The village is self-sustainable and residents are expected to stay within the community; outsiders are not welcome. The Grand Rubber is the religious leader who conducts services at the main synagogue; his dictates are considered law. In the fall of 2010, residents at a nearby nursing home wished to form a prayer group to conduct services at their facility. Aaron Rottener, a resident of New Square, stopped attending services at the main synagogue to pray with the nursing home residents. Shortly after Rottenness defection, his family became the target for harassment and ostracism (“Troubling pattern in New
Square,” 201 1). In May of 2011, the violence escalated with an incident of arson and attempted murder. Shall Spittle, the butler of Grand Rubber Tweeters, attempted to firebomb the Rottener home. However, Rottener spotted Spittle on surveillance cameras and confronted him; consequently, Rottener suffered 3rd degree burns on over 50% of his body (Young, 201 1). Significant research has been conducted on group popularization. This principle states that likened groups tend to reinforce shared attitudes and behaviors, “discussion typically strengthens the average inclination of group members” (Myers, 2009, p. 09). Group popularization significantly contributed to the atmosphere of intolerance within New Square. Members of this community had limited discourse with outsiders; the lack of ideological differences and counterarguments led to the concentration of ideas, “neighborhoods become echo chambers, with opinions ricocheting off kindred-spirited friends” (Myers, 2009, p. 212). Residents of New Square live in close proximity, socialize with each other, conduct business matters together, and worship together; this resulted in the ideal situation for group popularization.
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Another significant principle operating in New Square was irruption. Groupings is characterized by, “the tendency of decision-making groups to suppress dissent in the interests of group harmony” (Myers, 2009, p. 217). Conditions that contribute to groupings are, “an amiable, cohesive group; relative isolation of the group from dissenting viewpoints; [and] a directive leader who signals what decision he or she favors” (Myers, 2009, p. 217). The first two elements have been mentioned previously. The directive leader exists in the guise of Grand Rubber Tweeters; he issues edicts and rules for the residents of the village.
Key symptoms of groupings are conformity reassure and the existence of mudguards. These two symptoms are illustrated by the following statement, “[there is] a network that defends Grand Rubber David Tweeter’s rules with intimidation and violence, terrorizing anyone who would go against him” (Cohen & Lieberman, 201 1, Para. 6). When the Grand Rubber issued an edict forbidding prayer outside of New Square; groupings prevented a rational examination of Rottenness actions. The residents of New Square demonstrated the tendency to “assume the inherent morality of their group and ignore ethical and moral issues” (Myers, 2009, p. 8). Social psychology principles that explain the provision of helping can also be applied to this event. Aaron Rotten berg’s actions illustrate the social-exchange theory and the social-responsibility norm. The social- exchange theory states; “human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s costs” (Myers, 2009, p. 375). The social-responsibility norm requires that we “help those who really need it” (Myers, 2009, p. 369). Aaron Rottenness decision to pray at the nursing home was done to allow the elderly residents to pray.
Prayer services require a Inman of 10 men and a prayer leader; Rottener helped form the 10 man group, he was also qualified to lead prayer. However, this decision benefited Rottener as well. The nursing home services were shorter than those at the synagogue; this allowed Rottener more leisure time (Stern, 2011). His decision initially benefited those that needed help, allowed him to pray, and minimized the time he spent praying. Unfortunately, he failed to accurately estimate the cost of non-conformity. Many principles of social psychology can used to describe the personal and situational factors that contributed this incident.
This homogeneous community, which exists in relative isolation, places a large emphasis on conformity to cultural norms and obedience to community leadership; “Residents who defy this Hashish enclave’s spiritual leader say they live in fear of a band of thugs who sometimes violently defend his edicts” (Cohen & Lieberman, 2011, Para. 1). In this situation, instrumental aggression was utilized to force compliance. Aaron Rottener displayed an internal locus of control and reactant when he violated group norms. The residents of New Square were affected by De-individuation and an ethnocentric social identity.