AS Social Influence – Understanding Independent Behaviour

To introduce this sub-topic, watch this extract from Panorama. It concerns some deserters from the Syrian army. I’ll try to explain in the lesson something about the conflict in Syria. If you want to know more, follow this link to the BBC website. There are three questions we can ask based on the psychology of independent behaviour. They are

Who was giving orders? Why did the soldiers question the authority of these people?

What do we learn about the personalities of the people who defected from the Syrian army?

What effect do you think one person deserting had on the other soldiers in the group?

You can post a comment or write a comment on the board.


As a follow up to the core work on locus of control, you can find out more about Julian Rotter. Rotter died in January 2014 aged 97. You can read a bit about him here. Rotter was the subject of a radio programme on the BBC a couple of years ago. In particular, the programme explained how locus of control is related to health. Start listening at 10 minutes and 20 seconds into the programme. The programme explains how locus of control is used to help people deal with pain and also with becoming a widow or widower. There is some discussion at the end about whether an internal locus of control is a good thing. Make a note of the main points and add them to your skeleton notes. You can post a comment if you like.


More generally, our understanding of independent behaviour depends a lot on Asch and Milgram. If you like what they did, you’ll like the explanations of independent behaviour we have looked at. If you’re not so happy with them, you won’t like the explanations so much. Use the tabs or the search box to look back at material about Asch and Milgram on this blog. Decide what you think about the broader issues related to the research carried out by Asch and Milgram. Make a note of the main points on your skeleton notes and add a comment here if you wish.

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