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Copy of Groups and Social Influence

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Judith Horne

on 14 May 2016

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Transcript of Copy of Groups and Social Influence

Book 1, Chapter 7
Prejudice, conflict and conflict reduction
Book 2, Chapter 6
Group Processes: Social Identity Theory
(also covers DP)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Cognitive Social Psychology
Groups and social influence
Social identity and social categorisation come from within the mind.
Link to levels
Discursive Psychology
Identity is external
Categories are socially constructed through discourse (external).
Identity is constructed by use of subject positions.
''Cognitive Miser Theory'
Because information processing systems are huge we need to 'categorise' in order to deal with the amount of incoming information.
The argument is that this is part of 'normal' cognitive thought and this is what leads to strereo-typing.
Stereo-typing is universal and inevitable.
Sherif 'realistic conflict theory'
'boys' camps'
Tajfel Social Identity Theory
(most dominant approach)
'minimal groups'
Argues that by identifying with those in our own group, we seperate ourselves from others.
DP criticisms of SIT
SIT takes categorisation for granted
DP looks at how we draw on spoken categories and how they escalate prejudice/conflict
more focused on mundane interaction/ realistic rather than false experimental situation
contact hypothesis
Tries to 'blend' the social and cognitive by examining inter-group processes (mostly experimental research, though!)

so the individual/ social dualism is a big theme here (exploring the links between identity and big group issues such as class/ gender etc.)
Social Identity Theory
intra= within groups to
inter = between groups
An important theme in the block is that groups are not necessarily negative.

minimal group experiments - people will favour their ingroup over outgroup
even in minimal circumstances (where the groups are purely cognitive- they have not interacted
with group members)
Key finding was that the ingroup wanted to 'do better' than the outgroup- it didn't matter by how much.
Billig and Discourse
original transcripts
Agency -structure
Gibson more agentic- p's exercise choice, but within structured 'discourse availability.'
Milgram more structure- situational
remember audio!
Key overall points
Note differences within perspectives - i.e. CSP has 'degrees' of social in SIT, RCT and authoritarian personality and there are differences in discourse psychology approaches.
group membership is not always negative
Exam questions (from Specimen)
What might social psychology have to tell us about reducing intergroup conflict?
Discuss the ways in which DP has contributed, in terms of both theory and methodology, to the study of group processes.
Book 1, Chapter 1
More exam questions
2011 - 'Prejudice involves more than cognitive processes.' Discuss this statement with reference to social psychological research on intergroup conflict.
- 'Individuals act aggressively in groups and crowds.' To what extent is this statement supported by social psychological research?
2010 - 'Social identity theory is a pessimistic theory.' Discuss this statement with reference to the social psychological study of conflict.
- Discuss the ways in which DP has contributed, in terms of both theory and methodology, to the study of group processes.
2012 - Evaluate the contribution of experimental methods to our undertstanding of intergroup conflict. Explain how method is linked to theory in your answer.
- Outline and evaluate the approach taken by DP to explain group processes and behaviour.

Introduction to Group Processes
presence of one other person (Tripplett, 1898)
Allport (1924) - groups are the absortion of 'others' in the group. (GROUP influences the INDIVIDUAL)
Traditional approach (individualist)
Allport's (1954) 'prejudiced' mind
faulty generalisations might be the problem

Adorno (1950) unconscious anger gets 'displaced' onto scapegoat groups

Rokeach (1960) and cognitive rigidity (black and white/ good and bad thinking.)

Fisher (1951) - pyramid study (rigid thinkers recalled asymmetrical pyramid as symmetrical)
Argues that a prejudiced mind is inflexible- black and white thinkers etc.

The theory that contact between groups will reduce prejudice and conflict.
Does it work?
power is always apparent in groups
DP can be more successful in transcending dualisms
methodology is never perfect
or theory!
Criticism of traditional approaches
research focus on outside not insider perspective of crowds
negative consequences over-stressed (think human rights that have been achieved through crowds
crowd behaviour is more socially regulated than these accounts give credit for.
positive group membership
singing at football matches- people take this as a 'cue' of 'how to behave and follow suit -SIT
Cameron - 'criminality pure and simple..'
explanations of this crowd behaviour were the 'old' ones (deindividuation and contagion)
Reicher and Stott- draw a line between
Think- individual social dualism

Part 3
Groups and Social Influence

DD307 Exam Revision

Part 3 covers:

Book 1: Chapter 7 - Prejudice, Conflict and Conflict Reduction
Book 2: Chapter 6 - Group Processes: Social Identity Theory
Book 2: Chapter 7 - Obedience
Book 1: Chapter 1- Crowds

Topic asks what are the roles played by
social categorisation
social identity

Different approaches look at these in different ways.

Two approaches in this section are
Discursive Psychology
Cognitive Social Psychology
What does this chapter cover?

The starts of group conflict research.
'personality as the cause of prejudice'
(especially the authoritarian personality)
The Cognitive Social argument of 'faulty cognitions' (people are prejediced because their are 'wired' internally to be so.) It is not seen as abnormal for people to do this.
Implicit prejudice - it may not be as obvious now to research prejudice due to social change (think situated knowledges).
Group Based Approaches to Prejudice (CSP)
Interrogative Themes
Is prejudice determined (agency?) by personality? Socio-cognitive systems?
Is it a result of situational factors or meanings and practice through language? (strucure?)
Can we separate the two this easily?
Can discursive research help us to learn to change the ways we talk so we can manage prejedice discursively? Media and Daesh. Why continue isis?
The power of conflict cannot be undervalued. Often conflict can lead to positive change - suffragettes; freedom for oppressed minorities etc... unions?
Offering contact as a solution is not as simple as it seems (all conflict is situated within time and place.)
Aberrationist Theories
'subtle prejudice' researched by Fazio et al (1995)
slower reaction times recorded for black faces than white when asked to classify words as positive or negative.
Washing sheets!!!
Ecologically valid? Do we even know?
Questionaire research problems led to....
Problem with aberrationist appraoches is that they cannot explan the collective.

Hunter et al (1991) showed Catholics blamed protestant internal attributes for violence and Catholic external situational factors and Protestants did the same from their side!
Dixon argues, therefore that prejudice cannot simply be personality or individual. There must be a social aspect.
When in competition the boys were horrible to each other but co-operation was restored when they had to reach mutual goals.
Sherif claimed this was what happens in real life. When resources are scare between groups, they fight.
The Northern Ireland study (p.183-4 for examples)
'socially shared cognition' or 'discourses?'
Such discourses and repertoires are drawn on (between people and in the media etc) to enforce the power relations between Protestant and Catholic troubles in NI.
Questions whether categorisation is something we do in the head, or if categorisation comes from 'outside' in that they are also rhetorical and political resources.

Categories powerfully manage and constrain politics.
Conflict Reduction
There has been argument that social psychology has not done enough to alleviate social problems in terms of conflict and focused too much on theory.
Contact Hypothesis

sometimes makes things worse instead of better (Lemos, 2005).
To work it needs to be often; use members of equal status; be balanced in terms of number of group members; non-competitive and all working towards similar goals.

But what about what makes our groups distinct? Should we suppress such things?
Argument (pluralist model of contact) is no- we should accept each others' multi-culturalism.
But where is the line drawn between celebrating differences and tipping into prejudice??!!
Gartner and Dovido (2000)- can we find common ground with two groups to create a common group identity? Some success has been shown.
Limits of the Contact Hypothesis
Although it has been shown to be successful there are problems.
After 2001 race riots in Oldham, the Cantle Report recommeded more contact and a common sense of identity to be recognised.


Is the contact hypothesis idealistic?

Does contact lead to people seeing the 'outgroup' as exceptions to the rule?

How willing are people to be involved in contact (from all sides?) Could some see it as a threat to their identity?

The dominant approach to group processes which moves the focus from:
Why is this useful?

If our group does well, the argument is our self esteem improves.

This can be perhaps one of the reasons why we strive to do better than those in the outgroup and may be one of the reasons why conflict occurs.
What does this chapter cover????
What is a group?
Why is is difficult to study individual-social in group behaviour?
Asch (1956) (lines) context effects the group
Groups are the sum of their individuals.
The social impacts on the group
Shown through experiments (i.e. Asch)
Tajfel stressed that more emphasis was needed in social psychology between exploring the individual-social connections and criticised the 'micro-social' research that was being done in social psychology.
Tajfel says what is different about his research is his 'framework' for combining intergroup behaviour, social conflict and social change.
But is the 'coin' experiment really an example of cognitive bias?
Where he claimed 'cognitive bias' in coin size could be extrapolated to categorisation of people?
Tajfel's Research
Tajfel and Turner
Evaluation of minimal group experiments
What about experimenter effects?
According to T and T, very few showed awareness of this.
Is it really ecologically valid?
How else could you split down these variables and understand what causes in-group favouritism?
Social Change
Tajfel argues:
An individual may wish to distance themselves from a low-status group
A group may wish to gain an out-groups resources
Definitions can impact on change - 'black is beautiful' (DP)
Commentary on SIT
RCT is crticised by Tajfel because it cannot explain all hostility.
RCT cannot explain conflict where there is no material goal.
The more someone believes that groups are unchangable, the more likely they will identify and want to 'keep' their group the same.
Tajfel and Turner tell us that group memberships is cognitive - someone perceives that he fits into social categories in his/ her head.
Social change is a result of conflict.
Billig goes on to criticise Tajfel's approach.
Explains that SIT is a product of its time.
Agrees with Tajfel that a human instinct for conflict is not enough of an explanation.
Argues SIT is inadequate in its explanation of categories. Categorisation is more complex, flexible and done through language.
SIT cannot explain extreme prejudice
Nor can it explain the 'waxing and waning' of conflict.
Something additional is required.
Tajfel is critcised for being contradictory- he wants to avoid individualist explanations of bigotry, but at times claims 'individuals' have 'emotional investment'.
emotion and depersonalisation exist within language.
Bigotry may be partially repressed in language because we can only say 'acceptable discourses.' Could this combine the unconscious and DP?
Milgram admits, the study could be seen as a product of its time (situated knowledges)
obedience is not always negative (think of telling children off!)
Has been both criticised (ethics; artificiality etc) and praised (replicable and shows how people can be impacted on by authority).
It's interesting that when asked, 14 Yale seniors thought only 0-3% of participants would go to the highest shock level. (but they were psychology majors...)
situated knowledges (at Yale- prestegious)
experimenter effects and desire to please the experimenter (power)
There's a complex struggle between obeying the experimenter and the human belief of non- violence to others.
Commentary on Milgram
many studies have shown similar results to Milgram's
They have experimental, if not mundane, realism
suggests over time the findings have been stable.
Milgram found we obey more readily when authority figure is close and less readily when the victim is closer and when others also disobey.
Leads to the 'agentic state' and give up our freedom of thought as 'others will take the blame.'
We could question how far taking part in an experiment is truely replicable of real life atrocities (i.e you feel 'safe' in an experiment- ideology and culture may be important)
Milgram's paper
Milgram accepted discourse was important but his approach did not allow him to examine interaction.
Gibson shows p's used rhetoric to 'escape'- negotiate and argue
Also shows how the experimenter did not always follow the exact procedure- implications for reliability.
Shows that the 4th prod was ineffective as it reminded the participants they had a choice.
So the agentic state, in several ways, is contradicted.
Is it 'cognitive' obedience or is it a case of using argument to convince and persuade?
Chapter starts with the Dylan Yount suicide and 'crowd baiting.'
Le Bon- (1895) people become primitive because of anonymity in crowd.
Le Bon has been criticised for his political ideology in influencing his research (sitauted knowledges)
More contemporary accounts:
Deindividuation- people see themselves as immersed within the crowd and not individual.
However, anonymity does not always lead to agression (Johnson and Downing (1979)) study- Ku Klux Klan and nurses uniforms showed different behaviour.
So crowd behaviour seems to depend on social norms (situated knowledges)
crowd behaviour can be very organised
Organised behaviour at the St Paul's Riots (Reicher, 2011)
A DP perspective is introduced.
Full transcript