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How Do Other People Influence Our Behaviour? Discuss With Reference To Social Psychological Theory And Research

797 words - 4 pages

With regard to the above question, I will be evaluating the concepts of conformity and obedience. In relation to this the work of Zimbardo, Haslam and Milgram will enable me to explain a variety of ways in which those around us may influence the way we behave.
Conformity is defined as a change in behaviour and/or attitude as a result of group pressure (Hogg & Vaughan, n.d.). In 1971 Phillip G Zimbardo carried out an experiment with the aim of determining the psychological changes of both prisoners and guards. He did this by placing 18 college undergraduates in a simulated prison environment (Prisonexp.org, 2014). The time course for the experiment was 14 days; however, it was ended ...view middle of the document...

e. prisoners and guards (Hewstone & Stroebe et al., 2012).
As Zimbardos 1971 prison experiment provided strong examples of oppression, Alex Haslam designed a similar prison experiment in 2002 with the aim to understand social identity and conformity when placed in a hostile environment. In the case of any negative behaviour i.e. tyranny, participants were put through a thorough selection process to ensure that this wasn’t down to individual personality traits.
15 men were selected and placed into 5 different groups of similar personalities; one from each group became guards and the rest prisoners thus resulting in two groups of similar psychological profiles. Physiological data and questionnaires were collected daily as a means of monitoring any change in psychological state. On day one participants were informed of the possibility of a promotion, this prevented the prisoners identifying as a group as the reward of personal gain was much higher (Bbcprisonstudy.org, 2014). Having said that, once the decision was made the prisoners conformed to their role and united as a group and formed an alliance against the guards. Although the prisoners formed a group the guards failed to conform to their roles as they considered how they may be viewed by people in the outside world, this caused internal conflict and drove them further apart. The experiment was ended prematurely on the 9th day as the guards began to experience heightened...

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