not
essentially and entirely a psychology of individuals
o Allport rejected the idea of a group mind and suggested that ‘the
individual in the crowd behaves just as he would behave alone only
more so
o Allport argued crowds allowed people to be bad
- [Law Connections: Crowd conflict can occur when (1) physical force is used and
the police perceive it as legitimate but the crowd doesn’t, or (2) when the crowd
feels that is has the power to use its collective force to resist police action.]
- Deindividuation
o The tendency to not follow normal rules of behaviour as a result of
losing one’s self awareness
o More likely to occur in grop settings, and contributes to the tendency
of groups of people to engage in highly destructive actions
o Example: Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Riot in 2011
o What factors lead to deindividuation?
Group settings provide anonymity because each
individual is less distinguishable
It’s enhanced in situations where people wear uniforms
or paint or cover their face, which makes the person
less identifiable
Stanford Prison Experiment guards and prisoners
‘normal’ students became abusive (guards) and the
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‘normal’ students acting as prisoners, rebelling at first,
became passive within days - Ended after six days
because of extreme behaviour
Electric shock KKK uniform or regular uniform KKK
uniforms gave longer shocks to the learner
Whether a person expects to be held responsible for his
or her actions
They feel less accountable in group settings
Abandoning of two old cars Bronx and in California
put hoods up to make it look abandoned more people
in the Bronx what happened there? Since there were
more people continued to take parts from the car,
eventually the car was useless. less people in
California what happened there? No one touched it
ever except for when it began to rain and someone shut
the hood down so that the car would not get ruined.
Decrease in Self-Awareness
People in a group have less sense of themselves as
distinct individuals decrease in self-awareness leads
people to be less focused on matching their behaviour
to their normal standards
- Social Identity Theory
o A theory that posits that each person srives to enhance his or her self-
esteem, which is composed of two parts: a personal identity and a
social identity
o Status of the In-Group
Groups that are threatened with inferiority take please at
another groups’ failure
o Status within the Group
People who have a marginal status in their in-group are more
likely to derogate outgroup members, particularly in the
presence of in-group members
Example: Traditional women, or feminist women. Men sent
more pornographic images to feminist women rather than
traditional women, as the feminist women were seem as a
threat to male dominance, and therefore threatened men’s
group-based self-esteem.
o Group Size
The smaller the group, the greater the tendency for people to
be loyal to it, which is why minority groups tend to have
greater group loyalty than majority groups.
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