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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

conformity’

The Prison Studies

Relaunched: Philip Zimbardo’s ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ (Craig Haney, Curtis Banks & Philip Zimbardo, 1973), is one of the most important, controversial and ethically dubious psychological studies ever undertaken – something of a classic bête noire on a par with some of Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments. It raises issues around key psychological concepts such as the identification process in conformity and deindividuation – along with a plethora of ethical issues. Thus, it is a critically-important study for a number of reasons – not least because, according to Zimbardo, it tells us how people will conform to a group norm. Sometimes with very disturbing results. Some 30 years later Steve Reicher & Alex Haslam (2006) carried out a partial replication of Stanford – their study is often referred to as the ‘BBC Prison Study’ because the BBC funded the study and edited it into a series which was broadcast in 2006. The outcome of their study was quite different to that of Zimbardo. However,  these different outcomes can be explained via complementary psychological theories. The Stanford Prison Experiment Zimbardo was interested in testing the dispositional hypothesis that widespread problems in American prisons were due to the intrinsic nature of the prison guards and the prisoners. It… Read More

Conformity & Obedience #2

PART 2 More research into conformity  Timothy Williams & Shunya Sogon (1984) looked at Japanese students belonging to a sports club and found that normative influence was much greater when participants cared about the opinions of other group members. The higher level of conformity found by Williams & Sogon may reflect the collectivistic nature of Japanese society and, therefore, may not be generalisable beyond similar societies. However, it shows clearly the influence of fitting in with those you with whom you have a belonging connection – that connection fulfilling the needs of the PURPLE vMEME. Supporting this, Paul McGhee &, Richard Teevan (1967) found that students high in the need for affiliation were more likely to conform. Dominic Abrams et al (1990) found an in-group influence, proposing that their 1st-year Psychology students would show more conformity if the other group members were perceived to be in the same in-group (Psychology students from a nearby university) than if they were from an out-group (Ancient History students from the same university). Accordingly, there was conformity on 58% of trials when in the presence of an in-group but only 8% with an out-group. Morton Bogdonoff et al (1962) found arousal levels were high in all participants once they were faced with the opposing judgements of… Read More

The Use of SDi in Psychotherapy

‘The Use of SDi in Therapy’ is one of 2 contributions commissioned from me by Tom Christensen for his compendium, Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Learning (Integral Publishers, August 2015). Originally the work was to be entitled ‘SDi Applied’ as Tom wanted to present chapters which reflected Don Beck’s ongoing development of Clare W Graves’ research. Accordingly, Tom wanted the primary term used to be SDi rather than Spiral Dynamics or the ‘Graves Model’. Although I readily acknowledge my debt to Don Beck (and Chris Cowan, for that matter), I have never operated under the SDi umbrella, preferring to use terms such as the Gravesian approach. To maintain the integrity of the piece as published, I have retained the SDi terminology. However, readers should know that effectively I mean ‘Gravesian’. Tom ended up with so many strong contributions – including from the likes of Said E Dawlabani, Elza Maalouf, Barbara N Brown and Fred Krawchuk – that he and Integral Publishers split the material into 2 volumes: the first on Systems Change and the second on Individual Learning. Both my contributions are in the second book. Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi) is often thought of as a means of addressing large-scale issues such as inter-racial conflict, socio-economic malaise and global power plays. This is the way Don Beck himself has used the model in the past, to great… Read More

Lives on the Spiral #2

PART 2 Work And Spiral Dynamics integral Prior to the Beck & Cowan workshops, career-wise I was very much driven by BLUE. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the household I grew up in, once I had gotten over the peak of my hippie rebellion, unconsciously perhaps my YELLOW taking in the consequences of all that GREEN-liberated RED indulgence – I settled easily into BLUE ways of thinking and ended up working as a consultant on quality standards like ISO 9000 and Investors in People. Unfortunately I very much approached this work, not from the angle of business improvement but from the perspective that what was required was rigid conformity to idealised models of business performance. My precision and attention to detail made me effective in getting organisations to meet their desired standard but I did little or nothing to improve business performance. One printing house in London threw out the project because I was tying them up in paperwork. That was typical of BLUE’s emphasis on form over function. That motivation was taken to the extremes of punishing the sinner when, during a procedural audit in a care home, I castigated a nurse for not signing the care plan in the right place.… Read More

Social Change #3

PART 3 Lower Right Quadrant Here we will look at some key structural factors which create pressures for social change… Pandemic The single biggest factor in the short-term is the Coronavirus crisis. At the time of writing, the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control has recorded  infections and  deaths. With no reliable vaccine in sight, the virus running rampant across the United States and much of the less developed world and even European countries battling to contain spikes in infections, there is no way of knowing how long the virus will run, how many people will be killed or sustain long-term harm to their health and what the damage will be economically and socially. What is possible in democracies, especially those that have swung to the right in recent years, is that voters may seek to throw out those leaders who have proved hopeless incompetent in efforts to battle the virus. Donald Trump is the first major leader who will face such a test in November 2020. Other factors which can influence change are:- Population Growth and Composition Changes in the size and composition of the population can have important effects for other aspects of a society. One example of… Read More

Robber’s Cave

Relaunched: 4 March 2018 The Robber’s Cave study is on a par with Stanley Milgrim’s ‘Obedience Experiments’ and Philip Zimbardo’s infamous prison study at Stanford University (Craig Haney, Curtis Bank & Philip Zimbardo, 1973), both for its sheer audaciousness and what it tells us about situational pressures to produce normative influence. Muzafer Sherif had been a growing force in the development of Social Psychology ever since his ‘autokinetic effect’ experiments in 1935 had developed the concept of conformity that would come to be known as informational influence. In fact, Sherif could be considered one of the founders of Social Psychology. His work was also highly thought of by interactionist sociologists, becoming the first psychologist to receive the Cooley-Mead Award for contributions to Social Psychology from the American Sociological Association. By the end of the 1940s his interest in understanding social processes, particularly social norms and social conflict had led him to conceive of developing a field experiment in which pubescent boys would be nurtured into forming 2 distinctive teams with strong group identities to see how conflict between the 2 groups could be exacerbated and then reduced. This would be the basis of the famous and challenging Robber’s Cave study of 1954 (Muzafer Sherif et al, 1961).… Read More

Islamification: Europe’s Challenge

Relaunched: 28 November 2015 This feature was originally published as ‘Islamification: Britain’s Challenge’ in 9 June 2013. It is now updated, expanded and relaunched under its revised title to reflect the dramatic changes that have taken place since the original publication and to add more of a European dimension. Islamification is a highly-emotive word. For me personally, it instantly conjures up images of English Defence League (EDL) demonstrators with their ‘No more mosques!’ placards But Islamification should be a word that stirs the emotions, one way or the other. By definition (WordSense.eu), it is the process of converting a region or a society to Islam. If being in a society that is taken over by Islamists (political supporters of fundamentalist Islam) and introduces Sharia law is something you would welcome, then impending Islamification should give you comfort and possibly even joy. If, like me, you enjoy many of the freedoms (and indulgences) of living in what is increasingly a post-Christian, secular society, then Islamification may fill you with apprehension. In an Islamified Europe, non-Muslims would be ‘dhimmi’: second class citizens. So…is Islamification happening? If it is, how does Europe and, particularly for me, Britain deal with it? (Or does it deal with us?!?) Islam is… Read More

Conformity & Obedience

Relaunched: 21 September 2020 Conformity and obedience are 2 principal and related topics of study in the psychological area of Social Influence. The difference between the 2 concepts can be summed up as:- obedience is a response to authority but conformity is a response to group norms those subject to authority obey those in authority but conformity usually is to peer groups obedience results from the exercise of power by those with the ability to enforce their commands but conformity is associated with need for acceptance and knowing what to do the behaviour of those obeying may be very different to the behaviour of those in authority but conformity behaviour is similar to that of peers the demands for obedience are usually explicit whereas going with the group ‘flow’ is often implicit Conformity Morton Deutsch & Harold Gerard (1955) described 2 types of conformity, Informational Influence is when someone  conforms to a group norm because they believe this is the right thing to do in the circumstances. Deutsch & Gerrard (p629) say it is “an influence to accept information obtained from another as evidence about reality.” According to Herbert Kelman (1958), the desire to be correct produces the process of internalisation. He… Read More