Describe How Groups Can Influence People in Positive and Negative Ways.

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  • Topic: Stanford prison experiment, Muzafer Sherif, Milton Keynes
  • Pages : 3 (970 words )
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  • Published : March 1, 2011
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Describe how groups can influence people in positive and negative ways.

We as people have many different roles within our life, these roles serve many different purposes. We also we find we belong to different groups in which we play our different roles, this makes up our social identity. It is these groups that can have a negative or a positive effect on ourselves. We can be part of the “in group” or the “out group” depending on somebody's experience of the membership of that group, sometimes groups maintain an us and them mentality when it comes to being part of it. The norms of the group are expected to be adhered to by members, and this can lead to members being expected to conform, non conformity can often lead to role conflict and group pressure to follow the rules, and ultimalty if the overall effect is negative or positive.

The Zimbardo experiment ,Philip Zimbardo (1971) Starting with psychology, Milton Keynes, Open University,An example of a negative influence on people. Zimbardo and his colleagues set up an experiment in a prison environment where a group of males were randomly selected to the role of “guard” or “prisoner”. The experiment was scheduled to last for 2 weeks, but had to be stopped after 6 days because the participants had taken their roles too seriously, this is because the “guards” had become increasingly brutal and and abusive, and the “prisoners” were showing signs of emotional disturbance. This an example of how negatively groups can influence us as individuals in that the participants role and behaviour was changed according to the group they were assigned to. The “guards” and also the “prisoners” may have been influenced by previous perceptions of the role of a prison guards and also prisoners, Jail itself is not a positive experience, and the general perception is that a person is sent there as a punishment. The “guards” and the “prisoners” may have been influenced as to the group norms, by things such as films, TV or...
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