o be able to identify aspects of social psychology and social behavior influences that resulted in major

o be able to identify aspects of social psychology and social behavior influences that resulted in major historical events in our world.

·      To be able to apply social psychology in your world around you.

·      To experience how cinema can utilize concepts and events within social psychology to draw in and teach audiences.

·      To compare results of scientific published research with real historical events, portrayed by Hollywood.

·      To think critically about how you could be influenced by situations such as conformity, obedience, and social norms.

For this paper assignment, you will choose ONE of the two movies below to watch. In addition, you will read the article referenced below (posted on BB). This paper will be similar in format to Paper 2, in that it will largely focus on reflection and critical thinking. In addition, you are to comparebetween a historically important movie (depicting real events of genocide) and a scientific article showing a modern-day version of the famous Milgram’s obedience studies.



Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Also a very powerful movie, Hotel Rwanda is based on the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi people by Hutu extremists in Rwanda, Africa. In one year, Hutu groups initiated the killing of over 800,000 Tutsi people. This movie highlights the social influence and social psychology of a majority group, and the humanity in those who stepped up to help the Tutsi people. Specifically, this movie portrays the acts of hotel owner, Paul Rusesabagina, who used his hotel to try to save over a thousand refugees.


Many people in today’s society feel far removed from the events that were portrayed in the movies above. This is often the case for situations that happened before we were born, or situations happening in another part of the world that do not directly affect us. Additionally, many people feel like these situations are not likely to occur again, especially if there is no current civil unrest in their region of the world. As your article shows us however, negative social influence has the potential to occur at any time and in any place – we can be more easily influenced than we would like to think. As you watch the movie, think deeply about how you might react or behave if you were one of the Germans or Hutu civilians during that time in history. Think also about how you would behave if you witnessed an act of evil social conformity or obedience (bystander effect?). Most of us would like to believe that we are not capable of evil, but as James Waller states, “The normal reaction to an abnormal situation is abnormal behavior” (Becoming Evil; How Ordinary People Commit Genocide, 2007).  Take some time to reflect on the movie and article before answering the questions below.

1.     (5pts total) Reflection:

·      Discuss your thoughts and reactions about both the movie (1 point) and the article (1 point).

·      Were you surprised (1 point), and what did you learn (2 points)?

2. (5pts total) Compare and contrast the movie and the article:

·      How is the big picture between the movie and article similar (2pts)? How are they dissimilar (1pt)?

·      Include specific concepts from social psychology that both the movie and article share. Specifically, incorporate at least 2 concepts from the social psychology chapter or lectures to illustrate your points (1 point per each concept, and using/explaining each concept correctly – worth 2 points total).


3. (5pts total) Application and integration of learned material:

·      Explain how any of the methods/results/conclusions from the article help explain the actions of Hutu or German soldiers in the movie you watched. For example, what information from the research article can translate to the events portrayed in the movie? For this question, you will overall need to apply the article to help explain the behavior of the soldiers. Be specific, and use examples.

–      3 points for accurately applying the article.

–      2 points for giving at least two specific examples from the article that explain or translate to the movie events.


4. (10pts total) Critical Thinking:

·      (4pts) If you one day found yourself in a similar position as the Hutu civilians were in 1994, or the German civilians during the Holocaust, what learned knowledge (from your book, lecture, and/or the article) would you apply to avoid a similar fate of becoming influenced to do evil? Be specific.

o   (1pt) Do you think you would even notice what was happening before it was too late? Importantly, do you think you could change the course of what was happening?

·      (5pts) Explain why or why not, and integrate material learned specifically from the topic of social psychology. In other words, this is NOT just an opinion answer. Rather, you must incorporate empirical/factual knowledge to support your response. You must incorporate at least three topics from your lecture that directly apply to this question. Here are several examples of learned topics you can incorporate to answer this question:

·      What did you learn about conformity?

·      What did you learn about obedience and compliance?

·      Why do good people do bad things?

·      What did you learn about the bystander effect?

·      What did you learn about cognitive dissonance?

·      What did you learn about role-playing?

·      Anything else you can add that you learned from lecture or your textbook.

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