Sandusky Scandal Analysis

Topics: Social psychology, Cognitive dissonance / Pages: 8 (1956 words) / Published: Apr 21st, 2016
Many North Americans are familiar with the show, What Would You Do? with host John Quiñones. This television show covers sensitive topics ranging from areas of race or gender discrimination, stealing, sexual or violent abuse, and many more. Then, the average citizen is put to the test to see if he or she has what it takes to respond to the situation. Sitting in the comfort of their homes, many people say that they would stand up and defend for justice, but it is easier to think that when one is not currently in the midst of the situation. People are often quick to judge others and label people who do not respond as “bad people.” However, there are other situations to consider.
The Penn State University scandal, for example, hid the horrendous
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Conformity is powerful social influence. The Sandusky scandal demonstrates the power of informational social influence. Psychologist Sherif first looked at this form of conformity. He found that people changed their ideas in order to fit in with the group. At Penn State: Paterno, Curley, and Schultz all had the chance to speak up when they heard about the reporting’s of Sandusky behavior. However, due to informational social influence they saw that neither one of them were coming forward even though they were all privy to the information. They looked towards each other to see how to behave and decided to act in line with the group. At one point Paterno commented, “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way” (Freech 2012). None of the people in authority positions really had an understanding for how to handle or report an incident like this. The power of informational social influence is another component to why no one came forward with a solid …show more content…
The way people are socialized to follow authority and put them in a position of knowing what is best, resolving cognitive dissonance, informational social influence, and agentic shift were all attributions to why these men chose not to report Sandusky. All these theories work within one another and interconnect together. This leads to create a complex, web of thoughts and actions that need to be taken place. However, while in the midst of the web people are in turmoil with themselves judging the best course of action to take, and sometimes their judgement is off based how these concepts come about. Taking the time to learn about the events through a social psychologists’ lens and thinking about the situation critically provides a clearer explanation of the men in this situations actions or lack thereof in this case. Nevertheless, this does not wipe away the fact that these men did know what was happening and act accordingly. These men are morally responsible for their own behaviors. This just provides a bit of perspective to consider how the mind works and how people should think twice before jumping to a dispositional

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