Drawing on Appropriate Evidence from Chapter 5, Describe How Groups Can Influence People in Positive and Negative Ways

In this essay my aim is to describe how groups can influence people in a positive and
negative ways. I will also aim to show how people usually conform to a similar way of
behaviour as other members of the same group.
My first example comes from an experiment held by Muzafer Sherif et al (1961), called
‘Robbers Cave’. This experiment involves two groups of boys in which a tournament is set
up between the two. What became apparent in the experiment was the competitive nature
of the groups. In a positive way the groups showed loyalty, solidarity and cooperation,
which are known as ‘Social identification’ – this is how the ‘membership of social groups
forms a significant part of the self-concept so that someone responds as a group member
rather than an individual ( Spoors et al 2011 pg 124)’. However positive those aspects were
the experiment also showed negative influences of being hostile towards the other group by
name calling, signs of aggression and prejudice, which are known as ‘ Social Comparison –
comparing the group you are part of to the other.
My second example is from the Zimbardo Experiment, Haney et al, 1973. In this experiment
two groups of men were given roles to play. One group took on the role of guards while the
other took on the role of prisoners. The experiment was due to last two weeks, however
was stopped after six days due to the participants taking their roles too seriously. The group
of men who were playing the role of the guards became ‘increasingly brutal and abusive’
(Spoors et al 2011, pg 117), while the group who were playing the role of the prisoners
became ‘passive and showed signs of emotions disturbance (Spoors et al 2011, pg 117). The
finding of this experiment show how fast people who are not prone to violence or
emotional disturbance can change due to the roles they play.
To play the roles the way that they did could have come from their ‘schema’ which might
have come from...