Free Social Psychology Essay Sample

According to Smith & Mackie (2000), social psychology can be defined as the scientific study focusing on how people's feelings, behaviors, and thoughts are determined by the imagined, implied, or actual presence of other individuals. The term scientific in this case refers to the experimental technique of research. In any given psychological research, feelings, behaviors, and thoughts are the psychological variables that are quantifiable in an individual. Social psychologists usually clarify that human behavior is a product of the interaction between an individual's mental states and surrounding social situations encountered (Gordon, 1992).  

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Deception is defined as a methodological practice in which an individual is not let to be fully alert on the particular purposes of a given study.  One of the major forms of deception that may come about during a research is when a researcher deliberately misinforms the respondent on a particular characteristic of the study. For instance, a researcher needing to study about the manner in which people act in response to negative health feedback can deceive the respondents by informing them that a saliva test they took shows they have  possibility been infected from some disease, but in real sense the test was merely intended to generate a disturbing response (Tuffin, 2005).  

Milgram's obedience study gives an example of technical deception which entails the misrepresentation of experimental procedures, or equipment. Usually, this takes place as subjects are rendered with a deceptive cover story concerning the intention of the experiment, thus blocking out the real objective of the study. Subjects were informed that the study was concerned with the consequences of punishment on learning, but the actual aim of the experiment was concerned with obedience levels. Likewise, the impressive-looking shock generator depicted technical deception. This equipment appeared bona fide, with additive shock levels which were associated with all of the switches. Naturally, the switches were not really wired to electric source thus there was no real shock that was administered as the switch was depressed (Gordon, 1992).       

Deception was very necessary in the Milgram's experiments since deceiving the participants was the only way that allowed the study to work out. For instance, if the participants were aware of the shocks not being bona fide and that the study was looking into obedience, then indubitably they could have behaved in the manner which Milgram would require them to behave.  Thus, the ability of participants behaving naturally with no demand features was increased by being deceived. Deception was also necessary in Milgram's study since the ends justify the means. For instance, Milgram would not have established the way in which obedient individuals personify pertaining to an authority figure (Smith, 2000).


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