Psychology Studies

BIO: Phineas Gage (1848) – localization of brain function
-PG, 25 YO, Railroad foreman
-Mental pole went through his left cheek and exited through the front brain/top of the skull
-PG stayed awake and alert
-In the hospital, he lost sight in left eye only. No paralysis, no difficulty with speech
-Dr. Harlow noticed that balance between intellectual abilities and emotional control was destroyed
-PG became agitated, irreverent, impatient, indulging in the grossest profanity, used pornographic language
-PG was a child in his intellectual capacity, but with the animal passions of a grown man
-This was one of the first cases to deal with localization of brain function
BIO: Martinez and Kesner (1991) – neurotransmitters, memory
-Aim: to determine the role of acetylcholine on memory
-Rats were trained to go through a maze, at the end they received food
-One group was injected with scopolamine (blocks the receptor sites of acetylcholine, therefore decreasing its (acet) levels)
-Other group was injected with physostigmine which blocks the production of cholinesterase (responsible for the clean up of acet), returning the neurons to resting state
-Last group was the control group
-Results: rats with scopolamine (so less acet) were slower and made more errors
-Rats with physostigmine ran faster, with fever errors
-Conclusion: acetylcholine is important in memory formation
-GMEC: strong design + control
-Limited generalizibility
BIO: Bouchard et al. (1990) – genetics, intelligence
-Minnesota twin study
-Longitudinal study (since 1979)
-MZAs are compared to MZTs (cross cultural)
-Average age = 41 (one of the first studies to study intelligence on adults)
-Twins were brought together and tested for 50 hours
-Concordance rates:
—Same person tested twice = 87%
—MZTs = 86%
—MZAs = 76%
—Fraternal twins together = 55%
—Biological twins together = 47%
-Estimated heritability rate of intelligence = 70%, 30% due to other factors
-GMEC: further research support, large participant sample, reliable findings
-Unethical reunion of twins, no control of frequency of contact before the study, Bouchard relied on media coverage to recruit participants, equal environment assumption
BIO: Rosenzweig and Bennet (1972) – environment and brain
-Aim – To determine the effects environment has on the physiology of the brain.
-Method – Rats spent 30-60 days in either an enriching, or a depriving environment.
-Results – Post mortems showed that the brains of the rats who were in an enriching environment were different to those in a depriving environment. Their their cortex was heavier, and there was an increased thickness in the frontal lobe.
-Conclusion – The results suggest neuroplasticity. This is because their environments PHYSICALLY influence the rats brains
BIO: Maguire et al. (2000) – scanning techniques
-Aim – to investigate whether changes could be detected in the brains of London taxi drivers and to further investigate the functions of the hippocampus in spatial memory
-Method – 16, male, middle aged, professional taxi drivers (at least 2 years of experience) had gotten MRI scans, which were compared to scans of a control group of 50 participants. Voxel-based morphology (VBM) was used in this study to measure the density of grey matter in the brain. Pixel counting was last.
-Results – posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers were significantly larger relative to those of control subjects and that the anterior hippocampal region was larger in control subjects than in taxi drivers. hippocampal volume correlated with the amount of time spent as a taxi driver
-Conclusion – Maguire et al. argue that this study demonstrates the plasticity of the hippocampus in response to environmental demands.
BIO: Raine et al. (1997) – aggression/scanning techniques
-Aim – to discover if murderers who have pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) show evidence of brain abnormalities.
-Method – used PET scans to examine the brains of 41 people (39 males and 2 females) who were charged with murder and were pleading Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity (NGRI), and compared them with 41 controls. All the NGRIs were referred to the imaging centre for legal reasons. Participants were matched by age and sex to a control group of participants. The NGRIs were compared with the controls on activity in six cortical areas and eight subcortical areas.
-Findings – the NGRIs were found to have less activity in their prefrontal and parietal areas, more activity in their occipital areas, and no difference in their temporal areas. They found an imbalance of activity between the two hemispheres in three other subcortical structures.
-Raine et al. argue that the difference in activity in the amygdala (which is part of the limbic system) can be seen to support theories of violence that suggest it is due to unusual emotional responses such as lack of fear.
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BIO: Dltzen (2009) – hormone oxytocin
DItzen ( 2009 ) conducted a study at the university of Zurich in which adult couples were randomly assigned into two groups: one group of participants were administered oxytocin intra-nasally and the other group received placebo, also in a nasal spray. She then asked them to discuss a subject they often disagreed about and videotaped the subsequent conflict discussions in a lab setting. Ditzen then analyzed the effects of the hormone given to couples, and found that it reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increased positive communication behavior, compared to the placebo.
BIO: Schacter and Singer (1962) – hormone/adrenaline/emotion
-Aim – to test the two-factor theory of emotion.
-Method – 184 male participants agreed to be injected with what they thought was a vitamin shot. In fact they were either injected with epinephrine or a placebo. Side effects of adrenaline – increased heartbeat, no pain, etc. The participants were then put in one of four experimental conditions: 1. Adrenalin Ignorant (not told about the effects of the drug). 2. Adrenalin Informed (warned of the ‘side effects’ of the drug). 3. Adrenalin Misinformed (told to expect different side effects). 4. Control Group (placebo). Participants were then allocated to either the euphoria condition or the anger condition.
-Findings – In the euphoria condition the misinformed participants were feeling happier than all the others. The second happiest group was the ignorant group. In the anger condition, the ignorant group felt the angriest. The second angriest group was the placebo group.
-Conclusion – Schachter and Singer argue that their findings support their two-factor theory of emotion.
BIO: Case study of HM – localization of brain function/brain scans
-HM suffered from epileptic seizures after he fell of a bike at 7 years old.
-By 27 years of age, the seizures disabled him from leading a normal life. That’s when Scoville performed an experiment surgery to stop the seizures, by removing tissue the medial and temporal lobes (hippocampus).
-After surgery HM suffered from amnesia (no new episodic and semantic memories, but yes to procedural memories). Personality remained unchanged, so did intelligence.
-Therefore hippocampus is important in memory – localization of brain function.
-Corkin et al (1997) did a MRI of HM’s brain, showing that parts of the temporal lobe (hippocampus and amygdala) were missing.
-Showed that hippocampus stores temporary memories.
-Limited generalizility, confidentiality, operation stopped seizures, but cause other damage.
BIO: Gottesman and Shields (1966) – genetics
-Aim – to investigate the importance of genetic and environmental influences on schizophrenia by comparing MZ and DZ twins.
-Procedure – records of twins from hospitals (392 patients, twins of the same sex, older than 15). Sample: 57 twin pairs. Case histories, questionnaires and interviews were conducted, together with a personality test.
-Results (looked for similarities between each client and their twin) – concordance rates based on 3 grades: grade 1 (both client and twin have been diagnosed with schizophrenia), grade 2 (both client and twin were hospitalized, but the co-twin had different diagnosis), grade 3 (co-twin has some psychiatric abnormality).
Grade 1: MZ = 42%, DZ = 9%
Grade 2: MZ = 12%, DZ = 9%
Grade 3: MZ = 25%, DZ = 27%
Normal: MZ = 21%, DZ = 55%
-Conclusion – genes appear to play an important role in schizophrenia because the concordance rate is higher in MZ twins.
BIO/ABN: Caspi et al. (2003) – 5-HTT/depression/genetics
-Longitudinal study of the possible role of the 5-HTT gene in depression after experiences of stressful events
-The 5-HTT gene influences the level of serotonin, controlling mood
-Researchers compared participants with a normal 5-HTT gene and a mutation with shorter alleles. Long allele is slightly more frequent (57%)
-Findings: participants with a mutation of the 5-HTT gene, who experienced stressful life events were more likely to become depressed, than those participants with the normal 5-HTT gene.
-The 5-HTT gene indicates genetic vulnerability to depression after stress.
-Evaluation – most population has the gene, therefore its hard to estimate the genes contribution to depression. Correlation is not causation. Bidirectionality? No supporting research.
BIO: Harris and Fiske (2006) – brain scans/fMRI
Used fMRI scans to study students’ brain processes as a response to being presented with pictures of extreme outgroups. This study is social cognition aimed to find the biological correlates of stereotypes and prejudice

The researhers scanned students while they were watching either pictures of different humans or objects. It was predicted that the medial prefrontal cortex would be active when participants looked at humans but not when they looked at objects

This was found that except when participants looked at pictures of people from extreme outgroups such as such as homeless and addicts. Brain regions related to “disgust”were activated and there was no activity in the prefrontal cortex

The researchers concluded that this indicated a dehumanization of the outgroups. These groups were apparently viewd as “disgusting objects”and not people.

BIO: Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999) – neurotransmission
-Aim – to see how sensory deprivation affects the brain
-Method – researchers studied a group of Buddhist monks who went on a 72-hour pilgrimage. As they traveled, the monks did not eat or drink, nor speak and were exposed to cold weather.
-Findings – after 48 hours the monks began to hallucinate (ancient ancestors). Researchers took blood samples, and found that serotonin levels were elevated, activating the hypothalamus and the frontal cortex.
-Conclusion – sensory deprivation triggered the reseals of serotonin.
BIO: Iacobani (2004) – dendritic branching (env. and phys.)
Iacoboni ( 2004 ) asked participants to watch films of people reaching for various objects within a tea-time setting – a teapot, a mug, a pitcher of cream, a plate of pastries, napkins — in different contexts. In every instance, a basic set of “reaching” mirror neurons fired. But different additional sets of mirror neurons would also fire depending on what expected action was suggested by the setting — neatly set for the beginning of tea time, for instance, versus looking as if tea had just been finished (pastries eaten, cup dirty) so that it looked ready to be cleaned up. If the viewer expected the hand to pick up a teacup to drink, one set fired; if the viewer expected the hand to pick up a cup to clean it, another set would fire. Thus mirror neurons seem to play a key role in perceiving intentions — the first step not just in understanding others but in building social relations and empathy.
BIO: Tetsuro Matsuzawa (2007) – genes/evolution
-Aim – to examine spatial memory in young chimps.
-Method – 3 pairs of chimps were taught to recognize numerals from 1 to 9 on a computer. Later the chimps and the human were to watch the numerals flash up briefly on a screen, in random sequences. Finally, the numbers were replaced with blank squares, and the participant had to remember which numeral appeared in which location and touch the corresponding square.
-Results – human participants made many errors, and their accuracy decreased as the numbers were replaced with squares more quickly. Chimps showed remarkable memory for spatial distribution of numbers.
-Conclusion – chimps ability was argued to be a result of an evolutionary adaptation process related to their need to remember where food sources and dangers were located.
BIO: Fessler (2006) – evolutionary explanation
-Aim – to investigate whether the emotion of disgust has evolutionary correlates
-Theory – looked at nausea experienced by women in the first trimester of pregnancy. During this period, an infusion of hormones lowers the mot’s immune system so as not to fight the new foreign genetic material in her womb. Fessler argued that the nausea response helps to compensate for the suppressed immune system.
-Method – 496 healthy, pregnant women, age 18-50, asked them to consider 32 potentially disgusting scenarios (walking barefoot on earthworms, sticking fishing hooks in fingers, etc.) He then posed a series of questions designed to determine whether the women were experiencing morning sickness. He then asked the women to rank the scenarios from grossest to least gross.
-Results – women in their first trimester scored much higher across the board in disgust sensitivity tan their counterparts in the second and third trimesters.
-Conclusion – morning sickness helps to avoid food borne diseases (natural selection).
BIO: Nurnberger and Gershon (1982) – genetics and depression
-Aim – To review the results of twin studies to investigate the concordance rate of twins in relation to depression.
-Method – They reviewed 7 studies.
-Findings – They found that MZ (monozygotic) twins had a consistently higher concordance rate than DZ (dizygotic) twins, 65% compared to 14% respectively.
-Conclusion – Genetic predisposition to depression is a contributing factor in depression, environment has impact too.
COG: Bartlett (1932) – schemas
-Aim – to investigate the effect of schema processing on memory recall (serial reproduction)
-Method – group of westernized, english speaking participants were introduced to a native american story (The War of Ghosts). Bartlett read the story to the participants twice. After 15 mins, he asked them to reproduce it with as much detail as possible. He then asked them to reproduce it again later and noticed differences in recall.
-Findings – the story became shorter after 6 or 7 reproductions (reduced from 329 to 180 words). It remained coherent, no matter how distorted it was. Story became more conventional (e.g. canoes –> boats, warriors –> soldiers).
-Conclusion – people reconstruct the past by trying to fit it into existing schemas. The more complicated the story the more likely it is to become distorted.
COG: Anderson and Pichert (1978) – schema
-Aim – to investigate if schema processing influences both encoding and retrieval.
-Method – participants heard a story about two boys who didn’t go to school one day and decided to go to the home of one of them because it was always empty on Thursdays. The house was isolated and located in an attractive neighborhood, with a leaky roof and a damp basement (attractive items were in the house – tv, coins, speed bike). The story was based on 72 points, ranked according to the importance to a house buyer (leaking roof) or a burglar (coin collection). Half of the participants read the story from the house buyers point of view, other half from the burglars. Once the participants read the story, they performed a distracting task for 12 mins before their recall was tested. Then there was another 5 minute delay. Half of participants switched their schemas (burglar switched to buyer and vice versa), the other half retained their original schema, testing their recall again.
-Finding – participants with the changed schema recalled 7% more points
COG: Loftus and Palmer (1974) – memory/reliability
-Aim – to investigate whether the use of leading questions would affect recall in a situation where participants were asked to estimate speed (useful for court as eyewitness testimony).
-Method – participants saw videos of car accidents and had to estimate the speed of the cars at the moment of collision, based on one critical question: ‘about how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?’ ‘smashed’ was replaced by words such as hit, collided, bumped or contacted in other conditions.
-Results – the highest speed estimates (40.8mph) were in group ‘smashed’, and lowest in the ‘contacted’ (31.8mph). The results indicate that memory is not reliable and can be manipulated. Supports reconstructive memory –> use of schemas to process factual information.
-Evaluation – lab exp, high control, very low ecological validity, highly artificial, not generalizable, cause-effect relationship.
COG: Gary L. Wells (2003) – memory/reliability
Participant-witnesses viewed a crime video and attempted to identify the culprit from a culprit-absent lineup. The 253 mistaken-identification eyewitnesses were randomly given confirming, disoconfirming or no feedback regarding their identifications. Feedback was immediate or delayed 48h, and measures were immediate or delayed 48 hours. Confirming, but not disconfirming feedback led to distortions of eyewitnesses recalled confidence, amount of attention paid during witnessing, goodness of view, ability to make out facial details, length of time to identification and other measures related to the witnessing experience. Unexpectedly, neither delaying the measures nor delaying feedback for 48h moderated these effects. The results underscore the need for double-blind lineups and neutral assessments of eyewitnesses’ certainty and other judgments prior to feedback.
COG: Goshe et al (2000) – technology in one cognitive process –> alzheimer’s disease
Goshe et al (2000) looked at MRI results for 119 patients with varying degrees of cognitive impairment. Some patients were normal, some had cognitive impairment at the time of the MRI, and others were already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers (who did not have access to the patients’ files) were 100% accurate when determining which patients had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and which had no symptoms. The study reported a 93% accuracy rate when researchers were asked to distinguish between patients with no symptoms and patients who had only mild cognitive impairment, but were not yet diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
COG: Baddeley and Hitch (1974) – working memory model
-Asked participants to answer increasingly difficult questions about simple letter combinations that were shown at the same time. Reaction time increased as the questions became more difficult. The participants were then asked to do an articulatory suppression task (e.g. repeating ‘the’ all the time, repeating numbers from 1 to 6, repeating random numbers) while they answered the question.
-There was no significant difference in reaction time between the group who was asked to repeat ‘the’ or to repeat numbers from 1-6. The group who was asked to repeat random numbers had the worst performance.
-This was interpreted as overload problems for the central executive.
COG: Neisser and Harsch (1992) – reliability of memory, flashbulb memory
Aim – to investigate the accuracy of flashbulb memories
Method – a questionnaire was administered to 106 participants on the day after the space-shuttle exploded (Jan 1996). Among the questions asked were 5 about how they heard the news: where they were, what they were doing, who told them, what time it occurred etc. Thirty-two months later the participants were asked to complete the questionnaire again and their results compared to the original.
Results – the findings showed that memories had in fact dimmed. Of a potential 220 ‘facts’ produced in the original questionnaire, they were partially or completely wrong on 150 of them. Interestingly participants were not aware of this fall off in performance, being highly confident in their ability to recall accurately.
Conclusion – A conclusion of the study is that so-called ‘flash-bulb memories are no more accurate than other memories. The results suggest that what is different is the confidence that people have in their memories associated with significant events.
COG: Cole and Scribner (1974) – cultural factors in memory
-Aim – to investigate free recall in two different cultures (USA and Kpelle in Liberia)
-Procedure – for both cultures, the researchers used familiar objects (based on 4 major categories). The researchers presented the words to the participants and asked to memorize as many as possible in any order (free recall). Later, the objects were incorporated into meaningful stories.
-Results – recall free: non-schooled children hardly improved their performance after 9-10 years old (10 items at first trial, 15 after practice). Americans did equally well. HOWEVER, when the objects were put into meaningful contexts, non-schooled participants recalled better as they grouped them according to their role in the story. Schooled children used chunking, and recalled the items according to category.
-This indicates cultural differences in processes like memory.
COG: Blackmore and Cooper (1970) – impact of socio-cultural factors on cognitive process
1. Three kittens were reared in visual environments that consisted of stripes at one of three orientations – horizontal, right oblique, or left oblique. Two additional cats were reared as controls. One of these matured viewing right and left oblique stripes on alternate days. The other experienced a normal visual environment. 2. Following the completion of rearing, and after several weeks of normal visual experience, behavioural testing of the stripe-reared animals demonstrated a deficit in visual acuity for orientations which were not present in the early visual environment. No comparable deficit emerged for either of the control cats. 3. Following 1-3 years of further, normal, visual experience, each of the cats was shipped separately to California where single units were recorded from area 17 of the visual cortex and an effort made to guess the early visual history of each animal which was unknown to the experimenters. Cell samples from each experimental cat and the normal control cat allowed the physiologist to guess their early visual experience correctly. The control cat which matured viewing orthogonal sets of oblique stripes on alternate days demonstrated a bias for horizontal contours in his cell sample. In contrast to units recorded from normal cats, about 80% of which are binocular, only about 30% of the cells recorded from the stripe-reared animals could be influenced by both eyes.
COG: Rogoff and Waddel (1982) – impact of culture on memory
Mayan children did better in a memory task if they were given one that was meaningful to them in local terms. The researchers constructed a miniature model of a Mayan village, which resembled the children’s own village. The researcher then selected 20 miniature objects from a set of 80 (e.g. animals, furniture, people) and placed them in the model. Then the objects were taken out of the model and replaced among the 60 objects. After a few minutes, the children were asked to reconstruct the scene they had been shown. Under these conditions, the Mayan children did slightly better than the children from the USA.
COG: Speisman et al. (1964) – cognition/emotion
-Genital surgery video experiment (Speisman et al., 1964)
-Investigate if emotional reactions to events can be manipulated
-Trauma condition – pain emphasized by soundtrack in video
-Denial condition – participants acted happy to have the surgery
-Intellectualization condition – soundtrack gave an objective anthropological viewpoint of the genital surgery
-Participants respond more emotionally to trauma condition suggesting it is the individual’s interpretation of the event (person in video experiencing pain, acting happy or being analyzed) that affect the emotional stress rather than the event itself
-Artificial video study – ecological validity
-Researchers used deception and put participants in a potentially uncomfortable situation
COG: Lupien et al. (2002) – bio factors and cognitive process, hormone, cortisol
Aim: to see whether it was possible to reverse memory problems with a drug
Method: elderly participants were divided into 2 groups: g. 1 had a moderate level of cortisol at baseline, g. 2 had a high level of cortisol and impaired memory at baseline. Both groups were given a drug preventing secretion of cortisol (metyrapone). Then both groups did a memory test. Afterwards, both groups were given another drug (hydrocortisone) to restore their level of cortisol to previous levels. Results were compared to a placebo group results.
Findings: participants with a moderate level of cortisol who were given metyrapone had no problem restoring normal memory function (so less cortisol = better memory). Ppts with high cortisol from baseline had no memory improvement. Hydrocortisone caused even greater memory loss.
COG: Brown and Kulik (1977) – flashbulb memory
-Aims: Investigate whether dramatic, or personally significant events can cause “flashbulb” memories
-Procedure: Using a retrospective questionnaire assessed the memories of 80 US Ps for the circumstances in which they learned of public events.
-Findings: FM more likely for unexpected and personally relevant shocking events
-Conclusion: Dramatic events can cause a physiological imprinting of a memory of the event
-Strength: Provides evidence to support anecdotal and personal experience of FMs
-Weakness 1: Data collected through questionnaires, so it is impossible to verify the accuracy of memories reported.
-Weakness 2: It could be that dramatic events are rehearsed more than usual, making memories more durable, rather than any “imprinting” process causing FMs
SOC: Lee et al. (1977) – fundamental attribution error
– Aim – to see if student participants would make the fundamental attrition error (FAE) even when they knew that all the actors were playing a role.
-Method – participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: game show hosts (had to design their own questions), contestants or audience. After the game show, the observers were asked to rank the intelligence of other participants.
-Results – the members of the audience constantly ranked the game show host as most intelligent, even though they knew about the random assignment, and the fact that the hosts wrote their own questions.
-Conclusion – the observers failed to attribute the role to the person’s situation, instead attributing it dispositional factors.
-Evaluation – students used as participants (viewed hosts similarly to college professors, therefore as authority), limited generalizibility.
SOC: Suedfeld (2003) – experiences and attribution
-Attributions made by holocaust survivors
-Gave questionnaires to survivors of the holocaust and age-matched Jewish participants (who have not experienced the Nazi persecution)
-Groups were asked for their views on possible factors in survival during the holocaust
-91% of the survivors made situational attributions (luck or help from others), compared to 51% in the control group
-34% of the survivors made dispositional attributions (determination and psychological strength), compared to 71% of controls
-Personal experiences during the holocaust influenced survivors attributions because they had witnessed that it was actually often luck or help from others that determined the chances of survival
SOC: Posey and Smith (2003) – self-serving bias
-Children used as participants
-Kids were asked to do math problems sitting either with a friend or a non-friend
-Children had to work alone, despite sitting in pairs, but the total score of the pairs was noted
-After the test children were asked who did the better job
-Children who worked with friends and failed were less likely to show the SSB and more likely to to give their friends credit when succeeded
-Children working with a non-friend were more likely to demonstrate SSB
SOC: Tajfel (1970) – SIT/discrimination
-Aim – to investigate if boys placed in random groups based on an arbitrary task (minimal group) would display in-group favoritism and intergroup discrimination
-Method – 64 schoolboys (14-15YO) in the UK. Came the lab in groups of 8, knowing each other. Boys were shown clusters of varying numbers of dots, flashed onto a screen and had to estimate the umber of dots in each cluster. Then the boys were randomly assigned to groups categorized as either ‘over-estimator’ or ‘under-estimator’. Subsequently boys had to allocate small amounts of money to the other boys in the experiment, knowing only if the other boys belonged to the same or a different category.
-Second experiment – boys were randomly allocated to groups based on their artistic preferences for two painters. Then they had to award money to other boys.
-Findings – majority of the boys gave money to members of their own category (in-group) than to members of the other categories (out-groups). In the second experiment the boys tried to maximize the difference between the groups.
SOC: Darley and Gross (1983) – stereotyping
-Showed videos of a girl to participants.
-In video 1 the girl was playing in a poor environment, in video 2 the girl was playing in a rich environment.
-Then they saw a video of the girl in what could be an intelligence test.
-When asked to judge the future of the girl, they all said that the rich girl would do better than the poor girl.
-Using stereotypes, the participants formed an overall impression of the girls potential future.
SOC: Katz and Braley (1933) – stereotyping
-Investigated whether traditional social stereotypes had a cultural basis by asking 100 male students from Princeton University to choose five traits that characterized different ethnic groups from a list of 84 words.
-Results – participants showed considerable agreement in stereotypes of the negative traits. 84% said that Negroes were superstitious and 79% said that Jews were shrewd. They showed in group favoritism, by selecting words with positive connotations and associating them with the ethnicities represented within the participant group (in group bias).
SOC: Bandura and Ross (1961) – Social leraning theory
-Aim – To show that children can learn aggressive behaviour through imitation.
-Method – 72 Children, 36 boys and 36 girls were divided into three groups.
In the aggressive condition, an adult model entered the room and began to play with the toys. The model behaved aggressively to the Bobo doll, kicking it and hitting it with a mallet.
In the non-aggressive condition the model played with the toys nicely and ignored the Bobo doll.
In the control condition there was no adult model.
The children were then taken into a room with attractive toys in it, but not allowed to play with them. This produced mild arousal (annoyance)
Finally, the children were taken into a room with toys and a Bobo doll in it, allowed to play and their behaviour recorded.
-Results – Children in the aggressive condition were much more likely to play aggressively with the Bobo doll, than both of the other two groups of children
SOC: Charlton et al. (2002) – SLT
-Aim – to investigate whether children in St. Helena would exhibit more aggressive behavior after the introduction of television to the island in 1995
-Method – natural experiment, children (3-8YO) were observed before and after the introduction of TV through cameras near playgrounds of primary schools. The level of aggression of TV was equal to what children in the UK were exposed to. Parents and teachers were also interviewed.
-Results – there was no increase in the aggressive or antisocial behavior.
-Evaluation – people may learn aggressive behavior but may not exhibit it for several reasons.
SOC: Asch (1951) – conformity/group norms
-Aim – to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform.
-Procedure: lab experiment. Using the line judgment task, Asch put a naive participant in a room with seven confederates. The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task. The real participant did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves. Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious. The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last. In some trials, the seven confederates gave the wrong answer. There were 18 trials in total and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trails. Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view.
-Results: Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view. On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority. Over the 18 trials about 75% of participants conformed at least once and 25% of participant never conformed.
SOC: Sherif – Robbers cave experiment – discrimination/prejudice
-Aim- to investigate whether competition for limited resources could result in prejudice and discrimination.
-Method – Field experiment, 22 unknown white boys from middle class, Randomly assigned to 2 groups, unaware of each other, They were transported to the camp in their groups, Boys were encouraged to bond within their groups. Phase 1 – boys didn’t know about the other group, Boys went swimming, hiking establishing cultures within their own groups, To further enhance the group identities the boys named their groups ‘eagles’ and ‘rattlers’. Phase 2 – competition stage → over 4-6 days both groups were confronted in a series of competitive activities (baseball, thug of war, etc.). The group with the higher overall score was awarded with a trophy. Boys were individually awarded pocket knives. Then prejudice began being expressed verbally. Then the eagles burned the rattlers flag, for which the rattlers attacked eagles’ cabin. Boys became so physically aggressive, they had to be separated. After a 2 day cooling period, boys were forced to participate in an activity with a common goal, where both groups had to work together to achieve the goals. The boys cooperated peacefully
-Evaluation – High ecological validity, Biased sample → only boys. Ethical considerations → deceived, psychological and physical harm.
SOC: Festinger, Riecken and Schachter
Using covert participant observation was the investigation of a cult.
• Investigated how people in a cult would cope with the situation when their prophecies failed
• Ended the cult which believed the world would end and formed relationships
• Study proved the theory of cognitive dissonance
▪ Some group members dealt with the fact that the world didn’t end and said it was because of their prayers, whilst others just changed their beliefs and left the cult
SOC: Dollard – reason for aggression
– Frustration-aggression hypothesis stated that frustration was the sole cause of aggression
– If circumstance creates frustration then aggressive behaviour will occur
– North american hockey which in the 1980’s experienced a trend towards bench clearing brawls
▪ When a rule change led to stiff penalties being imposed on the third person to enter a fight, the number of brawls decreased dramatically.
▪ Basic element of frustration-aggression hypothesis
– Someone cutting into a line at a ticket booth could trigger aggressive responses (Milgram et al)
SOC: Sherman – foot in door tecnhique (compliance)
One study which demonstrates the foot in the door technique was conducted by Sherman (1980).
-The researcher asked residents in Indiana if they would hypothetically volunteer to spend 3 hours collecting for the American Cancer Society. Three days later, a second researcher called the same people and requested actual help.
-Of those responding to the earlier request, 31% agreed to help. This Is much higher than the 4% of a similar group who volunteered to help when approached directly. In other words the findings demonstrated that people were first asked to make a commitment to something small and then were persuaded into something larger.
SOC: Cialdini – Social Identity Theory
§ To demonstrate whether people categorize themselves into in-groups and out-groups among college football supporters
§ College students were more likely to use ‘we’ after a successful game
§ People use group involvement to inflate self esteem and attach themselves more strongly to in-group when it will improve their own self image
§ Study was directed towards six different universities at the undergraduate students
§ Cannot be generalized – only based in the US
§ High ecological validity
§ Lack of control over reactions
SOC: Zimbardo (1973) – principles/attribution/conformity
Aim: To investigate how readily people would conform to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life.
Method: 21 college students (rated as ‘nice guys’ by their friends), Participants were randomly assigned to either the role of prisoner or guard in a simulated prison environment. 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.
Findings: Findings: Within a very short time both guards and prisoners were settling into their new roles, the guards adopting theirs quickly and easily.
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.
Conclusion: 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. The “prison” environment was an important factor in creating the guards’ brutal behavior (none of the participants who acted as guards showed sadistic tendencies before the study). Therefore, the roles that people play can shape their behavior and attitudes.
SOC: Sherif (1936) – conformity to group norms
Muzafer Sherif conducted a classic study on conformity in 1936. Sherif put subjects in a dark room and told them to watch a pinpoint of light and report how far it moved. Psychologists had previously discovered that a small, unmoving light in a dark room often appeared to be moving. This was labeled the autokinetic effect. The autokinetic effect is an illusion because the light does not actually move. However, people almost always believe that it does.

Realizing that an experience that is completely “in people’s heads” might be readily influenced by suggestion, Sherif decided to study how people were influenced by other people’s opinions, in their perception of the autokinetic effect.

First Sherif studied how subjects reacted to the autokinetic effect when they were in a room by themselves. He found that they soon established their own individual norms for the judgment—usually 2 to 6 inches. In other words, when given many opportunities (trials) to judge the movement of the light, they settled on a distance of 2-6 inches and became consistent in making this judgment from trial to trial.

In the next phase of the experiment, groups of subjects were put in the dark room, 2 or 3 at a time, and asked to agree on a judgment. Now Sherif noted a tendency to compromise. People who usually made an estimate like 6 inches soon made smaller judgments like 4 inches. Those who saw less movement, such as 2 inches, soon increased their judgments to about 4 inches. People changed to more resemble the others in the group.

Sherif’s subjects were not aware of this social influence. When Sherif asked subjects directly, “Were you influenced by the judgments of other persons during the experiments,” most denied it. However, when subjects were tested one at a time, later, most now conformed to the group judgment they recently made. A subject who previously settled on an estimate of 2 inches or 6 inches was more likely (after the group experience) to say the light was moving about 4 inches. These subjects had been changed by the group experience, whether they realized it or not. They had increased their conformity to group norms.

Group norms are agreed-upon standards of behavior. Sherif’s experiment showed group norms are established through interaction of individuals and the leveling-off of extreme opinions. The result is a consensus agreement that tends to be a compromise…even if it is wrong.

SOC: Wei et al (2001) – cultural dimensions
Aim: to investigate the extent to which the dimension of individualism (I) vs. collectivism (C) influenced conflict resolution communication styles.
Procedure: 600 managers from Singapore were randomly selected for a survey. Ppts were divided into 4 groups: Japanese, American, Chinese and Singaporeans working in multinational companies and Chinese and Singaporeans working in local companies. Questionnaires and correlational analysis were used to find possible relationships between scores on cultural dimension and conflict resolution style.
Results: the higher the score in the individualist dimension the more likely the manager was to adopt a dominating conflict resolution style. American managers (I) were generally more likely to adopt a dominating conflict resolution style, than Asian managers who adopted an avoid ant conflict resolution style. But as the companies were multinational, and other cultural factors played a role, there was some crossing over present.
SOC: Kashima and Triandis (1986) – etic concept example
The researchers found a difference in the way people explain their own success when they compared Japanese and American participants. The American participants tended to explain their own success by dispositional attributions whereas the Japanese made situational attributions. The american participants demonstrated SSB and the Japanese self-effacing bias (opposite of SSB).