9 ingenious experiments in social psychology

In order to give answers to the strange human issues and solve global problems that psychologists and sociologists had to conduct social experiments, some of which were so unethical that could shock even the animal rights people generally despise people. But without this knowledge we would never understand this strange society.

1 halo Effect


Or, as it is called, «halo effect» is a classic experiment in social psychology. The idea that global evaluations about a person (e.g., nice or not) are transferred into judgments about their specific traits (times cute, so smart). Simply put, people use only the first impression or memorable feature in the assessment of personality. Hollywood stars perfectly demonstrate the halo effect. Because we somehow think that such nice people can’t be idiots. But alas, in reality, they are a little smarter frog manual. Remember yourself in childhood, when the good seemed to be the only people with an attractive appearance, for which many are not very fond of the elderly and actor Alexander Bashirov. In fact, it is the same.

2 Cognitive dissonance

Innovative social psychological experiment of Festinger and Carlsmith held in 1959, gave rise to a phrase that many still do not understand. Best of all it illustrates a case that occurred in 1929, a brilliant surrealist painter Rene Magritte, which is presented to the public a realistic image of a pipe with the caption good, fit the French «This is not a pipe». It’s an awkward feeling when thinking seriously, one of you two is an idiot, and there’s cognitive dissonance.

In theory, dissonance should evoke the desire to change ideas and knowledge in accordance with reality (that is, to stimulate the learning process) or rechecking the incoming information for its accuracy (PAL, of course, joking, but his ultimate goal is to see you its wrath, like Ron Weasley, face). In fact, in the human brain along quite comfortably a different concept. Because people are stupid. The same Magritte, gave the painting the name «Intrigue», was faced with anything not understanding the crowd and critics, who demanded to change the name. 3 robbers Cave In 1954, the Turkish psychologist Muzaffer Sherif set up an experiment «Cave of robbers» in the course of which it came to the fact that children were ready to kill each other.

A group of boys ten to twelve years of good Protestant families were sent to summer camp, operated by psychologists. The boys were divided into two separate groups, which met together only during sports sorevnovanii or other events.

The experimenters provoked a growth of tension between the two groups, in particular, preserving the expense of the competition close in points. Then the Sheriff has created problems like water shortages, requiring both teams to unite and work together in order to reach the goal. Of course, work for all of the guys rallied.In the opinion of the Sheriff, the reduction of tension between any groups should promote awareness of the opposing side in a positive light, encouraging informal, «human contacts between members of conflicting groups, constructive talks between the leaders. However, none of these conditions can be effective on their own. Positive information about the «enemy» is often not taken into account, informal contacts easily turning the conflict, and mutual acquiescence of leaders considered by their supporters as a sign of weakness.

4 The Stanford Prison Experiment


The experiment that inspired to shoot two films and writing novels. It was held to explain the conflicts in correctional institutions in the USA and in the Marines, and at the same time to study the behavior of groups and the importance of the roles in it. The researchers selected a group of 24 male students who were considered healthy, both physically and psychologically. These people have registered to take part in «a psychological study of prison life», for which they were paid$ 15 per day. Half of them randomly became prisoners, and the other half was assigned the role of prison guards. The experiment was played in the basement of the psychology Department at Stanford University, where even created for these purposes, a makeshift jail.

Prisoners were given standard instructions of prison life, which included the preservation of order and the wearing of uniforms. For greater realism, the experimenters even had improvised arrests in the homes of the subjects. The guards never had to use violence against prisoners, but they needed to control the order. The first day passed without incident, but the prisoners rebelled on the second day, barricaded themselves in their cells and not paying attention to the guards. This behavior brought the guards, and they began to separate the «good» prisoners from the «bad» and even began to punish inmates, including public humiliation. Within just a few days, the guards began to show sadistic tendencies and the prisoners fell into a depression and showed signs of severe stress.

5 the obedience Experiment of Stanley Milgram

Don’t tell about it to his boss-the sadist, because in his experiment, Milgram tried to clarify the question: how much suffering is prepared to give ordinary people other completely innocent people, if such infliction of pain is part of their duties? In fact, it explained a huge number of victims of the Holocaust.

Milgram suggested that people by nature tend to obey authority figures, and made the experiment, which was presented as a study of the effect of pain on memory. Each test was divided into the role of «teacher» and «student» who was an actor, so only one person was a real participant. The entire experiment was laid out in such a way that the invited party always got the role of «teacher.» Both were in separate rooms and «teacher» were given to the user. He had to press a button to hit shock the learner every time he gave the wrong answer. Each subsequent wrong answer increased the voltage. In the end, the actor began to complain of pain, accompanying it with a scream.

Milgram found that most participants simply followed orders, continuing to hurt «student». If a subject hesitated, the experimenter demanded the continuation of one of the predefined phrases: «Please continue» «the Experiment requires that you continue»; «it is Absolutely essential that you continue»; «you Have no other choice, you must continue.» What is most interesting: if the current was conducted to the students, they would simply not have survived. 6 the Effect of false consensus People tend to think that everyone else think exactly as they do, which causes the impression of non-existent consensus. Many believe that their own thoughts, beliefs and passions is much more prevalent in society than it really is.

The effect of false consensus investigated three psychologist: Ross, Greene and house. In one experiment, they asked participants to read a message about the conflict, which had two solutions.Then the participants had to say which of the two options would choose themselves, and which option most will choose, as well as to characterize people who choose one or the other option.The researchers found that regardless of which option was chosen by the participants, they generally believed that most people will also choose it. In addition, it was found that people tend to give negative descriptions of people who choose an alternative.

7 social identity Theory

The behavior of people in groups is an extremely fascinating process. As soon as people gather into groups, they begin to do odd things: copy the behavior of other group members, look for leader to fight other groups, and some formed their own groups and begin to fight for supremacy.

It and confirmed the above mentioned experiment «cave of robbers». 8 the bystander Effect


In social psychology the bystander effect led to the surprising conclusion that the presence of other people hinders us from helping in emergency situations. In 1968, John Darley and Bibb Latane studied the behavior of witnesses to crimes. This brought them to the violent murder of kitty Genovese, a young woman murdered in broad daylight in front of passers, but nobody is saved.

The authors of the experiment have locked people in the room alone and in a group, and then blew smoke. Ironically, one participant is much faster reported the smoke than in the group. The decision was influenced by the environment (if the place is familiar — the probability of assistance above), questioned whether assistance to the victim or with him everything is in order, and the presence of other in range of the crime.

9 Social identity People are born conformists: we like to dress up and often without a second thought copy each other’s behavior. But how far ready to go man? Is he not afraid of losing «me»?

It was trying to figure out the Solomon Asch. The experiment participants were seated in the audience. They were shown in order two cards: the first shows one vertical line for a second or three, only one of which is the same length as the line on the first card. The task of the students is quite simple — you need to answer the question of which of three lines on the second card has the same length as the line shown in the first card.

The student needed to see 18 pairs of cards and, consequently, to answer 18 questions, and each time he answered the last in the group. But the party was in the group of actors who first gave the correct answer, and then started to give obviously wrong. Ash wanted to check with the participant to answer them and also give the wrong answer or will answer correctly accepting the fact that will be the only otherwise responded to this question.Thirty-seven of the 50 participants agreed with the wrong answer of the group, despite physical evidence to the contrary. Ash went to the deception in this experiment without getting informed consent of its participants, so these studies cannot be reproduced today.