Social psychology – The basics in a table

Goal To investigate norms, social identity, group processes and conflicts.
Typical views of human behavior Human behavior will change in different contexts and situations. Humans are never the same in different contexts.

This means that the term ‘individual’ may not really exist. Only in theory at least.

Famous social psychologist Henri Tajfel (1919 – 1982). Jerome Bruner, also famous for cognitive psychology (1915-). Ulrich Beck (1944-), Anthony Giddens (1938-), Manuel Castells (1942-).
New aspects The effect of changes in society. Sociology (Giddens) is therefore important in newer social psychology.
Famous experiments Stanley Milgram (1933 – 1984) – Research in obedience. Milgram showed that normal people can be persuaded to give other people electric shocks, up to 300 volts! There was no real electric shocks of course. But the participants thought they were giving eletric shocks, and many of them pushed the button. The research is scary because it showes that when people are in relation to an authority, they don’t seem to have the same moral reflection, at least not when they are told to do something evil.

Soloman E. Asch (1907 – 1996) – Research in conformity. Asch showed a group of people three lines with different lengths and then a fourth line which had the same length as one of the three. He then asked “which line has the same lenghts as the fourth one?”. The task was very simple, and any person could give the correct answer. But if he asked the question in a group in which all but one (!) was told to give a wrong answer, the one person would often also give the wrong answer. That’s conformity.

Philip Zimbardo (1933) – Stanford prison experiment. A group of people was divided in two groups: Prisoners and guards. The people adapted to their roles to an extend that Zimbardo didn’t expect. It whent out of controle. The experiment was stopped after six days. The experiment was filmed and can be seen on Googles vidoe here: Stanford Prison Experiment.

Important terms Authority, conformity, group polarisation, deindividuation, audience effect.

Tip: Put this in a PowerPoint presentation with each topic in a slide.