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Sam Giunta Social psychology key people * Solomon Asch -Solomon Asch is best known for laboratory studies on conformity, showing that under certain circumstances, a large percentage of people will conform to a majority position even when the position is clearly incorrect. He also published seminal studies on the primacy effect and halo effect, and helped inspire Stanley Milgram's research on obedience to authority. *Stanley milgram - Stanley Milgram is famous for a set of studies suggesting that most people will obey an experimenter's order to administer potentially deadly levels of electric shock to a protesting stranger. He also invented several research techniques unrelated to obedience, such as the lost-letter technique, cyranoid technique, and small-world technique. ("six degrees of separation") Participants were told that they were taking part in a study on learning, but always acted as the teacher when they were then responsible for going over paired associate learning tasks. When the learner got the answer wrong, they were told by Milgram that they had to deliver an electric shock. This did not actually happen, although the participant was unaware of this as they had themselves a sample shock at the start of the experiment. They were encouraged to increase the voltage given after each incorrect answer up to a maximum voltage, and it was found that all participants gave shocks up to 300v, with 65 per cent reaching the highest level of 450v. It seems that obedience is most likely to occur in an unfamiliar environment and in the presence of an authority figure, especially when covert pressure is put upon people to obey. It is also possible that it occurs because the participant felt that someone other than themselves was responsible for their actions. *Phillip zimbardo - Zimbardo was interested in finding out whether the brutality reported among guards in American prisons was due to the sadistic personalities of the guards or had more to do with the prison environment. To study the roles people play in prison situations, Zimbardo converted a basement of the Stanford University psychology building into a mock prison. He advertised for students to play the roles of prisoners and guards for a fortnight. The prison simulation was kept as “real life” as possible. Prisoners were arrested at their own homes, without warning, and taken to the local police station. Guards were also issued a khaki uniform, together with whistles, handcuffs and dark glasses, to make eye contact with prisoners impossible. No physical violence was permitted. Zimbardo observed the behavior of the prisoners and guards. Within hours of beginning the experiment some guards began to harass prisoners. They behaved in a brutal and sadistic manner, apparently enjoying it. Other guards joined in, and other prisoners were also tormented. The prisoners were dehumanized. People will readily conform to the social roles they are expected to play, especially if the roles are as strongly stereotyped as those of the prison guards. -leon festinger -Leon Festinger developed the theory of cognitive dissonance, a motivational theory suggesting that people seek to minimize discomfort caused by inconsistent beliefs and behaviors. He also developed social comparison theory, devised several of the earliest nonparametric statistical tests, and documented the key role of proximity in social relationships -muzafer sheriff -Muzafer Sherif was a Turkish-born social psychologist who, with his wife Carolyn, conducted the Robber's Cave experiment in which boys at a summer camp were divided into two rivil groups and ultimately overcame fierce intergroup hostility after working toward superordinate goals. He also studied norm formation, attitude change, and many other topics. -richard lapiere -lapiere found that attitudes don’t always predict behavior; establishments that served a Chinese couple later reported they would refuse such a couple service. -James carlsmith -changing ones behavior can lead to a change in attitudes; people who described a boring task as interesting for $1 in compensation later reported liking the task more than people who were paid $20 -Robert Rosenthal and Jacobson - one persons attitudes can elicit a change in anothers behavior; teachers positive expectations led to increases in students IQ scores. -John darley amd bibb latane - the more people that witness an emergency, the less likely any one person is to help; in one study , college students who thought they were the only person to overhear a peer have a seizure were more likely to help than other students that thought others heard the seizure too. -irving Janis -Irving Janis carried out studies on attitude change, stress, and decision making, but his best known research was on groupthink, which he defined as "a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action."