How do social roles and the environment affect behavior, attitudes and beliefs.

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Angela Amu
HSB4U
Ms.Lanza
February 12th, 2014

How do social roles and the environment affect behaviour, attitudes and beliefs?

Our roles in social institutions and our various environments have a huge influence on our behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. When placed in an extreme environment, individuals usually begin to stress and feel unsafe. When assigned to authoritative roles, indivuals in toxic environments tend to act aggressive and arbitrarily in order to maintain control and avoid any form of harm directed at them. When placed in an extreme environment, one tends to assume that their values and morals can overcome the harsh situations in that environment. Unfortunately the sad reality is that these extreme environments usually take control over one’s behaviour and beliefs. This was proved in various experiments conducted such as Milgram’s Experiment on Obedience and Conformity and Zimbardo’s Experiment on the “Pathology of Prisoners”.

Stanley Milgram’s Experiments on Obedience and Conformity.

Under certain circumstances ordinary individuals, with no prior sadistic or violent history, can be pressured and convinced into harming others. These circumstances arise when the individuals committing the harmful acts are forced into believing that they are not going to be held accountable for any of the acts committed. Milgram’s experiment on Obedience and Conformity demonstrates this idea. Milgram’s experiment involved a researcher dressed in a lab coat, who instructed a subject referred to as the teacher to teach a pair of words to the subject known as the learner. Under instructions given by the researcher, the teacher was to administer an electric shock to the learner, whenever the answer he/ she gave was inaccurate. The severities of the shocks administered were to increase with each wrong answer given by the learner. Milgram found that majority of the participants administered the highest level of the shock, despite the agonizing pleas and

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