The best social psychology studies of all time . . .

November 21, 2007 | By | 4 Replies More

Psyblog presents a handy summary of ten of the most famous social psychology studies. The post is a succinct review of each of the following studies, along with thoughtful commentary.  The social psychological studies include the following:

 1. The Halo Effect – Nisbett
 2. Cognitive Dissonance – Festinger
 3. Robbers Cave – Sherif
 4. Stanford Prison Experiment – Zimbardo
 5. Obedience to Authority – Milgram
 6. False Consensus Bias – Ross
 7. Social Identity Theory – Tajfel
 8. Bargaining – Deutsch
 9. Bystander Apathy – Darley & Latane
 10. Conforming to the Norm – Asch

Who is Psyblog?  It’s Jeremy Dean, a lawyer/psychologist who has assembled an impressive collection of clearly written posts on various aspects of psychology.  It’s definitely worth a visit–though you might end up staying for quite awhile.  I certainly did. 

Other recent Psyblog posts include the following:  Can Cognitive Neuroscience Tell Us Anything About the Mind? (it’s questionable) and Why Career Planning Is Time Wasted.   And why is career planning wasted?  Because we aren’t even capable of knowing what sandwich we’ll want each day for the upcoming week, much less our job preferences.  “Your future self is probably a stranger to you.”  In fact, “70% report that they have been significantly influenced by chance events.”


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Category: Psychology Cognition, Web Site

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Ben says:

    The results of many of the experiments seem startling at first glance. Such as the Stanford scientist who found himself becoming a "bad" jail warden. Or the bargaining experiment where the competitors did not work together, even though it would have actually benefited them both. Or the people who were able to identify with a "group" which they didn't know anything about.

    However, I now see how the results of the experiments are quite understandable, once the glaring aspects of human nature are factored in. . By the way, does anybody know how to join Oprah's book club?

    (I think this is the kind of stuff they talk about in "The Secret") 😛

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I recall many of these experiments from when I studied Psychology. (was planning on working in Ergonometrics so I majored in Engineering and minored in Psychology) Individual Psychology was pretty intuitive, but Social Psycology just blew me away. Every social animal known behaves differently in a social context. When I trained dogs as a hobby, I was well aware of pack behavior, and was safe in the presence of large packs of strays, because I understood them as a pack.

    Human social behavior, however is so intricately interwoven that it is something of awe and beauty.

    Politicians (or more likely their handlers) practice social engineering, the application of scientifically derived knowledge to manipulate and bring about a desired effect in society. What they are doing is beneficial to a small elite group in the short term and severely detrimental to the population in the long run.

    Q: How do you tell if a politician is lying?

    A: His lips move.

    Pardon me.. My mind is wandering and I must go catch it before it is lost.

  3. John-Brian says:

    Help! I am looking for a famous social psych experiment concerning bigotry.

    A cartoon was used showing various levels of bigotry and responders were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the message (as far as I can remember).

    If you can help me find a ref to this work please contact me.


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