PSYCH101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Fundamental Attribution Error, Murder Of Kitty Genovese, Kurt Lewin

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2 Aug 2016
Class 7 – Social Psychology
Song: Self Fulfilling Prophecy, Blue Eyed Son
Kurt Lewin
oTwo classic statements
oBehaviour is a function of the person and the situation
Think about the power of a situation (they create behaviour)
oThere is nothing quite so practical as a good theory
People who are concerned about the real world need to respect people
who develop theories
People who develop theories need to apply them to the real world
Conformity and Obedience
oSherif Norm Formation Study
Used the autokinetic effect
Draws upon an optical allusion
How do people make judgements when they have no real base to make
said judgements?
Put people into a dark room, and put a white light on the wall. This makes
it look like the light is moving (because your eyes move as part of you
Sherif asked if the light moved, most people said that it did
He then added several people into the room, people then converge on an
This was like forming a norm – come to a consensus on what is
happening, even though it is not true
The consensus could be manipulated through putting another person
who said a bigger amount the light moved
5 generations: taking one person out of an influenced group and placing
them in a new group made the rumour of the light moving a large
amount spread
oAsch Conformity Study
Would you do something that someone told you to believe, even if you
think that it was wrong
Why did somebody do something that they knew was wrong?
Eg. Nazi Germany
Asch asked people to say which line was the same line as a standard line
Had confederates in the room, and there was only one real
person, and the confederates said that the line was similar to the
wrong one
The effect was that people did start to give the wrong answer
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As a group, almost 70% gave at least one wrong answer
If they have one person who says the right thing, this does reduce the
rate of conformity
oMilgram Obedience Study
Would people not only conform, but would they obey something that
made them commit acts of cruelty
Electric shock when the person gets a word wrong
63% went all the way until the end of the experiment and shocked the
person as far as possible
people would say that they should stop, but when told that they
must continue, they still continued
Bystander Intervention
oKitty Genovese
What prevented the bystanders from helping?
The more people that are around, the less likely it is for people to get
oSmoke filled room experiment
Have people come in to the lab, who pass by a secretary who they talk to
On the board is written for them to do a survey
Had people either come alone or in groups of six
Then the room starts to fill with smoke
The question is, how long do they take to go tell the secretary
With 1 person, within 10 seconds they go to the secretary
With 6 people, it took 2 minutes for at least one person to go tell the
The answer they came up with:
People interpret the non-reaction of others as important
Pluralistic innocence
oSeizure Study
Had people come in who thought the study was about first impressions
among first year students
They were put in a separate cubicle and you each have a mic, but only
one mic will work at a time
There is only one real participant
One participant says that they have epilepsy but that he has not had a
seizure in a while
Two conditions: three others/epileptic person/participant, or just one
participant and epileptic person
They then have a sound effect of a guy having a seizure
The participant does not get help when he thinks others are there
to help
Diffusion of responsibility
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