Power of Situations in Influencing Individual Behaviour Mostly, the assumption that a person’s behaviour is determined only by individual conscience is a fundamental mistake made while judging other people’s behaviour…
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Social psychology challenges the most basic assumptions of human behaviour and nature, and to a big extent the predictability of the social world. Psychologists look at the different kinds of situations in the world in a very distinct and different way from that of other people and they apply the beliefs and insights of psychology to the unfolding social events around them. Individuals respond differently to social influences by either choosing to comply, identifying, complying or internalizing. Compliance is seen as a form of agreement to the particular situation at hand, but deep from within the person might be in no way convinced. Situations in a big way determine the kind response a person will extend to particular situation. In the text, Ross argues that the type of information about personality that most of the people would possess before predicting personality proves to be of relatively little value. Research has indicated that when faced in certain situations such as these, it is not possible to predict with accuracy how particular people will respond. Situational behaviour in relation to an individual’s actions can be demonstrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The story is about a Jewish man who was travelling to Jericho, but bandits attacked him and left him lying half-dead by the roadside. A priest passes him and offers him no help, until a Good Samaritan whose stereotype hated the Jews stopped by and offered the man assistance. The study experimenters of social philosophy recruited 67 students from the Princeton Theological Seminary, telling them that it a study about religious education and vocations (Hoyk, Hersey 49). Unknown to these participants, they were to be subjected to their own personal Good Samaritan attributes. The requirement was that they would fill questionnaires on their personality then walk to a nearby room to give their talk. On the doorway, a man was lying doubled over with his eyes closed and coughing. All the participants would not escape the site of the distressed man and the biggest question was, would they be willing to offer any assistance to the man? In their assumption, the experimenters thought that it would be dependent on how much the participants were hurried, and thus devised a way of manipulating them, by giving each a map and one of the instructions which either stated that the participant was late and had been a few minutes late. Another stated that the assistance was waiting for the participant, yet the other stated that it would take another few minutes before the interviewers were ready, but had the option of proceeding over. This created conditions of high, medium, and low hurry and thus some students left the office thinking that they needed to be quick, others less while the rest felt relaxed. Each of the three conditions were was also divided into two, half of them were required to give a talk on the Good Samaritan and the other half on prospects for seminary graduates. This helped the experimenters to assess both the effects of hurry and the talk they were to give on students’ helping behaviours. The outcome of the experience was classified into two classes, which included in a hurry and could not stop and judge on context. From the results, only 40% of the students offered some form of assistance to the people, with a few stepping over the apparently injured man, but it was evident that the amount of hurry they were in had a
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