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Notes for all lectures on Chapter 15, lectures 19-25, brief video notes included

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University of Toronto Scarborough
John Bassili

PSYA02 Chapter 15 Social Psychology Lecture 19 Slide 2: Social Influence: refers to the change in our behaviour that occurs as a result of direct or indirect intervention by others; can be used in clever ways (i.e. sales, con artists); sometimes its influence is very subtle Slide 3: The Low Ball Technique: salesperson quotes you an usually low price (which is essentially false) to draw your attention and to which you agree to buy but later, makes up a reason to change the price (i.e. calculation error, upgrades). Although you have been lied to, youre likely to go through with the purchase because you feel psychologically committed (committed to the idea that you will buy from this particular person, feel like moving forward to close the deal, dont want to move backwards). Anchor and adjust principle (haggering principle); if you want a better deal, you have to pull against the anchor, if you set a low, but reasonable price (at which you want to buy), the salesperson now has to do the pulling. Slide 6: Conformity: when people dissent (differ/disagree), there is often pressure to conform Slide 8: Factors that affect conformity: the size of majority - As the number of people in the majority increases, one is more likely to conform, up until a certain point (certain number of people). (the relationship is not linear) o Size of group matters, but only until a certain point Slide 9: Other factors Unanimity: we are less likely to conform when there is another person who deviates from the majority (whether or not the deviant agrees with our opinion); almost no conformity occurs if the unanimity is broken by someone else; conformity pressure is reduced Commitment: the more committed we are to our opinion, the less likely we are to conform Slide 10: Why do people conform? Outcome Dependence: (the desire to be liked by others in the group) people want to fit in and avoid the negative aspect of being rejected or ridiculed. Information Dependence: (the desire to be right) people turn to others for guidance, especially when they are uncertain; sometimes we conform because we dont know what the right answer is. Lecture 20 Slide 11: Obedience (to authority): someone is issuing an order from a position of authority: direct form of social influence Slide 12: History offers many examples of atrocities: WWII, Vietnam War Obedience is often a good thing (i.e. Parent-child relation), but can be a bad thing, as in the case of WWII where obedience to authority was used as an explanation for immense atrocities (exploitation of millions by Nazis). - The situation often exerts pressures on the individual; orders given by people in authority create such pressures VIDEO ON OBEDIENCE (study by Stanley Milgram, 1960s, essentially Milgram wanted to capture the situation where there is a person of authority, simulated situation where experimenter ordered participant to administer electric shocks) 40 males, between the ages of 20-50, varying occupations and education levels How people learn various types of material, one theory is that people learn better in relation to punishment, but there are no scientific studies of that other than on human beings Some participants = teachers, other = learners Learner participant paid off, pretended to have heart problems Real purpose of experiment: to test the obedience of the teacher when Milgram instructed to continue with the experiment as the learner complained of heart issues Although under the impression that the shocks were causing the learner harm, 65% of the teachers went on to the end of the experiment, despite the learners complaints; completed the experiment because person of authority (Milgram) insisted the experiment continue Ethical? Participants lied to, feelings tested, etc. Message: if there is one overall conclusion: our behaviour is very much under the control of the situation When authority is bad, people will do bad things, not because they are bad people, but because situational forces are very powerful Slide 14: Red line actual behaviour of participants, 100% of subjects agreed to go through with shocks up until learner begins complaining, after which the participants start to stop administering the shocks Actual behaviour turned out to be completely different than the predicted behaviour In some studies, religious people were more susceptible to authority, administered many shocks despite religious beliefs, perhaps more trusting individuals are more likely to follow orders Slide 15: Factors that Influence Obedience: variations in the experimental situation have an effect on the level of obedience: the psychological proximity to the learner, the psychological proximity of the authority, personal responsibility for administering the shock Slide 18: Autonomy: when we operate in full knowledge that we are responsible for our actions, moral principles guide our behaviour. Agency: when we perceive ourselves as agents of someone elses authority According to Milgram, everyone has values and principles that they wish to abide by, most of the time we go through life guided by those values and beliefs We behave as autonomous beings. Problem arises when there is authority who is going to take responsibility? (authority will). Once it is established that you are not the authority; not responsible for what results, may enter a state of agency (Im just the agent, doing the action, not the one in responsible, causing us to engage in atrocities that we may regret later on) Slide 19: Bystander Apathy Witnesses to acts of emergency do nothing to help but watch, perhaps in assumption that the other people watching will do something to help VIDEO OF BYSTANDER APATHY 38 witnesses to stabbing of woman in New York (over a span of 35 minutes), but not one of them tried to intervene or call police (people made up stories/excuses to explain why they did not make the call) When there is a group of bystanders witnessing an indecent act, they will not do anything because those around them are also doing nothing; people decide what to do based on other people Slide 21: Steps to helping a person/event/situation:
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