Chapter 9 – Groups
– Typical size: 3-20 (3-6)
– Members tend to be similar to each other
– Have well defined roles
– Advantages: People know what to expect, smoother interactions
– Disadvantages: People adopt roles too much and they get locked into roles
Stanford Prison Study (Philip Zimbardo):
– Crappy experiment that was missing a bunch of stuff, also unethical
– Guy created a mock prison system and wanted to see what happened
– People adopted the roles of prison guards and prisoners and actually acted like them
– Bad psychological experiment; prison guards realized they were capable of torturing someone
– No food, no bed, no clothes
– Making them work out (ex: stress positions)
Iraq: How did it come to this?
– The key is this: Once a prison has a veil of secrecy around it which most do, its just open for
corruption. If you know nobody can get in, nobody can know what you're doing.
– Diffusion of responsibility, anonymity, dehumanization, peers who model harmful behavior,
bystanders who do not intervene, and a setting of power differentials.
– But in addition, there was secrecy, no accountability, no visible chain of command, conflicting
demands on the guards from the CIA and civilian interrogators, no rules enforced for
prohibited acts, no challenge by bystanders who did not tell them to stop.
Important Function of Many Groups: Decision Making
– Who makes better decisions
– Groups or the same individuals by themselves?
– In gene