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Social Psychology

Social Thinking,Social Influence, and Social Relations

Elaina Joseph

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of Social Psychology

Unit 14:
Social Psychology
Social psychology is the study of how we think about, influence, and relate to others. INTRODUCTION SOCIAL THINKING I. Attributing behavior to persons or to situations • Fritz Heider came up with the attribution theory which says people attribute others’ behavior to either their internal disposition or the external situation that they’re in.

• The fundamental attribution error is that we tend to overestimate a person’s natural personality and underestimate the position that they’re in. Attitudes are feelings, often influenced by our beliefs that predispose our reactions to objects, people, and events. II. Attitudes and actions The central route persuasion is an attitude change path in which interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts. This tidal wave of change has occurred as people are naturally involved in the issue.

For instance, both Republicans and Democrats analyzed and weighed the intelligence available at the time and overwhelmingly voted to support Pres. Bush’s plan to attack Iraq and remove the dictator Saddam Hussein.

The peripheral route persuasion is an attitude change path in which people are influenced by incidental cues, such a speaker’s attractiveness.
Simply, this occurs when issues don’t engage systematic thinking.

For instance, many people watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, became caught up in the flash and glamour of “going green,” and accepted man-made global warming as scientific truth despite a lack of scientific experimentation needed to link the believed man-caused global warming as cause-effect. Attitudes Affect Actions Actions Affect Attitudes
The foot-in-the-door phenomenon is the tendency for people who agree to a small action to comply later to a bigger request. Role-Playing Affects Attitudes The role that a person fills also affects his or her actions.
When you adopt a new role, like a high school freshman, you start to try to follow the social prescriptions. The most famous role-playing situation was the famous “Zimbardo Prison Experiment” done by Philip Zimbardo at Stanford in 1972.

Zimbardo set up a fake prison in the basement at Stanford, then randomly assigned prisoners and guards.

They role-played. Guards were given clubs and uniforms and told to keep order. Prisoners were given humiliating robes.

The effect—the “guards” assumed their roles and basically abused the “prisoners”. The experiment was called off after 6 days. Cognitive Dissonance – Relief From Tension When our attitudes and our actions don’t match up, we feel tense. This is called “cognitive dissonance”. To fight this tension, the cognitive dissonance theory proposed by Leon Festinger tries to bring our attitudes and our actions together to relieve tension. SOCIAL INFLUENCE I. Conformity and obedience Conformity is adjusting our behavior or thinking toward some group standard.

Solomon Asch did a conformity study where he asked which line was the same length as another (the answer was obvious).

However, a college student was asked to sit with a group of five people in the experiment.

During the first four trials, the five people got the answer right, which was also what the student thought.

However, in the last trial, the five people purposely said the wrong one. The college student eventually went with to the others’ wrong choice 1/3 of the time. Reasons for Conforming In a community, we respond to the normative social influence, which is influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. If we don’t conform, the price may be really severe.
The other reason is that people can give us information. This informational social influence is the influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality. Obedience is obeying the directions of an authority figure.
The most famous/infamous obedience experiment was done by Asch’s student, Stanley Milgram. Milgram had 2 groups of people…
• Learner—was to answer word pair questions.
• Teacher—was to “teach” word pairs and give electric shocks for incorrect answers.

The teachers were supposed to teach the learners word pairs and test them on what they learned. For each wrong answer, the teacher would start at 15 volts, then after each wrong answer, go up a notch. The teacher and learner were in separate rooms, but after the 120-volt switch, the teacher could hear the learner painful pleas. The electrical dial went up to 450 volts. In fact, the electric shocks were fake.

If the teacher got nervous about shocking the Learner, the Experimenter told the Teacher to continue.

Milgram’s purpose was to see how far the Teacher would go?

The findings—most people (63%) went all the way to 450 volts despite of the pre-experiment survey which stated that no teachers would go up to the final switch.

The Milgram Experiment is often cited as ethically wrong. II. Group influence A. Social facilitation is the phenomenon of stronger responses on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others. For instance, runners run faster when competing against people than against the clock.

B. Social loafing is the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable.

C. Deindividuation is the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity. The effects of group interaction: Can be both good and bad. Group polarization is the enhancement of a group’s prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group.

For instance, the political views between two groups of college freshmen may be slight at first, but by their senior years, the gap will have widened.

It tends to occur when people within a group discuss an idea that most of them either favor or oppose.

“Groupthink” occurs when the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives, even if the idea is unrealistic. III.Cultural influence  Culture is the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.
Although cultures differ, the ability to have and to pass on culture to others is universal.

A. Personal Space
B. Punctuality
C. Pace of life IV. The power of Individuals Even though we are social animals, people have the power to do things on their own.
Social control, the power of the situation, and personal control, the power of the individual, interact.
minority influence- the power of one or two individuals to sway majorities

History shows it is the power of an individual working alone who brings about great change, rather than many working as a group.
Gandhi who freed India using nonviolent protest
Rosa Parks who sparked the Civil Rights Movement Social Relations how we relate to one another I. Prejudice
Prejudice: An unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action.

Stereotype: A generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people.

Discrimination: Unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group and its members. Prejudice means “prejudgment" - drawing conclusions prior to analyzing a situation. How Prejudiced Are People? Overt Prejudice has been waning over the years, however subtle prejudice lingers.
ex. Despite increased verbal support for interracial marriage, many people admit that they would feel uncomfortable with someone of another race.

Although it has been waning, overt prejudice still surfaces in public settings.

ex. In the L.A. area 1115 landlords received identically worded e-mails from a potential tenant, who was actually a researcher, expressing interest in a vacant apartment advertised online. Encouraging replies came back to 56% of notes signed "Tyrell Jackson," to 66% signed "Said Al-Rahman," and to 89% of those signed "Patrick McDougall".

Recent experiments have found that prejudice can be not only subtle but also automatic and unconscious
example: www.implicit.harvard.edu Social roots of Prejudice Emotional Roots of Prejudice Cognitive Roots of Prejudice II. Aggression Inequalities, Social Divisions, and Emotional Scapegoating are all partially responsible for the occurrence of prejudices.

Social Inequalities
When some people (the “haves”) have money, power, and prestige and others do not , the “haves” develop attitudes that justify things as they are.
ex. Women have been perceived as unassertive but sensitive and therefore suited for caretaking tasks they have traditionally performed.
ex. Slave owners saw their slaves as inately lazy, ignorant, and irresponsible. Having these traits "justified" enslaving the slaves. Us and Them: Ingroup and Outgroup
Humans are a group-bound species
We divide the world into an "us" and and a "them". This entails racism and war, but it also provides the benefits of communal solidarity. We define who we are partly in terms of our groups.
Through our social identities we associate ourselves with certain groups and contrast ourselves with others.
We reserve our most intense dislike for outgroup rivals most like us.
ex. In a survey, 7/10 Japanese hold an unfavorable view of China, and 7/10 Chinese hold an unfavorable view of Japan.
Ingroup - "Us"
Outgroup "Them"
Ingroup bias - the tendency to favor our own group.
The urge to distinguish enemies from friends and to have one's group be dominant predisposes prejudice against strangers.
ex. High school students form cliques (jocks, emos, skaters, gangsters, freaks,and geeks) and disparage those outside their own group. Scapegoat theory - The theory that prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame.
ex. After 9/11 some outraged Americans lashed out at innocent Arab-Americans.
Fear and Anger Aggression & Agression against people of a different ethnicity or race racism new forms of terrorism Categorization - one way we simplify our world is to categorize
When we categorize people into groups we often stereotype them.
In other words we recognize how greatly we differ from others in our group, but we overestimate the similarity of those within other groups. (Outgroup Homogeneity)

To those in one ethnic group, members of another often seem more alike than they really are in appearance, personality, and attitudes.
Other-race effect - The tendency to recall faces of one’s own race more accurately than faces of other races. Also called the cross-race effect and the own-race bias.
People can get better at recognizing individual faces from another group with experience.

Just-world phenomenon - The tendency for people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get.
ex. Assuming that those who succeed are good and those who suffer are bad.
Rape victims, abused spouses, or people with Aids got what they deserved Aggression: Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy.
Aggression has biological influences at three levels:
1. Genetic Influences
twin studies have shown that genes influence human aggression
The Y chromosome is a genetic marker found in those who commit the most violence.
2. Neural Influences
Animal and human brains have neural systems that when stimulated, either produce or inhibit agressive behavior.
3. Biochemical Influences
Hormones (especially testosterone), alcohol, and other substances in the blood influence the neural systems that control aggression. Psychological and Social-Cultural Factors in Aggression Studies in which animals and humans experience unpleasant events reveal that those made miserable often make others miserable.
Frustration – aggression Principle: The principle that frustration, the blocking of an attempt to achieve some goal, creates anger, which can generate aggression.
Like, frustration, other stimuli (physical pain, personal insults, foul odors, hot temperatures, cigarette smoke, and etc.) can also evoke hostility.
Ostracism can cause aggression
People led to feel socially excluded in experiments were later more likely to act aggressively.
Rejection-induced aggression
Other studies have shown that rejection often intensifies aggression.
ex. Seung-Hui Cho and the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007 Observing Models of Aggression Acquiring Social Scripts Do video games teach, or release, violence? III. Attraction In Unit 6, it was noted that observing TV violence tends to desensitize people to cruelty and prime them to respond aggressively when provoked.

This section, proposes that sexually explicit media models contributes to sexually aggressive tendencies.

Sexually explicit material has negative effects in many ways—it makes one’s spouse appear less attractive, it makes sexual crimes seem less severe,and it makes sexual violence seem less offensive.

rape myth- the idea that some women invite or enjoy rape and get "swept away" while being "taken"

Compared to those who watch little television, men and women who watch more television are more likely to accept the rape myth.

Depictions of sexual violence directly affect men's acceptance and performance of aggression against women, especially when said depictions portray the rape myth. social scripts- mental tapes for how to act, provided by our culture
When we find ourselves in new situations, uncertain how to act, we rely on social scripts.
We can acquire scripts from media like movies and music. Studies have found that video games can prime and lead to an increase in aggressive thoughts and emotions and violent behavior.
At times, people have copy-catted the violence of games to real life.
Due partly to the more active participation and rewarded violence of game play, violent video games have even greater effects on aggressive behavior and cognition than do violent television and movies.
Aggression is a biopsychosocial phenomenon. The Psychology of Attraction Three ingredients of our liking for one another:
Physical attractiveness
Similarity Proximity - geographic nearness mere-exposure effect- the phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking of them

Proximity breeds liking

ex. A Taiwanese man wrote more than 700 letters to his girlfriend, urging her to marry him. She ended up marrying the mail carrier. Physical Attractiveness After proximity, the next biggest factor that draws attraction is physical appearance.
Attraction influences first impressions
People's physical attraction also predicts their frequency of dating, their feelings of popularity, and other initial impressions of their personalities.

Attractiveness also depends upon our feelings about the person
If led to believe that someone has appealing traits ( being honest, polite) people perceive the person as more physically attractive. Similarity We tend not to like dissimilar people
Opposites Retract
The more alike people are; the more their liking endures

Other determinants of attraction
We like those who like us, especially when our self image is low.
reward theory of attraction- that we will like those whose behavior is rewarding to us and that we will continue relationships that offer more rewards than costs Romantic Love Passionate Love Companionate Love IV. Altruism The Norms for Helping V. Conflict and Peacemaking Two types of love:
Passionate love- temporary
Companionate love- more enduring : An aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship.

Passionate Love is usually brought on by arousal.
Arousal can come in many forms, such as fright, aerobic exercise, funny or crude talk etc.
•A study showed men who were aroused by various causes of arousal viewed a woman as being more attractive than men who were not aroused.
•In other words, when our heart is pounding, we see a member of the opposite sex as more attractive.
•To be revved up and to associate some of that arousal with a desirable person is to feel the pull of passion. : The deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined.
Develops as love matures and passion subsides.
Keys to a successful companionate relationship
Equity- A condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give to it.
both partners freely give and receive

Self-disclosure- Revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others.
Self-disclosure breeds liking, and liking breeds self-disclosure

Given self-disclosing intimacy and mutually supportive equalitly, the odds favor enduring companionate love. - Unselfish regard for the welfare of others. Bystander Intervention Altruism became a major concern for social psychologists after the March 13, 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese.
Though 38 neighbors heard her cry, they were hesitant to call the police.

Bystander Effect- The tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present.
ex. In early December 2012, Ki Suk Han was pushed off a subway platform into the path of an oncoming train, as he struggled to lift himself off the tracks in his final moments no one helped him.
In studies with simulated emergencies, if more people shared responsibility for helping (a diffusion of responsibility) any single person was less likeliy to help because the level of responsibility is “watered down.”
if only one person was there, he or she usually took action. Altruism researchers have discerned that the best odds of our helping someone occur when:

1.The person seems to need and deserve help.
2.The person is in some way similar to us.
3.We’ve just observed someone else being helpful.
4.We’re not in a hurry.
5.We’re in a small town or rural area.
6.We’re feeling guilty.
7.We’re focused on others and not preoccupied.
8.We’re in a good mood.
Happy people are more inclined to help. Social Exchange Theory- The theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim for which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs.

For most people helping is intrinsically rewarding
helpfulness breeds happiness

Reciprocity Norm- An expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them.
compels us to give about as much as we receive

Social-responsibility Norm- An expectation that people will help those dependent upon them.
even if the costs outweigh the benefits Conflict-A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas.
In all conflicts from wars to martial disputes people become enmeshed in a potentially destructive social process that can produce results that no one wants.

Destructive processes = Social Traps & Distorted Perceptions Social Traps - A situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior. Enemy Perceptions Mirror-image Perceptions- Mutual views often held by conflicting people as when each side sees itself as ethical and peaceful and views the other side as evil and aggressive.
each side demonizes the other side
Self-fulfilling Prophecy: A belief that leads to its own fulfillment.
If Juan believes Maria is annoyed with him, he may snub her, causing her to act in ways that justify his perception. VI. Peacemaking Contact Close contact typically helps resolve a conflict between two conflicting parties

Contact with people whom we prior had held prejudice or dislike helps us get along.

ex. Being around homosexuals regularly increases their acceptance by straight men and women. Communication Cooperation Cooperation can lead to achieving superordinate goals

Superordinate Goals- Shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation.
ex. After 9/11, George W. Bush’s approval rating shot up to 91%, the highest ever. The shared goal of America was to achieve justice for the wrong brought on by terrorists.
Cooperative contact can reduce conflict.
Cooperation changes "us" and "them" into "we"
Conciliation  Sometimes, when conflicts become intense a mediator may facilitate communication.
They help each party to voice its viewpoint and to understand the other's
Mediators try to turn a lose-lose situation into a win-win situation.
 During times of crisis, communication is most-needed, but least likely to take place.  Conciliation is overcoming disagreements and giving in to, or appeasing, another person.

Charles Osgood offered a path of conciliation called “GRIT”
GRIT: Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction – a strategy designed to decrease international tensions.
Applying GRIT:
One side announces mutual interests and it's intent to lessen tensions.
It then makes a small conciliatory act. Without weakening one's retaliatory capability. This opens the door to reciprocity by the other party.
If the enemy responds with reconciliation, that gets another conciliatory response. If the enemy responds with aggression, appropriate action is taken.
In laboratory experiments, GRIT has been an effective strategy for increasing trust and cooperation.
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