Social Psychology

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Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience to authority are amongst the most famous and controversial studies in the history of psychology.  For over fifty years we thought we knew what Milgram’s studies told us – that seemingly ordinary members of the public would administer potentially lethal electric shocks to an innocent victim in response to commands from an authority figure.  The studies have thus been used to show just how easily people can be led into following orders.  However, recent work has pointed to the dramatic conclusion that, in fact, Milgram’s studies show p

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Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience to authority are amongst the most famous and controversial studies in the history of psychology.  For over fifty years we thought we knew what Milgram’s studies told us – that seemingly ordinary members of the public would administer potentially lethal electric shocks to an innocent victim in response to commands from an authority figure.  The studies have thus been used to show just how easily people can be led into following orders.  However, recent work has pointed to the dramatic conclusion that, in fact, Milgram’s studies show p

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In the 1970s, feminist theorists began to put forward what was then a controversial claim: that sexual aggression is essentially about power. This idea was important enough to launch experimental research, much of which has supported the claim – for instance, priming some men with a sense of power leads them to say they would be more prepared to coerce sex, and encourages men and women alike to believe a subordinate desired them sexually.

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Psychology research has shown that men and women usually remember things differentely. For instance women on average are better at recalling emotional and social stimuli, whereas men are better at remembering episodes of voilence and recognising artifical objects such as cars.

A study in Applied Cognitive Psychology has added to this literature by testing whether men and women differ in how much they remember of clips from rom-com movies and action films.

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An expert on the psychology of political crisis is to receive this year’s Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from the British Psychological Society.
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If insights from psychology can reduce conflict between groups, it feels like we need that help now more than ever.

A new study discussed on our Research Digest blog finds that a simple anti-prejudice intervention, grounded in research and advocated by many social psychologists, can backfire for some people.

This sounds like a bad news story, but it isn't.

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In Western democracies, young adults are living with their parents for longer, spending more time in education and delaying having children. So much so that some commentators have suggested that we need a new term, such as "emerging adulthood", to describe the phase of life between late adolescence and true adulthood.

Adding to this picture, a new cross-generational study of hundreds of undergraduates at two US universities finds that students today are more anxious about growing up and maturing than students from previous generations.

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Big-wigs have much to gain from ingratiating themselves with even bigger ones. But ingratiators face a dilemma: no one likes a suck-up, and people at the top of the food chain have plenty of practice in detecting and dismissing them.

A new article discussed on our Research Digest blog finds that company directors get around this dilemma by employing a clever psychological tactic.

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The most popular and widely researched explanation is that people experience a diffusion of responsibility when in the company of other bystanders. We don't help the person who is being assaulted in a busy street because we assume that someone else will.

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Why do we tip taxi drivers but not accountants? Why do we tip in some service contexts and not others? Is it simply due to a quirk of history or the result of broader psychological patterns?

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The fascinating history of a British artist and spiritualist medium Georgina Houghton will be examined in a free British Pyschological Society supported seminar from 6pm to 7:30pm, Tuesday 14 June at University College London.

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The amount and type of laughter between two people can potentially tell us much more than that they are sharing a joke.

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An exploration of Liberation Psychology: in its original context and applied to social problems of the UK today.

Timetable

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A powerful tool to take ownership of your life, be at your best, and to revitalise your personal and professional life.

Timetable

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We usually think of laughter as a sound of joy and mirth, but in certain contexts, such as when it accompanies an insult, it takes on a negative meaning, signaling contempt and derision, especially in a group situation.

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The BPS Social Psychology Section (SPS) had a productive year in 2015.

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Today, a substantial proportion of people believe that God does not exist – one in ten people around the world consider themselves "convinced atheists" according to a survey published last year.

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Some pieces of music you can’t escape knowing, and for children in 1960s Britain, God Save the Queen would qualify, according to research published back then.

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You might think that being true to yourself means ignoring social pressure and finding your own path.

But one of the most in-depth investigations into feelings of authenticity has found the complete opposite appears to be true.

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Most personality traits and other characteristics are 'normally distributed', meaning that a new person is more likely to be in the middle than on the extremes, whether we’re talking about extraversion, intelligence or enthusiasm for Mexican food.

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Job interview structures have become more standardised over the years, but a new study suggests these developments aren’t enough to counter the effect of early rapport established (or not) in the near obligatory pre-interview chat.

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Memory researchers have found that women elaborate more than men when talking about their autobiographical memories, going into more detail, mentioning more emotions and providing more interpretation.

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This workshop will equip participants with greater knowledge how to help people who hear voices and learn from the dialogue they are engaged in.

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