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Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group




Introduction
   Following a vast amount of information gotten from the social psychological literature, researchers have sought to understand some new phenomena in the field of study. These new phenomena emerged to include but not limited to the questions about group cohesiveness and factors influencing the liking for such a group as well as joining the group.
Also following the research of Aronson and Mill (1954), the interest of many researchers about the explanation of this aspect of social behaviour
  has been captured so much to the extent of going deep into the social investigation of family therapy as to explore the liking for a group as a function of initiation severity. One of such studies held very valuable is ‘Social Influence Therapy: The psychologist as manipulator in Psychology Today’ by Gillis (1974). He stated that the therapist should actively attempt to engage the client in some effortful task prior to admittance to therapy in order that he may more highly value the therapeutic encounter.
Liking for a group would simply imply that there is an attraction tendency of an individual towards a group. This attraction may or may not be attributed to any other factor  but for the purpose of this study, and as the research procedures will demand, initiation severity will be hypothesized as a factor suggestible  and responsible for liking a group and as such, a need for group membership or belongingness.
Furthermore, It is a frequent observation that persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort. For example, one would expect persons who travel a great distance to see a motion picture to be more impressed with it than those who see the same picture at a neighborhood theater. By the same token, individuals who go through a severe initiation to gain admission to a club or organization should tend to think more highly of that organization than those who do not go through the severe initiation to gain admission.
Often times, in universities especially in Nigeria, there could be a cause-effect relationship between severity of initiation and liking for a group. One can say that intending Fresher students or simply Jambites may chose the Ekiti State University as a first choice of tertiary institution in their admission process but with less consideration of whether the whole process of admission and screening exercise would be stressful and rigorous. Here, it may mean also that the more the severity of initiation or the process of seeking and processing such admission, the more tendency  for them to view the group individual members or the group itself as com[p0etent, trustworthy, and as such, reliable. Such thing is common when people in Nigeria compare a Federal university like Obafemi Awolowo, University, Osun state with a private universities, they may over-evaluate OAU more standard due to the rigour of screening exercises such as the Post- University Matriculation Examination (Post UME).
However, severity of initiation may vary in how it applies to diferent individuals because personality constitutes an individual therefore every individual is said to vary with personality. In one way or the other, the severity of initiation of  anyone into a group will also depend on what type of group, the group task, and cost-benefit analysis (Julis Dupuit, 1930s), that is considering the cost over the effect.


Statement of problems:
          The nature of this study is to investigate the severity of initiation on the liking for a group and will therefore consider the need to pose some questions which boarders on this said phenomena.  This will further necessitate the need to seek answers thereafter to the questions posed.
These questions will therefore include:
-         Will there be any significant effect of severity of initiation on the liking for a group?
-          If there will be a significant effect, how do some other factors such as sex and occupation, and marital status vary to influence the liking for such a  group?
-         How does severity of initiation relate with liking for a group?

Purpose of the study
Herein, the purpose of this study will be to examine the severity of initiation and liking for a group and of course, serve as enlightenment or create awareness for social psychology and in fact, contribute to the existing Social psychological literatures.
Also, the study will be geared toward eliminating the flaws of similar research or minimizing the use of inappropriate research design.

Relevance of the study
This study will be relevant to determine and sensitize people about the act of decision making and also the reasons they need not be hasty or rash in liking or joining a group at only surface level of analysis, that is without going to examine through clear evidence as regarding why they should or should not like or join a group. There has to be a more careful consideration of benefit and loss of joining such a group.
It will be evident that the study will consider occupational status as to make it more apparent that many Fresher students have been observed to belong to the ‘non-working class’ who rely on their parents. It may therefore make sense to elucidate the fact that many of them hold an assumption about schooling that the reason they should school is simply to obtain a certificate in order to belong to the working class by getting employed and in so doing, get a means of livelihood. This may suggest why many of them go through the rigorous exercise of schooling.

Scope of the study
This study will be carried out in the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. It will focus on initiation severity and liking for a group, and therefore, it will not digress from its proposed domain as to examine closely, the said phenomena and also where necessary, explore with little focus on any other plausible factor that could be responsible for liking for a group.

Theoretical framework
-         Cognitive Dissonance Theory
In this study, it will be important to consider the theory of cognitive dissonance by Leon Festinger (1957) in order to answer such questions as ‘Is there something in the initiation itself that might account for the relationship between severity of initiation and Liking for a group?’
Is severity of initiation positively related to group preference when motivation for admission is held constant? Such a relationship is strongly implied by Festinger's (1957) theory of cognitive dissonance. The theory of cognitive dissonance predicts this relationship in the following manner. No matter how attractive a group is to a person it is rarely completely positive, i.e., usually there are some aspects of the group that the individual does not like. If he has undergone an unpleasant initiation to gain admission to the group, his cognition that he has gone through an unpleasant experience for the sake of membership is dissonant with his cognition that there are things about the group that he does not like. He can reduce this dissonance in two ways. He can convince himself that the initiation was not very unpleasant, or he can exaggerate the positive characteristics of the group and minimize its negative aspects. With increasing severity of initiation it becomes more and more difficult to believe that the initiation was not very bad. Thus, a person who has gone through a painful initiation to become a member of a group should tend to reduce his dissonance by over estimating the attractiveness of the group. The
specific hypothesis tested in the present study is that individuals who undergo an unpleasant initiation to become members of a group increase their liking for the group; that is, they find the group more attractive than do persons who become members without going through a severe initiation.

Literature Review
Similar studies have reported findings about the effects of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Many of these studies are related to family issues. It has been found that the father is the most difficult
family member to engage in the treatment process
(Forrest, 1969; Haley & Hoffman, 1967; Jackson & Weakland,
1961; MacGregor, Ritchie, Serrano, Schuster, McDonald & Gollishian, 1964; Satir, 1964), yet his involvement in therapy appears crucial. Considering the apparent significance of the father's role in family treatment,
investigations of the effectiveness of commitment-enhancing strategies that could be utilized prior to the onset of family treatment are needed. Toward the development of such strategies, Goldstein, Heller and Sechrest (1966)
proposed that: "The degree of effort required of the patient-candidate to gain therapy group membership will positively influence the subsequent initial attractiveness of membership status to him if he persists in completing
the required pre-membership tasks." Gillis (19 74) stated that the therapist should actively attempt to engage the client in some effortful task prior to admittance to therapy in order that he more highly value the therapeutic
encounter. Torrey (1973) emphasized the beneficial effects of a difficult "pilgramage" prior to involvement in therapy.
These conclusions are based upon several studies focusing on the effects of initiation severity on subsequent liking for a group. Aronson and Mills (1959), Schopler and Bateson (1962), and Gerard and Mathewson (1966),
found that individuals who underwent a severe initiation in order to become members of a group liked that group better than individuals who underwent a mild initiation. In all three studies, the procedure consisted of inviting
college students to join a discussion group (which was actually fictitious) and then requiring them to undergo an initiation procedure prior to their acceptance as members of the group. Severe initiation tasks included
reading aloud twelve "obscene" words and two vivid descriptions of sexual activity from novels in the presence of the experimenter (Aronson & Mills, Schopler & Bateson), and receiving strong electrical shocks (Gerard & Mathewson).
Mild initiation tasks consisted of reading aloud five words related to sex, but not "obscene" in front of the experimenter (Aronson & Mills, Schopler & Bateson) and receiving mild electrical shocks (Gerard & Mathewson).
Upon completion of these tasks, subjects listened to a tape recording, presumably representing a previous group meeting. After listening to the recording, which was deliberately designed to be dull and banal, students completed a short questionnaire concerning their liking for the group and its members. These studies were designed to create cognitive dissonance in the severe initiation condition in that joining a dull discussion group is not sufficient justification for having undergone a stressful experience (Freedman, Carlsmith & Sears, 1970). Presumably, students in the severe initiation condition evaluated the group discussion more positively in an effort to reduce this dissonance (Aronson, 19 72).

Statement of hypotheses
-         There will be a significant difference between liking for a group of participants who experienced severe initiation and compered to those who experienced moderate initiation.
-         There will be a significant difference between males and females in terms of initiation severity and liking for a group.
-         There will be a significant relationship between occupational status and liking for a group.
-         There will be a significant relationship between the severity of initiation and liking for a group.

Operational definition of terms
-         Severity: how something holds to be serious or difficult
-         Liking for a group: to be fond of a group and attributing pleasantness to it.
-         Severity of initiation: the extent to which a new member of a group is made to go through rigours, perform difficult tasks, or experience the rites of being a new member.

Method
The method that will be employed in this research will cover the research design, research population, and instruments.
-         Research design
For the purpose of this research work, the survey research design will be adopted. It will involve the collection of data through the use of questionnaire (rating scales).
-         Research participants
Research participants are the number of elements, units, or individuals from which information is sought. This will herein imply that a University such as the Ekiti State University will be selected and further selecting 200 participants to include 100 males and 100 females.

Method of statistical analyses
The study will make use of the following statistical analyses:
-         Independent T-Test will be used to test the hypotheses that:
There will be a significant difference between liking for a group of participants who experienced severe initiation and compered to those who experienced moderate initiation.
-        There will be a significant difference between males and females in terms of initiation severity and liking for a group.
- Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient will be used to test the hypotheses that:
-        There will be a significant relationship between occupational status and liking for a group.
-        There will be a significant relationship between the severity of initiation and liking for a group.
SCALES OR INSTRUMENTS THAT WILL BE USED IN THIS RESEARCH ARE:
-         PERCEIVED SEVERITY OF INITIATION SCALE
Developed and validated by Guilford (1954), re-modified by Hautalouma  and Spungin (1974).
Reliability of the scale was determined and this recorded the internal consistency of 0.62.
-         LIKING FOR GROUP MEMBERS SCALE
Developed and validated by Guilford (1954) using Hoyt’s method as used in PERCEIVED SEVERITY OF INITIATION SCALE.
Coefficient of reliability for internal consistency is 0.89
See also How To Write a Research Proposal

References:

Guilford, J.P. (1954).  Psychometric Methods. 2d ed. New York: McGraw- Hill.
Hautolouma, J. and Spungin, H. (1974) Effects of Initiation Severity and interest on group attitudes. Journal of  Social Psychology. 93, 245-259.





DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY

Dear respondents,
  This questionnaire is strictly meant for research work, you are required to fill it according to your opinion. There are no wrong or right answers and utmost confidentiality would be maintained. You are required to answer all the questions.

SECTION A: BIO DATA
AGE: 18-29 (  )      30-35 (  )    36-40 (  )   41-45 (  )    46 & above   (  )
SEX:  Male (  )   Female (  )
RELIGION: Christianity (  )   Islam (  ) Specify if other…………
MARITAL STATUS: Single (  ) Married (  ) Divorce (  )
OCCUPATION: Employed (  ) Self-employed (  ) Unemployed (  )


SECTION B
Please circle the number which is closest to the point on the scale which best describes your feelings concerning the screening exercise you have being experiencing in this first year of your studentship in this institution.


Dull                       3      2     1     0     1     2     3         Interesting
Non-stressful         3     2     1     0     1     2     3          Stressful
Difficult                  3     2     1     0    1     2     3         Easy
Worthless               3     2     1     0     1     2     3         Worthwhile
Enjoyable               3     2     1     0     1     2     3         Unenjoyable
Unimportant           3     2     1     0     1     2     3          Important
Severe                     3     2     1     0     1     2     3          Mild

SECTION C
Please circle the number which is closest to the point on which best describe the students and staff of this academic institution as a whole.

Very Poorly Prepared           3     2     1     0     1     2     3           Very Well Prepared                                                                                                                              
Very Enthusiastic                 3     2     1     0     1     2     3            Very Unenthusiatic
Very Frank                           3     2     1     0     1     2     3             Very Evasive
Very Irritable                       3     2     1     0     1     2     3             Very Alert
Very                                     3     2     1     0     1     2     3             Very Embarrassed Unembarrassed
Very Competent                  3     2     1     0     1     2     3             Very Incompetent



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References


  • . Aronson, E. The Social Animal. (1972). San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co.

  • Aronson, E. and Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a   group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 67, 177-184.



  • Dupuit, Jules (1969). "On the Measurement of the Utility of Public Works". In Arrow, Kenneth J.; Scitovsky, Tibor. Readings in Welfare Economics. London: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 0-04-338038-7.

  • Festinger, L. A. (1958) Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford    University Press.

  • Forrest, T. (1969). Treatment of the father in family therapy. Family Process. 8^, 106-118.

  • Freedman, J., Carlsmith, J. M. and Sears, D. (1970). Social Psychology. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall").

  • Gerard, H. B. and Mathewson, G. C. The effects of severity of initiation on liking for a group: A Replication.
  • Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 1966, 2^, 278-287.
  • Gillis, J. (1974). Social Influence Therapy: The Therapist as Manipulator in Psychology Today, December, 90-95.
  • Goldstein,  A. P., Heller, K. and Sechrest, L. B. (1966). Psychotherapy and the Psychology of Behaviour Change. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  • Guilford, J. P. Psychometric Methods. 2d ed. New York. McGraw-Hill, 1954.
  • Haley, J. and Hoffman, L. (1967) Techniques of Family Therapy. New York: Basic Books.
  • Jackson, D. and Weakland, J. (1961) Conjoint family therapy: Some considerations on theory, technique, and results. Psychiatry. 24^, 30-45.
  • MacGregor, R. et al. (1964). Multiple Impact Therapy. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Satir, V. (1964). Conjoint Family Therapy. Palo Alto, California: Science and Behavior Books.
  • Schopler, J. and Bateson, N. A dependence interpretation of the effects of a severe initiation.
  • Journal of Personality. 1962, ^ , 663-649.
  • Shapiro, R. and Budman, S. Defection, termination, and continuation in family and individual therapy.
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  • References

  • New York: Emerson Hall. Aronson, E., & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59 (2), 177-181 DOI: 10.1037/h0047195

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