Essay on the Power of the Situation

Published: 2021/12/17
Number of words: 940

The power of the situation is a fundamental concept of social psychology that believes the social environment significantly impacts people’s ideas, behaviors, and emotions. From the video, the narrator deeply explains the concept in the depth of how the situation can easily influence our ideas, behaviors, and emotions. The power of the situation has both positive and negative attributes that affect humankind. Moreover, it becomes clear that there are ways by which humans can learn about social psychology in the quest to understand how humans think and act about the power of the situation (Mandler). However, a few ideas about the power of the situation stand out. Thus, the paper will discuss which of the ideas of the power of the situation stand out and try to put this idea in a real scenario that I might have experienced or read.

The first idea that has a significant impact on me is the ability of the masses to follow a dictator blindly and obey their orders without hesitation. The video uses the perfect example of the Nazi soldiers who would blindly follow Hitler and obey his commands swiftly. It is beyond any reasonable doubt that the army that Hitler led was big, and it had people who had different mentalities and views about life. One thing that stands out is the fact that Hitler could effectively rule these people because he put them in the same situation. From his way of governing, he was able to ensure that they respected him effectively. And research has been done that agrees with fact. The fact that different make of leaders would put subjects in a different situation and the subjects would have different traits and behaviors.

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The second idea that comes to an individual from the power of a situation is that we all have the capacity for evil and sound waiting for the right or wrong situation. And this makes the power of a situation so prominent in the sense that it can easily change the course of a human’s life just by putting them in a particular situation. a person may be a good person or a wrong person. Still, in a particular situation, this can change so fast. Therefore, we can be good and bad at the same time if the situation deems it so. This concept is proven a fact when students were put in a simulated prison setting. And in a matter of days, because a good person was put in a particular situation, many of their traits had changed. For instance, students in prison were initially standard, but because they were put in a bad situation, the normal became highly stressed.

The last striking idea centers on the ability to make an individual respond to a particular situation. This ideology focuses more on how people react to a particular situation even though it doesn’t affect them. In research carried out in the video, it is clear that an individual is put in a situation where they will have to be responsive upon a simple request. A situation was simulated wherein a beach radio is out there, and a person comes and takes it away, and nobody responds even though they know the owner just walked away. However, upon a special request to look over the radio, the stranger who was asked to look over it responds when someone comes and takes it. Therefore, situational power can forge human connections that did not exist before to propel people to act differently.

The power of the situation can make people different after they go through a particular situation. a relatable experience is when our neighbor, who was generally a good person, was put in a bad situation, and the ramifications were tragic. One day he came home only to find his wife in a pool of blood dead. A few moments later, he had someone break a window trying to escape. He quickly got his gun and ran after the individual, and started shooting. By mistake, he shot a passerby. This example shows how a reasonable person may be put in a bad situation that makes them do bad things, and later they have to pay for the mistakes they made. This example connects with the second idea that we can do good or bad things depending on the situation.

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Another example is one that we are all familiar with. There are terrorists in the world, although we were all people with some humanity in all of us. They know what they do is wrong and inhuman, but since they are ruled by people who dictate them, they follow the rule to the latter and never ask a question. They follow their leaders blindly even though they don’t love what they do. It is all related to the power of the situation.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that the power of the situation is more significant than we think. It can lead to cohesiveness where people who are in the same situation will always act together. Moreover, the power of the situation can quickly come up with cultures that result from the situations were in. moreover, this power can easily make us either good people or bad people, and it is not dependent on our decisions but rather on the situations we face.

Works Cited

Mandler, George. “The Situation of Psychology: Landmarks and Choicepoints.” The American Journal of Psychology, vol. 109, no. 1, 2017, p. 1, 10.2307/1422925. Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

“Psychology – Power of the Situation.”, Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

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