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Social norms form the fabric of human life, from holding the door for someone to sharing a selfie with your online followers. But what happens when these norms promote dangerous behaviours? Join us for an evening of exploring conformity to social norms and authority figures, with insights from decades of psychological research.
Everybody’s doing it! How social pressure makes us helpful, and human
It might seem like people are extremely self-centered, but it’s all relative...just try to imagine a chimpanzee holding the door for someone. We help people that we’ll never meet, by paying taxes or giving to charity, and one reason that we do such altruistic things is that we care what others expect from us. In this talk we will discuss the positive effects of social pressure, and how our desire to conform to social norms makes us different from other animals.
Selfie-Objectification: Beauty, Sex and Instagram
Social media (SM) provides a unique opportunity for understanding how we visually present ourselves to others. Self-presentations make up a large proportion of the 3.2 billion images that are shared on SM daily. The average millennial will take at least 25,700 selfies over the course of their lifetime. Like mainstream media, SM images are dominated by sexualised, commodified, and unrealistic representations of beauty. Focusing on gender and the desire to be seen as physically attractive, this talk reveals the insights from psychological science into how we present ourselves visually to others.
'Just following orders?'
Over almost 60 years, we’ve become used to seeing Stanley Milgram’s (in)famous experiments on obedience to authority as demonstrations of people’s tendency to follow orders. However, recent research on archived audio recordings from Milgram’s experiments points to a startling truth: people did not follow orders in these experiments. When orders were issued, people didn’t obey them, and those people who ‘obeyed’ did so without having to receive orders. Rather than being an indication of the power of authority, Milgram’s work shows how the issuing of orders can in fact indicate its weakness.