Real world applications

One way to establish if psychological research is valid is to see if the findings are similar to behaviour in the 'real world': do people in real world situations involving obedience behave in the same way, does the number of people in a group have a significant influence on bystander behaviour, or do situational factors have a direct influence on the behaviour of prison guards in a real prison.

Another way to evaluate psychological research is to assess how useful this research is in changing people's behaviour in the real world or how useful it is in helping people achieve their goals or improve their psychological well being.

The video documentary The Human Behaviour Experiments shows how psychological research can be used to explain the behaviour of ordinary Americans in the prisons of Iraq.

The first clip shows how Stanley Milgram's research into obedience can help us to understand how ordinary young Americans humiliated and tortured prisoners in Iraq. It also applies Milgram's main finding to explain a disturbing real life example of obedience, this time to an illegitimate authority figure, in a much more mundane situation: a fast food restaurant.  

The second clip uses the findings of social psychological research into the bystander effect to explain real world events like the failure of students to help a friend and links this to why some prison guards in Iraq stood by and watched other guards humilate and abuse prisoners.

This clip looks at the Stanford Prison Study and applies it's findings to explain prisoner abuse at Abu Grahib a prison in Iraq.

You can read more about prison guard abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq here....

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