Social Psychology/Group Dynamics

Originated in work done by Lewin and his colleagues at the University of Iowa (Lippitt 1940; French 1944), Lewin then moved to MIT and opened the Research Center for Group Dynamics in 1946; center moved to Michigan after Lewin's death

  • group is conceptualized as a scientifically legitimate unit of analysis
  • looks as social influence pressures, group cohesiveness, cooperation and competition, deindividuation, communication in social hierarchies, individual motivation for the group, and social perception
  • works was theory driven and developed 'state-of-the-art' experimental methods
  • came to understand that when people who don't know each other first get together and are required to state an opinion on a subject they haven't thought much about before, they will influence and be influenced by others in the group; what drives the influence pressure is a need to be confident that one's opinion is right