Thursday, September 20, 2007

Darley & Latane's multi-stage model

Darley & Latane's multi-stage model of the decision-making process that underlies bystander intervention.

Source: Westen, D., Burton, L., & Kowalski, R. (2006). Psychology. Australia: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 743.
Adapted from Darley, J. M., & Latane, B.(1968). When will people help in a crisis? Psychology Today, 2, 54-57, 70-71.

The Story Of James Bulger and the Link to the Bystander Effect

The tragic story of James Bulger is just another example where people failed to recognise a person in need of help and also failed to act. If onlookers had not ignored the three boys, further acted or called the police this crime could have been prevented.

Here is story of James, a warning that this story is extremely unpleasant.

February 12, 1993- Friday afternoon

James Bulger was led from a shopping centre by two ten-year old boys.
‘They look like family, navigating a baby brother past shoppers and distractions. Passersby hardly notice them, unaware’

‘James will be senselessly beaten to death by his ten-year-old captors, who will callously abandon him on the railroad tracks. Along their meandering walk the three children encountered adults. A simple inquiry could have ended the tragedy: “Is the boy okay? Let me help you find his mom. Let me take care of that hurt . . . ” These words and an extended hand from a concerned grown-up might have saved James’s life. And spared his mother unbearable grief.’

They walked down to the canal and under a bridge to an isolated area. At this canal they first hurt James. ‘One of them (each blamed the other) picked James up and dropped him on his head.’ Then his capturers Jon and Robert ran away, afraid.

‘A woman saw James and assumed he was with some other children nearby. Jon and Robert turned around and walked back toward James. “Come on, baby.” In his utter innocence, little James with a big bruise and cut on his forehead, once again followed his tormentors.’

‘They walked back toward Stanley Road and crossed at a busy intersection. Some saw the child with the tear-streaked face. Some saw the cut on his forehead. It made some of them uneasy, but no one knew what to do.’

‘A motorist later saw the boys pulling the baby, against his will. He was crying and did not want to go further. He saw Robert kick the baby in the ribs.’

‘The boys carried James to a grassy plateau by a reservoir where they sat on a step and rested, one person saw Jon punch James, grabbing him and violently shaking him. For some inexplicable reason, this witness pulled her curtains, shutting out the scene.’

‘At the grassy knoll by the reservoir, an elderly woman noticed the baby, who was obviously hurt. She approached them and asked what the problem was. James was in tears, his face bruised and red.’ The boys claimed “We just found him at the bottom of the hill.” ‘She told the boys to take him to the Walton Lane Police Station just down the road and gave them directions there. The little boy’s injuries worried her. She pointed them in the direction of the police, but watched incredulously as they walked off in the opposite direction. She shouted after them, but they didn’t turn back. As she stood there, unsure what to do, another woman who had seen the boys earlier said that James had been laughing. She believed the baby was okay; they were probably inexperienced brothers watching over their younger sibling.’

‘The boys walked down the knoll, eventually ending up at County Road. It had been nearly a two-mile hike by now. They stopped inside some of the shops. A woman walking a dog eyed the boys with the toddler and asked what was going on. They told her that they found the lost boy at the Strand and were on their way to the police station. Another concerned woman, who had a little girl with her, overheard the conversation and joined in. “Well,” she said, “you’ve walked a long way from the Strand to Walton Lane Police Station.”

‘The younger woman with the child looked down at James, who was hurt, and appeared upset. “Are you all right, son?” she asked. James didn’t answer. Jon insisted they would find the station; they would take care of it. But the woman felt something wasn’t right. It was getting dark and the boys weren’t honest. She asked that the other woman with the dog to watch her little girl, who was tired, while she escorted James to the station. But the woman with the dog refused -- her pet did not like children. As the boys took off, the younger woman called out, “Are you sure you know the way?” Jon pointed in the direction. “I’ll go that way, missus.”’

Next they went to the rail tracks.

‘The attack and murder of James Bulger occurred between 5:45 and 6:30 p.m. It began with one of the boys flinging paint on James’s face into his left eye. He screamed. As Blake Morrison points out in his book As If, Jon and Robert probably used the paint to “dehumanize James, to wipe him of his normal features. Splashed in sky color, he looked like something else -- a troll doll or alien -- and was less conscience-troubling to kill.” The boys threw stones at James, kicked him, and beat him with bricks. They pulled off his shoes and pants, perhaps sexually assaulting him. They hit him with an iron bar. When they thought James was dead, they laid his body on the railroad track, covering his bleeding head with bricks. They left before the train came.’

‘His upper body was hidden within the coat. His lower body was further down the tracks, completely undressed. He had suffered 42 injuries, most to his face and head and had not died during the attack, but some time before the train hit him. Jon and Robert had left him while he was still alive.’

November 1, 1993: Trial begins

The Verdict

‘The Judge addressed the boys: “The killing of James Bulger was an act of unparalleled evil and barbarity. This child of two was taken from his mother on a journey of over two miles and then, on the railway line, was battered to death without mercy. Then his body was placed across the railway line so it would be run over by a train in an attempt to conceal his murder. In my judgment your conduct was both cunning and very wicked.”’

“This sentence that I pass upon you both is that you should be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure, in such a place and under such conditions as the Secretary of State may now decide. You will be securely detained for very, very many years, until the Home Secretary is satisfied that you have matured and are fully rehabilitated and until you are no longer a danger.” The judge also allowed that the media be allowed to publish the boys’ names.

From the gallery, someone shouted, “How do you feel now, you little bastards?”

Source: Scott, S. L. (2002). The Death of James Bulger. Retrieved September 20, 2007 from, the Crime Library web site:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reply To Mike

"Bystanders Who Aided A Woman In Trouble Are Injured"
This incident occured in Melbourne on the corner of of Williams St and Flinders Lane outside of a cafe. This occured in the middle of Melbourne and during peak hour traffic on a monday morning.

I agree that calling the police would be a sensible option, however there may be implications if the person in trouble would soon disappear out of your sight. For example, if the lady and man both got into a taxi.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bystanders Who Aided A Woman In Trouble Are Injured

After discussing the bystander effect with a close friend and expressing my frustration with people failing to help others, they reminded me of the incident in Melbourne not too long ago.

Monday the 18th of June, 2007.

'Bystander Ross Murchie said: "A girl came out of a building over the road, she was a screaming and a guy had her by the hair."She tried to grab hold of a taxi that was going by and the couple of bystanders went over to ask what was happening. He let go of her hair, pulled out a gun and shot them all."

Another witness said he saw two men run to the aid of a woman who was being dragged by the hair out of a taxi by another man."There was a couple of guys [who came] to assist and after that the guy that was holding her by the hair just eventually gave in and reached out for the gun and shot one of the guys twice and shot the girl and shot the other guy," he said.

One person died at the scene, and two others were rushed to hospital

My friend pointed out to me that people may not feel safe to intervene in some situations and incidents such as this may further show they should not put themselves in harms way. This is a good point and may deter many people. However, instead of physically intervening people could call the police and report the incident. This is what many people fail to do.

Bystander Effect- In Our Own Backyard

We would like to think that someone in need does receive help in Australia. However, this is not the case. Many of you may remember an incident last year with an Aboriginal Elder, Ms Barton. Ms Barton, a respected 62-year-old elder, was making her way to work. She wasn't feeling very well and accdiently caught the wrong bus and ended up on the wrong university campus. After making her way to the right bus stop, feeling extremely ill, she fell over. All of the contents of her bag fell onto the ground and no one bothered to held her. Stuggling to pick it all up, she began to vomit. This was at 12:15pm. She lay there in her own vomit, and still vomiting periodically, until 5:45pm, when two Japanese students asked if she was ok. The students called security, and then an ambulance. Ms Barton had suffered a mild stoke, and only after 5 hours, did someone come to her aid. This incident shows the bystander effect clearly, and it has been suggested that it also shows the stereotype of Aboriginals being drunk and hence vomitting from too much alcohol.

The Smoke Filled Room- Bystander Effect

This second video shows the bystander effect in the situation of a smoke filled room. This is adapted from Darley and Latané's experiment in 1968.

The first condition, a participant fills out a survey alone. Smoke soon appears through a vent door.

The second conditon, a participant fills out a survey amongst a number of confederates. Again, smoke appears through a vent, each confederate fails to notice, and the participant fails to act. This experiment is a replica of the 1968 study by Darley & Latane.

The Bystander Effect Clip

I found this clip on utube and thought it was interesting in relation to my Blog 2 topic...
'Local government is alarmed by a recent increase in muggings and robberies in the community, often performed in the presence of others (bystanders). As an expert in the area of pro-social behaviour, you have been asked to come up with strategies that will make people more likely to lend assistance in these types of situations. Using at least two relevant theories/models, outline the strategy you would recommend to the government.'

When asked what would they do if they saw someone in need of help, people responded they would,
-help them
-be concered about their own safety and help if they could
-be concered about legal consequences

I think this clip demonstrates the bystander effect well, however I think there are some ethical issues with this experiment. Firstly, it does not appear that people were debriefed after the experiment that took place in a shopping mall. Secondly, only a few people checked to see if the person laying on the ground was ok. After they checked, the person pretending to be unwell simply just got up and walked away. This i think could produce negative reactions for those who did help, such as humiliation that they were tricked, and anger that it was not genuine. Therefore this could reduce the likelihood of the behaviour occuring again, and this is not a positive step for society.

Bystander's are more likely to respond when others could be aware of their actions.

Figure 2
Cumulative proportion of subjects responding over time: Evaluation apprehension.

Source: Schwartz, S. H., & Gottlieb, A. (1976). Bystander reactions to a violent theft: crime in Jerusalem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 6, 1188-1199.

Bystander Reactions To A Violent Theft

Figure 1
Cumulative proportion of subjects responding over time: Diffusion of responsibility

Source: Schwartz, S. H., & Gottlieb, A. (1976). Bystander reactions to a violent theft: crime in Jerusalem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 6, 1188-1199.

Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police

For Blog 2 my topic is the bystander effect. This story of Kitty Genovese repeatedly appears in studies and is a horrific exmaple where a young women was stabbed to death, while 38 people did nothing. Here is the story of Kitty...

'It was just after 3 a.m. A red Fiat rolled slowly through the darkness into a parking space adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road station in Kew Gardens. The young woman behind the wheel emerged from the car and locked it. She began the 100-foot walk toward her apartment house at 82-70 Austin St. But then she spotted a man standing along her route. Apparently afraid, she changed direction and headed toward the intersection of Austin and Lefferts Boulevard -- where there was a police call box.

Suddenly, the man overtook her and grabbed her. She screamed. Residents of nearby apartment houses turned on their lights and threw open their windows. The woman screamed again: `Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!''A man in a window shouted: ``Let that girl alone.'' The attacker walked away. Apartment lights went out and windows slammed shut.

The victim staggered toward her apartment. But the attacker returned and stabbed her again.``I'm dying!'' she cried.Windows opened again. The attacker entered a car and drove away. Windows closed, but the attacker soon came back again. His victim had crawled inside the front door of an apartment house at 82-62 Austin St. He found her sprawled on the floor and stabbed her still again. This time he killed her.'

'It was not until 3:50 that morning -- March 13, 1964 -- that a neighbor of the victim called police. Officers arrived two minutes later and found the body. They identified the victim as Catherine Genovese, 28, who had been returning from her job'

'Detectives investigating Genovese's murder discovered that no fewer than 38 of her neighbors had witnessed at least one of her killer's three attacks but had neither come to her aid nor called the police. The one call made to the police came after Genovese was already dead.'

'Today witnesses from the neighborhood, which is made up of one-family homes in the $35,000 to $60,000 range with the exception of the two apartment houses near the railroad station, find it difficult to explain why they didn't call the police.

A man peeked out from a slight opening in the doorway to his apartment and rattled off an account of the killer's second attack. Why hadn't he called the police at the time? "I was tired," he said without emotion. "I went back to bed."'

For more information on Kitty see the following websites:,0,7944135.story

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Australian Stereotypes

I was forwarded this 'Alternative Citizenship Test' today and thought i would share it. I think this demonstrates some of the stereotypes of Australians, such as the way we talk, our traditional customs, what we eat and the stereotypes surrounding our culture. How accurately do you beleive this 'test' is at depciting Australians?

Alternative Citizenship Test

1. Do you understand the meaning, but are unable to explain the origin of, the term "died in the arse"?

2. What is a mole?

3. Are these terms related: chuck a sickie; chuck a spaz; chuck a U-ey?

4. Explain the following passage: "In the arvo last Chrissy the relos rocked up for a barbie, some bevvies and a few snags. After a bit of a Bex and a lie down we opened the pressies, scoffed all the chockies, bickies and lollies. Then we drained a few tinnies and Mum did her block after Dad and Steve had a barney and a bit of biffo."

1. Macca, Chooka and Wanger are driving to Surfers in their Torana. If they are travelling at 100 km/h while listening to Barnsey, Farnsey and Acca Dacca, how many slabs will each person on average consume between flashing a brown eye and having a slash?

2. Complete the following sentences: a) "If the van's rockin' don't bother ... b) You're going home in the back of a ...

c) Fair suck of the ...

3. I've had a gutful and I can't be fagged. Discuss

4. Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a wedgie?

5. Do you have a friend or relative who has a car in their front yard "up on blocks"? Is his name Keith and does he have a wife called Cheryl?

1. Does your family regularly eat a dish involving mincemeat, cabbage, curry powder and a packet of chicken noodle soup called either chow mein, chop suey or kai see ming?

2. What are the ingredients in a rissole?

3. Demonstrate the correct procedure for eating a Tim Tam.

4. Do you have an Aunty Myrna who is famous for her tuna mornay and other dishes involving a can of cream of celery soup?

5. In any two-hour period have you ever eaten three-bean salad, a chop and two serves of pav washed down with someone else's beer that has been nicked from a bath full of ice?

6. When you go to a bring- your-own-meat barbie can you eat other people's meat or are you only allowed to eat your own?

7. What purple root vegetable beginning with the letter "b" is required by law to be included in a hamburger with the lot?

1. Do you own or have you ever owned a lawn mower, a pair of thongs, an Esky or Ugg boots?

2. Is it possible to "prang a car" while doing "circle work"?

3. Who would you like to crack on to?

4. Who is the most Australian: Kevin "Bloody" Wilson, John "True Blue" Williamson, Kylie Minogue or Warnie?

5. Is there someone you are only mates with because

they own a trailer or have a pool?

6. Would you love to have a beer with Duncan?

The people to be granted citizenship are the ones who call it a crock and cheat.

The Power of Simplicity

The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The America complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor." The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise." The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?" To which the American replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, senor?" The American laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. "Millions, senor? Then what?" The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Appendix A
The theoretical perspectives within my blog could be improved. For two of my classic experiments; Milgram’s ‘lost letter’ and Clark’s ‘doll test,’ I was unable to find specific theories relating to the experiment. This may be due to the lack of experimental basis, particularly in Clark’s ‘doll test,’ and possibly the inability for me to find the theory in Milgram’s ’lost letter.’ However, in Clark's experiment it was stated that the goal was to discover the ethnic identity and ethnic preference of African American children. With regards to the two other studies; Bandura’s ‘bobo doll’ experiment and Sherif’s ‘Robbers Cave’ experiment I was able to find the experimental theories; social learning theory and realistic conflict theory. However, I was not able to fully elaborate on each of the theories due to the strict word limit. Within this word limit, roughly 270 words per study, I had to identify the experimenter, time period, method, implications, participants and rate the study based on validity and social value. I found this difficult and therefore the theory was only briefly mentioned. Therefore, I feel I covered the essential components in the word limit, rather than go into detail on one simple element.

The research I have conducted for this blog I feel is substantial. I have collected a variety of resources including; journal articles, books and websites. I found the most pressing aspect of conducting research was to find the original research results for the ‘doll test,’ as this study lacked experimental validity. This therefore, made it additionally difficult to find academic reviews on this study. There was an abundance of research on the internet, however for some of the studies there was little academic information. Another element I found difficult was to clearly identify each study conducted by the experimenters. For example, Albert Bandura and Kenneth Clark conducted many similar experiments, and this made it difficult to find academic articles on this specific study I was looking for, as each varied slightly. Furthermore, studies such as Bandura's experiment were often referred to as the 'bobo doll' experiment, thus this name refers many studies, not just one. Therefore it was difficult to find an actual name for the study and research on that particular study.

To improve the research aspect of my blog I could have chosen a different classic experiment. I did however, begin with the famous blue eyed experiment by Jane Elliot’s. I soon discarded this study, as like Clark’s experiment there was also little academic information. I found this surprising as this study is highly known. I could have also discarded Clark’s experiment, but I felt it acted as a powerful example of ‘research’ results that had been accepted by society due to publicity.

Written Expression
I feel that my blog is relatively easy to read and understand. I have checked that it actually makes sense by asking people, who are not psychology students, to read it and provide some feedback. Through this I have found that my blog is easy to read and the concepts were explained enough for those with no psychology background to understand. I found that creating a blog, instead of an essay, was more challenging than I thought. I have become set in my ways with the essay format, and was a little uneasy breaking down my paragraphs (which look longer in a blog than on an A4 piece of paper) and adding headings. However, I believe I still have applied APA well with my referencing of the sources I have used. With regards to my table displaying the essential elements of each study, it does not strictly apply to the APA format, however it is easier to read with the way it is set out. In my blog I have hyperlinked several figures and these all have captions, in the APA format. I think that the layout of my blog is easy to read, with headings, an abstract and vision aids.

Before this, I had never conducted a readability score, thus this concept is very foreign to me. I feel my scores show that I have a lot of improvement to make on my expression. I need to work on breaking my sentences down into simpler concepts, ensuring I still make each point specifically. This is a valuable learning curve for me as it has made me aware of these aspects I could focus on.

My readability analysis:

Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 21
Ideally, web page text should be around the 60 to 80 mark on this scale. The higher the score, the more readable the text.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 16
Ideally, web page text should be around the 6 to 7 mark on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text.

Gunning-Fog Index: 24
Ideally, web page text should be between 11 and 15 on this scale. The lower the score, the more readable the text. (Anything over 22 should be considered the equivalent of post-graduate level text).

Notes:Average syllables per word: 1.91

Average words per sentence: 23.9

Word count: 1,486

Online Engagement
Beginning with my own blog, I feel that my page is set out in an easy-to-read format. I have put up several posts, including; videos, surveys, pictures, interesting studies and quotes. This allows for people who do not want to read a long section of writing or find it easier to understand using a visual medium. I set up my blog early in the semester, however, unfortunately my contribution to my blog and my classmate’s blogs diminished as my workload increased. I am also the type of person that will sit and listen to other people’s perspectives before I comment to ensure I get the full picture and this has led to a lesser contribution. Therefore, my goal is to increase my online engagement and to go with my instincts, instead of waiting for the safe option to ensure my opinion is correct. Throughout weeks 1 to 7 I have made several comments on people’s blogs; however I had great difficulty remembering which pages they were on to find them.

List of my contributions:

List of my blogs:

Appendix B

Links of interest
Milgram -

Clark -

Bandura -

Sherif -

Appendix C

The Drinking Water Problem: The first superordinate goal to be introduced and involved the boys fixing their water supply which required cooperation by both groups. The groups worked together for over 45 minutes to reach a obtain a singular goal.

The Problem of Securing a Movie: The next superordinate goal to be introduced was a feature-length movie. The two groups had to pool their money with the camp in order to purchase the movie.

Other superordinate goals included the joint use of a tug-of-war-rope on a partly cut-through dangerous tree.

Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiment

Figure 2
Comparison of Rattlers' (left) and Eagles' (right) friendship choices of in-group and out-group members at the end of Stage 2 and Stage 3.

Stage 1- experimental formation of the in-group

Stage 2- production of negative attitudes toward the out-group

Stage 3- reduction of inter-group hostility

Modelling of Agression

Figure 1
Modelling of Aggressive Behaviour- Albert Bandura

Stanley Milgram...

"The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act." (1974)

Albert Bandura- 'Bobo doll'

The Classic Experiments of Aggression, Prejudice and Stereotypes in Social Psychology

The aim of this blog is to discuss four classic social psychology experiments which reveal important understandings about prejudice, stereotyping and aggression. This blog examines the experimental validity and value of the research conducted and my personal ranking of each study.

Classic social psychology experiments
are used to reveal key elements of aggressive behaviour, prejudice and stereotyping. Prejudice is the ‘unfavourable attitude towards a social group and its members’ and is displayed in the ‘lost letter’ experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002, p. 256). A stereotype is a ‘widely shared and simplified evaluative image of a social group and its members’ and is exhibited in the ‘doll test’ conducted by Clark and Clark (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002, p. 259). Lastly, aggression is ‘behaviour that is intended to injure someone physically or psychologically’ (Breckler, 2006). The ‘bobo doll’ experiment conducted by Albert Bandura demonstrates the ability for children to learn aggressive behaviours from models, and the ‘Robbers Cave’ experiment displays the initiation of aggressive behaviour and also the development of prejudice. Each classic experiment carries strengths and weaknesses and raises implications; however some studies are more soundly based in psychological theory and experimental validity.

The ‘Doll test’ conducted by Clark and Clark (1940) is a famous experiment known primarily in the Supreme Court case of Brown v Topeka Board of Education in 1954 (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002; ‘With an even hand’ Brown v. Board at fifty, 2004). This experiment on stereotypes utilised four plastic dolls, of either Black or White in colour to discover ethnic identity and ethnic preference of African American children. 150 children aged between 3 and 5, were shown a White doll and a Black doll and were asked a series of questions, for example to select ‘the doll that is the nice doll.’ Results showed that 67% of Black children preferred the White dolls to play with, 59% indicated the White doll as the nice doll and 59% chose the Black doll as the one that looks bad (Powell-Hopson & Hopson, 1988).

Clark used his results to show ‘that school segregation was distorting the minds of Black youngsters to the point of making them self-hating’ (Douglas, 2006). This study has been criticised for being famous only for the reference in the court case as opposed to the experimental value of the work. Criticisms of the study include a lack of theory and control of variables. An African American husband and wife team conducted the studies, and thus their desired outcomes of wanting to prove African Americans were negatively stereotyped may have skewed the results. This study presents a shock factor in the results and thus it is a well-known experiment; however the results lack experimental weight and therefore I have ranked it in fourth position.

Milgram’s famous ‘lost letter’ experiment is a technique to examine the prejudice toward socially undesirable groups. Milgram dispersed self-addressed and stamped envelopes and counted the number of ‘lost letters’ that were mailed (Milgram 1977). The envelopes were addressed to; medical research associates, friends of the Communist party, friends of the Nazi party and Mr. Walter Carnap (Milgram, Mann & Harter, 1965). The letters were dispersed in the streets, under car windscreen wipers, in telephone booths and in shops. Those who found the letters could either; post it, ignore it or actively destroy it (Shotland & Berger, 1970). Milgram distributed 400 letters, 100 addressed to each of the groups, and as expected more people mailed letters addressed to the socially desirable groups (those addressed to medical associates and the personal letter) than to the socially undesirable groups (Nazi party and Communist party) (Milgram, 1977).

The rate of return was the focus of the study and was highest for the Medical research associates with 72%, 71% for the personal letter and 25% each for the friends of the Nazi party and friends of the Community party (Milgram, Mann & Harter, 1965). However, this study has limitations as only the return rate can be assessed and it only works for strong issues (Milgram, 1969). This study is significant as it allows prejudice to be examined through an everyday task, without people realising that their prejudice is being examined, thus making it powerful and my number three.

In 1961, Bandura conducted the famous ‘bobo doll’ study, ‘transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models’ (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). This study was based on the social learning theory which proposes that ‘humans learn many kinds of responses, including aggressive ones, by observing other people’ (Breckler, 2006, p. 450). The 72 participants were recruited from the Stanford University Nursery School and ranged in age from 37 to 69 months. Three groups were created; an aggressive experimental group, a nonaggressive experimental group and a control group. The groups were further divided by gender of the participants and gender of the models. The participants were brought into a room and placed in the corner to play; in the experimental groups an actor was brought in who played on the other side of the room (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). The participants were left to observe the actor who played independently, acting either aggressive or nonaggressive. The participants were then led to another room where their behaviour was observed and measured in terms of imitation of physical aggression, verbal aggression and nonaggressive verbal responses.

Bandura found that the exposure of subjects to aggressive models increased the probability of aggressive behaviour, and these subjects’ scores were significantly higher than those of the nonaggressive and control groups (Bandura, Ross & Ross, 1961). This study demonstrates that young children model the aggressive behaviour of those around them; this is important as it reveals that children notice and replicate others’ actions. By reducing the exposure to aggressive models, the aggressive acts displayed by a child may be minimised. These findings were replicated in other studies of modelling by Bandura including the modelling of aggression through television, cartoons and also the implications of rewards and punishment for aggressive acts (Isom, 1998; Bandura, 1971; Grusec, 1992). This study I have placed as my number two as it is both a valid and a reliable study, and produces great implications for the behaviour of those around children.

Aggression and Prejudice
The ‘intergroup conflict and cooperation: the Robbers Cave Experiment’ conducted by Sherif in 1961 demonstrates aspects of aggression and prejudice. In this field experiment twenty-two 11-year olds were assigned into two groups, each participant was similar in; socioeconomic status; ethnic and religious backgrounds; family environment; athletic ability and camping experience (Sherif, Harvey, Jack White, Hood & Sherif, 1961; Aron & Aron, 2007; Wessells, 1994). The study focuses on the realistic conflict theory which suggests when there are limited resources, conflict, prejudice and discrimination arises between the groups who seek that common resource. This study was conducted in three stages; experimental formation of the in-group; production of negative attitudes toward the out-group and reduction of inter-group hostility. The experimenters created an atmosphere of in-group and out-group mentality and heightened this through competition over limited resources, such as prizes.

Prejudice against the out-group developed first, then verbal aggression and then aggressive actions such as burning each other’s flags. The hostility was only overcome by the use of superordinate goals to construct a cooperative nature between the two groups (Sherif, Harvey, Jack White, Hood & Sherif, 1961; Fine, 2004). Sherif and colleagues had created a ‘microcosm of an intolerant and warring world’ and the implications showed that ‘two groups can exist as long as they develop meaningful joint goals’ (Aron & Aron, 2007). This study is significant in that it shows that prejudice and aggression can easily develop between people of very similar ethnic, religious and socio-economic status when placed in a situation of realistic conflict. Sherif brings together psychological theory and elements of both prejudice and aggression and thus I have ranked it as the most significant classic experiment.

The classic social psychology experiments are revealing in regards to the development and existence of stereotypes, prejudice and aggression. Prejudice and stereotyping are particularly difficult to assess due to social desirability, people are not often willing to express their discriminatory views of others. The ‘lost letter’ experiment by Milgram enables an easy examination of the prejudice by hiding the motivation behind the lost letter. The assessment of the stereotypes already in place with young African American children was conducted by Clark. This study, though having little experimental basis, revealed the stereotype of Black as bad and White as nice. Albert Bandura, also focused on young children, demonstrating the early behavioural modelling of aggression. The study of children is important, showing that children are in a critical period for modelling the thoughts and behaviours demonstrated by those around them. Lastly, the Robbers Cave experiment reveals that competition for limited resources can easily produce prejudice and aggression in those that are relatively similar in age, socioeconomic status, religious views and ethnic identity. This study is highly relevant to modern society and thus it is my first choice. Each of these social psychology experiments has been classified as a ‘classic experiment’ and each is important on the basis of the implications produced.

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