1. Have you ever changed a strongly held attitude? What caused the change for you? I am fiercely afraid of large animals by nature, but “aggressive” dogs in particular, especially dogs associated with negative behaviors such as Rottweiler’s and Pit Bulls. I had this attitude for as long as I can remember growing up, until my father bought my brother and I a Rottweiler puppy. We nurtured and played with the puppy and watched it grow, and it quickly became a member of the family. Our dog was protective of us, but never hurt myself or anyone else, and changed my attitude towards large dogs.
2. Have you ever done something in a group that you would not have done if you were alone? What happened? How did you feel? What have you learned from this chapter that might help you avoid this behavior next time? I honestly cannot think of a situation where I have done something in a group that I would not have otherwise done by myself. I have always had a strong personality and do not conform easily with the opinions of others simply just because. I do however, conform and obey the laws and social norms mentioned such as standing in line in the movie theatre without pushing/shoving. I do think that the ideal of deindividuation is really interesting. Just because you have done something in a group/crowd, I don’t see how you could feel less personally responsible for your actions, you have still performed an action and still have the same amount of accountability for it as you would had you performed the same action as an individual!
3. How do Milgram’s results- particularly the finding that the remoteness of the victim affected obedience- relate to some aspects of modern warfare? I believe this relates to some aspect of modern warfare because we, as Americans in general, are more willing and likely to attack other countries as we feel safe and secure in our homes and daily lives. The thinking that all we have to do is have orders for a nuclear attack or remotely launch a missile and that is the end of it, there are no real or felt consequences to us. These feelings might be different had we been to said place, maybe on a vacation of some sorts, and seen the devastation and deaths that the nuclear attack/ missile had caused.
4. What are some of the similarities between Zimbardo’s prison study and the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq? During Zimbardo’s prison study subjects were assigned as prison guards and inmates. Prison guards all partook in some part of abusing power, and some became progressively sadistic. Prisoners became passive and depressed and even had severe psychological reactions. The human rights abuses that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison under the authority of the American armed forces is a modern day example of what happened in Zimbardo’s experiment. Soldiers were put into the role of prison guards and began to sadistically torment prisoners. There were acts of humiliation that were very similar to what took place in the Stanford Prison Experiment.
5. Do you believe you are free from prejudice? After reading this chapter, which of the many factors that cause prejudice do you think is most important to change? As an African American female, I have found myself on the negative end of prejudice and discrimination and it is a nasty and negative feeling. I think because of this I have made sure not to have the same nasty, negative views of any other identifiable group. Of all the factors that cause prejudice, I think the most important one to change are the mental shortcuts and stereotypes. It is unfair to judge others so quickly, without knowing anything about them; having formed opinions and judgments already is outrageous. Instead of dehumanizing we need to bring back individualism and treat others with respect and humanity.
6. Can you think of situations when the egoistic model of altruism seems most likely correct? What about the empathy-altruism hypothesis? I can relate a situation of egoistic model of altruism to a workplace event. There is a coworker who is looking for someone to cover her shift on December 28, 2014, and I have agreed to work it for her. I have done this because I am hoping for reciprocation later, when I would like to have a day covered for myself! I believe that as a nurse, in this profession, we often hear about our patient’s suffering and it does create empathy and motivates us to do whatever we can for our patients, in their best interest.
Carpenter, S., & Huffman, K. (2013). Visualizing Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.