Social Roles In Society Essay

724 words - 3 pages

Social Roles in Society

Social psychology, as defined by the Microsoft Bookshelf, is the branch of human psychology that deals with the behavior of groups and the influence of social factors on the individual. Social roles are one of the many sub - categories of social psychology. I believe social roles to be the way we, as individuals, act in certain situations; such as home life, educational and economic statue, peer groups, etc. The Prison Simulation by Haney, Banks & Zimbardo is just one of the vast studies in this area. In this study we will see how people take roles in life, and in simulated life situations. Social roles are not fictitious, it is in fact a very real occurrence that many people deal with ever day, whether it be with them selves or with other individuals.

The Prison Simulation, studied by Haney, Banks & Zimbardo is quite impressive as to how extensive the study actually is. Due to lack of length in this paper the synopsis dealing with this study will be brief. The experiment consisted of 24 voluntary men who were divided into two groups: Guards and Inmates. Both groups were given uniforms to encourage their roles in the prison scenario. The subjects immediately began to take on rolls as to how they thought they should act. The prison had a much greater impact on all persons than could have been anticipated. The study was supposed to last 14 days, but due to extreme emotional depression the study ended after 6 days. In the spring of 1998, my Law and Government class had the opportunity to tour a New York State Prison. When we proceeded through the cellblocks, our tour guard indicated to us which inmates were sentenced to life and for what crime. I noticed that the inmates that were sentenced to life acted out much more than the inmates that were only sentenced for a few years. At the time I took no great thought into this, but after reading this study I have recalled the prison tour in my mind to critically analyze why this would be. I have come to the conclusion that the...

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