PARTA:Hi folks, for this assignment please read this article (Links to an external site.) (a physical copy was handed out to students at the end of lecture today), and use the reading to answer the following questions. As always, please number your responses to help me grade.

NOTE : this text comes Robert Sapolsky’s Behave. (Links to an external site.)There’s a lot of information here, and many terms and ideas may be unfamiliar. Rather than read every single word or understand every concept, this assignment is meant to guide you through some of the major ideas.

Scan through the part of the reading titled, “Neural Bases” : This section reviews how our biology influences how people respond to power and authority. Lots of jargon here, and you don’t need to memorize every “fact” – just try to extract the main ideas.

  1. What’s something you learned from this section (what seems to be the main point)?
  2. What’s a question you have or something that confused / interested you and you’d like to learn more about? Then, use your favorite search engine to look up a term, idea, concept, or study that was confusing or interesting to you. What resource did you find? What did you learn? What new or remaining questions do you have?

Read about the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) : This section reviews one of the most famous and controversial studies in psychology. If you are interested, you can watch a video clip with footage from the Stanford Prison Study (Links to an external site.) here.

  1. What did the original SPE find? Have you ever experienced this phenomenon in some real-life situation (either in your own personal experience or in the news?)
  2. What did the replication study find? Have you ever experienced this phenomenon in some real-life situation (either in your own personal experience or in the news?)

Read “Modulators of the Pressures to Conform and Obed” : Focus on the ways in which “incrementalism”, “diffusion of responsibility”, “anonymity”, and “de-individuation” can influence conformity.

  1. Choose ONE of these terms. Describe or define this term in your own words, come up with an example (from your life or real-life) of this term, and explain how we can (or should) use knowledge of this term.
  2. What questions about this term (or part of the reading) do you have?

Overall thoughts : a few final thoughts about the reading.

  1. Which of the effects of power / authority was the MOST surprising to you? Which was the LEAST? Why?
  2. How are these readings going? Interesting, challenging, etc? Anything else that you think I should know or want to discuss in class?


In lecture, we discussed the difference between normative social influence (e.g., peer pressure) and informational social influence (e.g., social modeling). For this assignment, I’d like you to complete the following.

YOUR POST : describe TWO times in which you were influenced by others – one INFORMATIONAL social influence and one NORMATIVE social influence. Give enough information for others to understand the situation, but do not label what type of influence this was.

YOUR REPLY : reply to another student’s post, and identify which example was normative and which example was informational social influence (or some combination of the two).

I’ve posted an example to help get y’all started :).

what’s up class, I’m going to give TWO examples.

EXAMPLE #1 : soooo, in middle school there was trend of wearing your backpack as LOW as it could go (on both shoulders). people had to duct tape the straps so they wouldn’t slip off. this was not a comfortable way to wear your backpack, but everyone was doing it so I thought it would be a good way to do it to.

EXAMPLE #2 : my best friend in elementary school was really into magic the gathering, and started hanging out with other kids who were into magic the gathering. I started to play magic the gathering too just so I didn’t get excluded, ever though I wasn’t that into the game. (Not because I was too cool, I just couldn’t afford the fancy cards and so always lost. I think I still my deck somewhere…)

REPLY TO EXAMPLE: I have a deck too! Let’s play sometime.

Example #1 is INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE, since others were modeling that behavior for you. I think #2 would be NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE, because you didn’t want to get excluded by not participating in the game that was valued.

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