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Charles Manson: A Look at Social Psychology

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Ariel Middleton

on 8 May 2014

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Transcript of Charles Manson: A Look at Social Psychology

Charles Manson: A Look at Social Psychology
And who did he become?
Marriage and children
Prison... and more prison.
1967: Released from prison, went to California, began to get a following through his music... and easy access to drugs.
1968: Members of increasing Manson Family move to Spahn Ranch.
Helter Skelter
Attribution Theory
Defined as:
The theory that we explain someone's behavior by crediting either the situation or the person's disposition.
Internal Disposition
External Situations
Example: Teacher wonders if hostility reflects agressive personality (internal) or response to stress or abuse (external).
Attribution Error
Defined as:
The tendency for observers, when analyzing other's behavior, to underestimate the impact of situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition.
Example: Person may be extremely quiet in class (presumed as shy, introverted), but in school play is more comfortable, loud, and outgoing.
Effects of Attribution
Our attributions have important consequences.
Should be made carefully.
What is Helter Skelter?
Took concepts from various religions and made own belief system.
Beatle's song "Helter Skelter" and the White Album.
Race War: Summer 1969
When this "race war" did not occur, Manson ordered his followers to show them how to do it.
He then ordered the murders of eight people.
Disagreeable child: lied, blamed, center of attention, manipulative.
Mother was only 15 years old, earned a 5 year jail sentence when Charles was 4.
Had a strong love for music, but also for guns and knives.
Once mother got out of jail, she tried to fix their life, but by that point Charles had begun stealing and cutting school. Out of desperation, his mother shipped him off to a Catholic school.
Who was Charles Manson?
Attribution and Manson
America attributed Manson's actions strictly to internal disposition.
Many ignored external situation (childhood) of Manson as well as Manson family members.
Some were affected from internal dispositions, some external.
Squeaky Fromme
Tex Watson
Patricia Krenwinkle
Internal/ External
Susan Atkins
Leslie Van Houten

Obedience: Complying with social pressures and outright commands.

1. No role models for defiance.

2. Manson so close to kids, stable, father-figure for most, authority figure.
Group Polarization
The enhancement of a group's prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group.
Family meetings, discussions, acid trips.
Social Influence
Parental models of aggression
Minimal father involvement
Rejection from group
Exposure to violent media
Psychological Influence
Dominating behavior
Aggressive role models
Rewards for aggressive behavior.
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