The audience effect otherwise known as social facilitation is the effect the passive presence of a spectator will effect a personâ€™s behaviour. For example people are more likely to wash their hands in a public bathroom if they arenâ€™t alone. Travis (1925, cited Simply Psychology 2011) produced an experiment whereby 20 participants had to complete a hand eye coordination test both on their own and whilst being watched 16 out of 20 participants produced better results in the watched condition.
The co action effect is when a personâ€™s performance is positively affected when surrounded by other people performing the same task for example children produce better work when in a ...view middle of the document...
Normal people were put into a prison environment and given either the role of prisoner or guard. Zimbardo concluded that the roles people play can contour their behaviour and attitudes especially when these roles have strong stereotypes.
Deindividuation is the loss of individual identity when gaining the social identity of a group of people. For example soldiers are able to kill children in war but would not have the ability to do that as a civilian citizen. Factors that make deindividuation more likely to happen are anonymity, diffused responsibility and larger group size. Diener et al gave trick or treeters the ability to steal candy at Halloween he found that when children came to the door as part of a group they were likely to take larger amounts of candy.
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Simply Psychology, 2011. Social Facilitation. [Online] Available at:
Simply Psychology, 2008. Zimbardo - Stanford Prison Experiment. [Online] Available at:
AP Psychology, 2014. Asch. [Online] Available at:
Stanley Milgram was interested in how easily normal people could be influenced into committing atrophic things such as the Germans in world war two. Milgramâ€™s aim was to research how far people would go in obeying an instruction if it involved causing harm to another person.
40 males from the new haven area where recruited to take part in the lab experiment. The participant each drew straws with Milgram to determine who would become learner or teacher this was fixed and the participant would always become the teacher. An actor dressed as the experimenter lead the teacher into a lab room containing an electric shock generator whilst the learner to a room where he was strapped to an electric chair whilst. The teacher was then told to test the learner on a list of word pairs previously memorised by giving four different partner pair choices. The answers where mainly answered purposefully wrong. The teacher is informed to give an electric shock when thereâ€™s a mistake made increasing the volume each time. The generator had 30 switches ranging between 15 and 450 volts. When the teacher refused to initiate a shock the experimenter would give a series of four prods to ensure they continued.
65% of participants proceeded to 450 volts whilst all participants proceeded to 300 volts.
Milgram concluded from these results that people are likely to follow orders to harm a person when given by an authority figure even to the extent of killing an innocent human being.
Evaluation of the study
The main weakness of the experiment was the ethics. Milgram deceived his participants, he did not protect them from distress and the prods implied they had no right to withdraw. The high level of control Milgram over the experiment ensured that there was no environmental variables and ensures a cause and effect relationship can be established.