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Course: MCAT > Unit 4

Lesson 1: Foundations of behavior passages

Group dynamics in a graduate school classroom


A psychology professor at a private university is teaching a controversial graduate level course on drug addiction, entitled “Addiction is the User, Not the Drug.” The thesis of his class is that drug addiction is a choice and not a result of any chemical in the drug itself. He asserts that individuals who use drugs do not put stock in their future health or well being, and instead rely on the immediate reinforcement the drug provides. The professor does not teach himself, and instead assigns groups of students to present arguments for and against this viewpoint, relying on articles and texts he assigns to provide the appropriate information. Each group is graded on their ability to present the information accurately. Several students become upset with the content of the course and their grades. They submit a statement to the Dean requesting to change to a different course and their primary complaints are as follows:
Complaint A: “When we examined his background, we found that that Professor X is an influential leader in an addiction organization, where extreme views regarding addictive substances have been adopted. This addiction organization is very isolated from other branches of academia and the professors in the group believe that their research is more important than the work of others. They have been described as close-minded and are highly regarded as an ineffective group. We feel as though this class is promoting the ideals of the addiction organization.”
Complaint B: “Several of us do not agree with Professor X’s opinions regarding addiction, and feel as though he has only chosen articles and texts that support his viewpoint, rather than scientifically examining all addiction literature. We agree with him in class to protect our grades, but privately we believe that drugs are powerful substances that can hijack the brain, rendering individuals helpless in making future choices.”
The members of the addiction organization most likely deal with which of the following group dynamics?
Choose 1 answer: