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Social psych final.docx

53 Pages

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PSYC 2100

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Chapter 8 SummaryGroup Processes Influence in Social GroupsIn 1998 when the Canadian military decided to vaccinate military personnel against anthrax Sergeant Michael Kipling who had been in the military for 26 years refused to be vaccinated Sergeant Kipling was court martialled At the court martial it was revealed that Health Canada and the militarys own lawyers recommended that the vaccine only be administered with informed consent since it was not licensed for use in Canada This has resulted in the continued debate as to whether or not the medical symptoms now called Gulf War Syndromeexperienced by half of the 4500 soldiers involved in the Gulf War are the results of the anthrax vaccineThis chapter focuses on how people interact in groups and how groups can end up making decisions that have tragic consequencesWhat is a groupGroup a collection of two or more people who interact with each other and are interdependent in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to rely on each otherGroups areMore than a bunch of people who happen to occupy the same spaceRather people who are assembled together for a common purposeExamples family campus groups community groups sports groups temporary groups such as your classmates in a small seminarWhy do people join groupsRoy BaumeisterMark Leary 1995 argue that in our evolutionary past there was a substantial survival advantage to establishing bonds with other people Better able to hunt and grow food find mates and care for childrenJames Cameron 1999 research suggests that the groups to which we belong even play a role in defining who we expect to be in the future Mount Allison University students were asked how much they agreed with statements such asIn a group of Mount Allison students I really feel that I belong Feeling a part of the university was associated with positive selfesteem and wellbeing They also believed that being a Mount Allsion student would help them become the self they aspired to be in the futurePatrick ONeil 2000examined collective action among a variety of groupsboard members of a transition house for battered women in Nova Scotiapeace activists in Vancouvermembers of a lowerclass Montreal neighborhood protesting the establishment of a toxic waste dump in their communityAcross groups ONeil found that those groups who identified most strongly with their group were the most likely to engage in social actionThe composition and Functions of GroupsGroups in which you belongVary in size from 2 to 3 members to several dozen membersMost are 2 to 6 membersSize is based on definition of social groups as involving interactions between group members Too large and cant interact with all the membersMembers tend to be alike in age sex beliefs and opinions1Many groups attract members who are already similar before they join2Groups operate in ways that encourage similarity in the membersSocial Normsare powerful determinants of human behaviour as shown by people who violate them too often They are shunned by other group members and in extreme cases pressured to leave the group Social roles shared expectations by group members about how particular people in the group are supposed to behaveNorms specify how all group members should behave roles specify how people who occupy certain positions in the group should behaveSocial roles can be very helpful because people know what to expect from each other When members follow social roles they tend to be satisfied and perform wellCosts to social roles1Loss of personal identity and personalityPhilip Zimbardo Stanford University Prison Experiment 1973 Zimbardo and colleagues believed that social roles can be so powerful that they can take over our personal identities and we become the roles we are playingConverted rooms in the basement of the psychology department into a mock prison and they paid students to play the role of the role of either a guard or prisoner determined by a flip of a coin Students were outfitted with the appropriate attire for their roles Experiment needed to be ended in 6 days as opposed to the original plan to observe for 2 weeks Guards quickly became quite abusive thinking of creative ways to verbally harass and humiliate the prisoners The prisoners became passive helpless and withdrawnAbu Ghraib prison Zimbardo believes the same psychological processes that operated in his mock prison set up in a university basement 30 years ago also were present in Abu Ghraib the role of the prison guard the anonymity and the dehumanization of the prisoners all contributed to the loss of the tragic loss of decency among the American in charge of the prison There were some soldiers at Abu Ghraib who reported what was going on and as in Zimbardos study there were some guards who treated the prisoners well The lessons learned from the Zimbardo study and from Milligrams obedience study is that most of us would be unable to resist the social influences in these powerful situations and perhaps would perform acts we thought we were incapable of performing 2Cost to acting inconsistently with the expectations associated with those roles Part of the role of being a man in our society involves not wearing female attire or even carrying a purse Alan Neal host of the CBC Radio One Show confides in the essay The Handbag the extent of this discomfortGender Roles
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