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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."