IB Psychology

Themantic Education's resources for the new syllabus, by Travis Dixon.

Social Influence

Whereas the Criminology, Love and Marriage and PTSD units put behaviour as the primary theme of the chapter, this unit is a little different. There are a range of behaviours that can be affected by sociocultural influences, so we decided to make this the primary theme of this chapter. These behaviours include conformity, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, bystanderism, prosocial behaviour, conflict, competition, and altruism. Biological and cognitive variables are also investigated in their relationship to these behaviours to provide a balanced perspective.

Please see the preview for an idea of the contents of the social influence unit.


3.1 Conformity

Why do people go along with the group?

  • Normative Social Influence
  • Hoefstede’s Cultural Dimension Theory
  • Culture and Conformity
  • Obedience and Authority
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment

3.2 Competition and Conflict

How can competition influence conflict?

  • Competition: An Origin of Conflict
  • Biology and Competition

3.3 Cooperation and Conflict

How can cooperation reduce conflict?

  • Cooperation
  • The Jigsaw Classroom

3.4 Social Identity Theory

How can belonging to a group affect our behaviour?

  • Social Categorisation
  • Social Comparison
  • Self-esteem and the Minimal Group Studies
  • Out-group Homogeneity Effects

3.5 Schema Theory

How do we simplify this complex world we live in?

  • Social Cognition: Schemas
  • Schema Activation and Memory
  • Schema, Stereotypes and Confirmation Bias

3.6 Reconstructive Memory

Can we trust our memory?

  • Rationalisation
  • Confabulation
  • Eye-witness Testimony

3.7 Bystanderism

Why don’t people help others?

  • The Smoky Room Study
  • Diffusion of Responsibility
  • Culture and Bystanderism

3.8 Prosocial Behaviour

Why are some people more helpful than others?

  • Culture and Prosocial Behaviour
  • The Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis
  • The Jigsaw Classroom and Empathy

3.9 Prejudice and Discrimination

Why do people stereotype and discriminate?

  • Stereotypes: The cognition of prejudice
  • Discrimination: The behaviour of prejudice
  • Biology and Prejudice
  • Biology and Discrimination

3.10 Enculturation and Acculturation

How are we affected by our cultural environment?

To be completed…

 As these are new topics, the best and most interesting materials to use for these studies is still being researched and adapted for the new text.

The following resources are for my current students and do not reflect the content of the new textbook.

Please see the preview for an idea of the contents of the social influence unit.

Introduction (Link)


  • Conformity: An Introduction (Link)
  • Why do people conform? Normative and Informational Influence (Link)
  • Factors Influencing Conformity
    • Group Size and Unanimity (Link)
      • Key Study: Asch (1955)(Link)
    • Culture
      • Key Study: Bond and Smith (2005)(Link)
    • Other Factors for Further Research
  • Evaluation of Research into Conformity


  • Bystanderism: An Introduction (Link)
  • What influences bystanderism? (Link)
    • Key Study: Darley and Latane Smokey room and Researcher collapsing (Link)
    • Key Study: Piliavin et al. Field Experiment NYC Train (Link)

Social Identity

  • Social Identity Theory: An Introduction (Link)
    • What is a psychological theory? (Link)
  • What is Social Identity Theory? (Link)
    • Example SAQ #2: Describe SIT (Link)
  • Minimal Group Paradigm Studies (
    • Key Theory: Social Identity Theory Tajfel and Turner (Link)
    • Key Studies: Minimal Group Paradigm Studies (Tajfel and Turner)(Link)
      • Kahoot Quiz: Based on SIT summary (Link)
        • Full Article on SIT (Link)
          • Reducing Conflict Article (from BBC – link)


  • Why are stereotypes formed?
  • How can stereotypes affect behaviour?

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