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Lecture 8

MGHB02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Stanford Prison Experiment, Philip Zimbardo, Social Influence

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Brian Connelly

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Social Influence and Socialization
The presence of others improves or impedes our performances
Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo
o People take on the role they are put in
Interaction between the person and situation
o Different persons respond differently to the same situation
Ex. One person sees a party as a welcome chance to make new
friends, another person may see it as unbearable ordeal
o Situations choose the person (not everyone has access to every situation)
Ex. A tall person is more likely to be encouraged to play basketball;
a short person to be gymnast
o Persons choose their situations
Violence-prone people tend to watch violent films; less violent
people do not.
o Different situation prime different parts of the person
Around a professor, you may show your intellectual side; around an
old friend, you may suppress it.
o Persons change the situation
An extravert may change a boring party into the social event of the
o Situations change the person
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Ex. After four years of college (and this class in particular), your
intellectual skills and world perspective should be broadened and
more refined, reflecting a change in who you are.
o Bystander Effect: The more bystanders there are, the less likely any one
of them will help a person in need.
Diffusion of responsibility: each witness saw others witnessing
the same event, they assume others will take responsibility,
therefore, nobody did nothing to stop the situation themselves.
Fear of making social blunders: wary of stepping into situations
they don’t understand
Anonymity: not clear who’s responsible for intervening, they won’t
Cost-benefit-trade-off: good seminarian study, also called cost-
benefit analysis.
o Social norms
Following social norms because people conform to what other
people are doing
Other norms:
No talking in library
Standing on the right side of the escalator
Asch’s conformity research:
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