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Briefly outline some of the procedures used in social influence research and evaluate whether such procedures are ethical (18 MARKS) Zimbardos study investigated how people would conform to new roles

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Introduction

Briefly outline some of the procedures used in social influence research and evaluate whether such procedures are ethical (18 MARKS) Zimbardos study investigated how people would conform to new roles. Twelve male volunteers were selected and paid fifteen dollars a day to take part in this two week study. Three males were made guards and nine males were made prisoners. This study is important because it shows exactly how the prisons environment created the guards wicked behaviour towards the prisoners. This suggests that the roles people play shape their attitude and behaviour. This study has received many ethical criticisms- The prisoners were arrested without warning and therefore did not fully give consent for this to happen. ...read more.

Middle

It took place in a university and all participants shared similar backgrounds. The reality in this study was that the prisoners emotions of distress and depression, being locked up and dehumanisation. Therefore it can be concluded that Zimbardo proved his point and showed that a person given a certain role in a particular environment can change a person's attitude and behaviour towards life. Another procedure used in social influence research is Milgrams study, which aimed to find out if a person would inflict pain on others by obeying an order. Forty males were used, and each of them were paid four dollars fifty. This procedure involved a 'learner' who is the confederate and had to memorise pairs of words, and the 'teacher' who is the participant who would test the learner and shock them if they got the answer wrong. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sigmund freuds psychodynamic theory can support this as the soldier or any other person would be repressing their thoughts and emotions to get on with their duty. However, coming back to the study, critics have claimed that the participants knew what was going on and just acted to please the experimenter. This study has also been criticised for lacking in ecological validity because it was set in an artificial setting. Studies like these may not be valid today because people change and times change. Therefore it can be concluded that people are nowadays more confident and independent and may stand up more for their rights, depending on their circumstances and the situations they are in. This essay received 13/18 marks- AS Psychology exam question May 2003 question 2c ...read more.

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