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Week 5 Discussion – Social Psychology

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The field of social psychology includes a long history of fascinating research, some of which prompted the establishment of the American psychological Association’s Code of Ethics.

For this week’s discussion we will employ our analytical skills to evaluate four articles that look at pivotal social psychological research.  Through our evaluation of this research, we will apply our knowledge of social psychological concepts, scientific methods, and science driven ethics. 

Your Task

Part 1:  Read:  Read the four articles provided this week.  They are included in the Week 5 Learning Resources. Links to access the articles are included below as well.   

Part 2: Main Post:  In order to create a focused community of learning, this week we will exchange perspectives and understanding. This will be achieved as follows:

Select the article you would like to analyze and discuss its historical impact, and its influence on social psychology today. Read the article carefully and compose your responses to the assigned questions, provided below. Your responses should reflect your unique, personal, response to the study addressed.  [For example:  If you were out with your fellow social psychologists, deliberating the qualities of the study over coffee what points would you bring to that debate?]  Once you have crafted your answers, post them here as your main post to this week’s discussion.  

Question Group 1: For Studies 1, 2, and 4:

1. Briefly describe the problem (or research question), the hypothesis, the procedure (participants, methods) and results of the study.

2. Do you see any potential problems with this study, i.e., methodological issues, ethical concerns, etc.?

3. Do you agree with the authors’ conclusions?  Are there other factors we should consider?

4. In your opinion, could this study be repeated today and with the same results?  Why or why not?

5. From what you know of social psychology, or other pertinent psychology topics, why might this study have been important?

Question Group 2: For Study 3:

1) What is the Abilene paradox?  Describe some of the symptoms of organizations caught in the paradox.

2) Tell us about one of the case studies that Harvey (1974) describes on pages 67-69.

3) Harvey discusses 5 factors when analyzing the paradox.  Discuss at least two of these and their importance in the paradox.

4) On page 73, Harvey discusses several terms that describe the risk factors of his model (A Possible Abilene Bypass). Discuss one of these as it relates to his model and to your understanding of these terms in social psychology.

5) How would someone go about diagnosing the paradox?  What suggestions does Harvey make?

6) What are his recommendations for coping with the paradox?

Part 3:  Peer follow-up:  Respond to two of your classmates’ postings, selecting two who discuss an article different from the one you selected. Provide constructive, thoughtful feedback designed to build an engaging dialog.  To achieve this, ask questions and share insights that will contribute to a broader analysis of the topic(s) at hand.

— — — — — —

ARTICLES

Study 1: Conformity (Asch, 1955)

Option 1:  Read this article.  If you select this article as your feature post, respond to Question Group 1 (listed above).

Asch, S. E. (1955). Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, 193, 31–35. Estate of Sara Love. http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/0155060678_rathus/ps/ps18.html

Study 2: Bystander Intervention in Emergencies (Darley & Latane, 1968)

Option 2:  Read this article.  If you select this article as your feature post, respond to Question Group 1 (listed above).

Please click on the following link.  You may have to enter your UMGC log in information to gain access to this UMGC Library resource.  The PDF file is on the left-hand side of the page.

Darley, J. M., & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 8(4), 377-383. http://ezproxy.umgc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=16645191&site=eds-live&scope=site

Study 3: The Abiline Paradox:  The Management of Agreement (Harvey, 1974)

Option 3:  Read this article.  If you select this article as your feature post, respond to Question Group 2 (listed above).

Whereas, most of us are familiar with the bystander effect and the Stanford Prison Experiment, this study is quite different for those of us who have not had courses in organizational psychology, organizational behavior, or business management.  As you will discover, many of the concepts we have learned early on in introductory psychology, social psychology and other courses come into play in this case.  See what you think.

Please click on the following link.  You may have to enter your UMGC log in information to gain access to this UMGC Library resource.  The PDF file is on the left-hand side of the page.

Harvey, J. B. (1974). The Abilene Paradox: The management of agreement. Organizational Dynamics, 3(1), 63 – 80. doi: 10.1016/0090-2616(74)90005-9 http://ezproxy.umgc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=5140990&site=eds-live&scope=site

Study 4: A Pirandellian Prison (Zimbardo et al., 1973)

Option 4:  Read this article.  If you select this article as your feature post, respond to Question Group 1 (listed above).

Zimbardo, P. G., Haney, C., Banks, C., & Jaffe, D. (1973, April 8). A Pirandellian prison: The mind is a formidable jailer. New York Times Magazine,pp. 38-60. http://www.prisonexp.org/pdf/pirandellian.pdf

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