4B Post Assessment

Psychology Honors

Asch (Line Experiment)

Students were told they were participating in a vision test; however, the other participants were assistants of the experimenter. The assistant began by answering questions correctly, but then started answering them incorrectly. Almost 75% of the participants went along with the rest of the group at least once. The experiment tested conformity.

Example: (For my group, I chose a school club I'm involved in, Beta Club.) One event we complete for Beta Club is that we collect items for Easter Baskets for a local nursing home, then deliver the baskets. All member must participate in some way. This year I stayed after school to help fill the baskets. There were two days offered to do this, and I was unable to stay the first day, so I went the second day. Because Beta Club events are not always organized in the best way possible, most of the baskets were already completed and there wasn't much left to do. At least a little over half of the students there saw that some people were standing idly by and decided to do so themselves at some point. Although the idle students were not purposely seeing whether the others would conform, this was the best example I could come up with.

Zimbardo (Prison Experiment)

This experiment randomly assigned college students roles as either guards or prisoners. During the experiment, both groups started to become their roles. The guards became sadistic and the prisoners passive and depressed. The experiment was cut short due to participants experiencing emotional trauma. This demonstrated the 'Lucifer Effect': how good people can become evil depending on their situation, and not as a result of their personalities.

Example: In Beta Club, second-year members are assigned a 'Beta Buddy', a first-year member that they are supposed to 'teach the ropes' to. Often, second-year members either avoid working with their Beta Buddy altogether or they make them do everything. While it isn't as traumatic as the events of the prison experiment, it isn't nessecarily right to do this either.

Milgram (Obedience Experiment)

This experiment tested the willingness of participants to obey authority figures who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

Example: While this has never happened to my knowledge, if a younger member of the Beta Club was told by an older member to mark them present at a mandatory meeting they didn't attend, it could be a similar situation to this experiment, although an older member holds less authority than someone's boss has over them.

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Adjusting one's behavior or thinking to match those of other people or a group standard.

Example: Once inducted to Beta Club, we are advised to maintain a certain code of behavior so that other students in the school may look to us as role models. This could be an instance of 'positive' conformity, because the behavioral adjustment is for the better.

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A person/group that commands obedience.

Example: In Beta Club, the commanding teacher, Mrs. Hedrick, is the main authority, and we also have officers, such as Beta Club President and Secretary, who hold some authority.

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When you change your opinions, judgments, or actions because an authority figure told you to do so. Obedience does not mean you agree with the change that took place. (Note: I do not at all condone domestic violence and was in fact angered very much by this image. I picked the picture specifically to show an example of a case where someone may obey but not necessarily agree with the change, in this case out of fear of bodily harm.)

Example: When members get loud during an important meeting, Mrs. Hedrick tells us all to stop talking, and the majority of us obey her directions.

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Fundamental Attribution Error

The tendency for an observer, when interpreting and explaining the behavior of another person, to underestimate the situation and to overestimate the personal disposition.

Example: During the time when we were supposed to be filling the Easter Baskets, Mrs. Hedrick got mad at idle students. She probably assumed that they were just being lazy, but in reality, there wasn't much to do and there were so many people that it was hard to get to where the baskets and supplies were.

Self-serving Bias

Tendency to attribute positive outcomes to personal factors, but attribute negative outcomes to external factors. "If it's a success, it's because of me. If it's a failure, it's because of someone or something else."
Example: Many people in Beta Club like to take credit for their small part when Beta Club events go well, but like to blame Mrs. Hedrick and other adult organizers when they don't go well.

Group Think

People in a group become so consumed with the group that they lose the ability to think for themselves and make good, sound judgments.
Example: Last year I helped with delivering the Easter Baskets to the nursing home, and my group had to walk around the building. We became bored with just walking around with the baskets in our hands, so we started skipping through the halls. We didn't get hurt or get in trouble, but we probably did make ourselves look foolish. This is a very lighthearted example of group think.

Group Polarization

When people must deal with a situation in a group, the group typically has some overriding attitude toward the situation. With discussion over time, the group's attitude may change. When it changes in a way that the group attitude is strengthened and enhanced, group polarization has taken place.
Example: When people are standing around and then begin talking about what needs to be done, they often go do what they discovered needed to be done. This can be considered group polarization. Their attitudes change from 'I'm not doing that' to 'Let's get it done'.