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Social in the News

Page history last edited by Jeremy Houska 7 years, 9 months ago Saved with comment

Main -> In the News: Social

 




Primed for Controversy (New York Times, 2/23/2013) (courtesy of Mike Palij via TIPS 02/23/2013)

“In 2005, the writer Malcolm Gladwell introduced readers to the phenomenon of “thinking without thinking” — the mental work we all do automatically — in his blockbuster book “Blink.” … But now, goal-priming experiments are coming under scrutiny — and in the process, revealing a problem at the heart of psychological research itself.”

 

Reality Show Contestants Willing to Kill in French Experiment (Washington Post, 03/18/2010) (Thanks Brooke Bennett-Day, Ron Shapiro!)

Unlike some of the more recent replications of Milgram's work that have dialed the severity back a bit, this one appears to push it further and found an 80% compliance rate. Only 16 of the 80 participants who thought they were contestants in a reality TV show failed to complete the task. 

 

How did people at Penn State defend a child abuser? Blame groupthink (Time, 07/17/2012)

"While Big Football certainly played a role, what happened at Penn State is best explained by a psychological phenomenon known as groupthink..."

Recession Elicits 'The Lipstick Effect' in Women (Bloomburg Business Week, 6/29/2012; 1 minute, 25 seconds)

Scarlet Fu briefly describes the Hill and colleagues (2012) article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in which female participants were primed with information about the "worst recession since the '30s" and reported an increase in spending for beauty products. Men did not spend money on products at all. The article discusses an evolutionary approach to consumer behavior. Discussion: Students could be asked for alternative explanations to explain the study findings and reported 5% increase in cosmetics spending during the recession.

 

One Man Says No to Harsh Interrogation Techniques. (NPR, 2/14/2011, 25 mins) 

"In a conversation with Dave Davies on NPR's Fresh Air, Alexander details the interrogation tactics he used while conducting his kill-or-capture missions in the area of Iraq where Zafar was thought to be hiding. 'The first step of any interrogation is to understand your detainee, understand what uniquely motivates them as an individual,' he explains. '[You have to understand] why they joined al-Qaida or another insurgent group, why they decided to pick up arms. And if you can analyze them and figure out those motivations, then you can craft an appropriate approach and incentive, but not until you've done that.'"

Discussion question: Identify two or more social psychological concepts in this interview.

 

Game of Death: France’s Shocking TV Experiment (Time, 3/17/2010) 

"The documentary has generated a massive amount of attention — and naturally, courted controversy — because of the dilemma that faced contestants on a fake game show in the film: Would they allow themselves to be cajoled into delivering near-lethal electrical charges to fellow players, or rather follow their better instincts and refuse?” 

Discussion questions: Compare and contrast what they did for this documentary with Stanley Milgram’s original obedience research.  In what ways is it similar?  In what ways is it different?  Was Milgram’s obedience research ethical?  Was what they did for this documentary ethical?  Why or why not?

 

Monkeys, Candy, and Cognitive Dissonance (NY Times 1/27/2010)

M. Keith Chen, an economist, argues that the cognitive dissonance research suffers from the Monty Hall problem.  Louisa C. Egan, Laurie R. Santos and Paul Bloom ran an experiment that they say overcomes the Monty Hall problem and provides support for the theory of cognitive dissonance.  Chen thinks the design is better, but still doesn't solve the problem. 

Discussion questions: What is cognitive dissonance?  What is the Monty Hall problem, and what is problematic for the theory of cognitive dissonance?  How does the new Egan, Bloom, and Santos experiment address this issue?  Why is Chen still not satisfied?

 Journal article: Egan, L. C., Bloom, P., & Santos, L. R. (2010). Choice-induced preferences in the absence of choice: Evidence from a blind two choice paradigm with young children and capuchin monkeys. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 204-207. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.08.014

 

Growing Number of 'Project X' Party Copycats Lead to Arrests Nationwide (ABC News 3/17/2012)

Multiple arrests have been made across the country as a growing trend of young people have tried to emulate Project X, a new film about a high school house party that rages out of control.  Police say more and more teens have started emulating the film in real life with throwing "Project X parties."

Discussion questions: 1.) How would social psychologists explain this phenomenon? 2. a.) Suppose you take the role of law enforcement or that of the film studio.  What types of persuasion strategies/ compliance techniques would you use to prevent these dangerous copycat parties? 2. b.) Suppose you take the role of high school principal. What kinds of persuasion strategies/ compliance techniques would you use to prevent these dangerous copycat parties? 3.) How do these strategies differ? Why? 4.) What are some of the obstacles to changing the attitudes and behavior of high school students? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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