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Chapter 15 : Social Psychology

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William Cockrell

on 26 April 2016

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Transcript of Chapter 15 : Social Psychology

Chapter 15 : Social Psychology
What is a group?
"It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it" Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart
At least two people
Common goal
Being Connected
Loyalty to group
Actual Definitions
"A group is two or more people who for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as 'us'"
David Myers
"A collection of at least two people who are doing or being something together"
Roy Baumeister & Brad Bushman
"Groups have unique, emergent properties that differentiate them from a mere aggregate of individuals on three counts: perceived entitativity, perceived volition, and actual behavior"
Susan Fiske
" A group is a typically on-going interaction of multiple, often similar, people who are interdependent and for whom group identification is important"
H. Colleen Sinclair

Good features
Bad features
Social facilitation
Group polarization/risky shift
Common knowledge effect
Social loafing
Evolutionary advantages
Increase in emotional affect
Transactive Memory
Pluralistic ignorance
Minority influence
Social Facilitation
Do we work better in the presence of others?
Evaluation apprehension
Dominant response theory
Give Me Some Proof
Michaels et al. (1982)
Zajonc et al. (1969)
Social Loafing
People exert less energy when working in a group toward a collective goal compared to working alone
Research by Latane, Williams, & Harkins (1979) found that three people clapping alone were louder than six people clapping together
Made worse when individual performance is not measurable
People rarely admit they are social loafing, we accuse others
Group Polarization
The tendency for groups to shift to extreme sides when making decisions compared to a single person
Groups naturally seek consensus
Group similarity is important
Group isolation enhances polarization
Repetition of group ideas strengthens arguments
The tendency for a group to "force" a consensus without considering all rational alternatives
Biased leader
High pressure from outside forces
High or suffering self-esteem
Symptoms of Groupthink
Pressure toward conformity
Reluctance to criticize information
Illusion of invulnerability
Heightened beliefs of morality
Believed unanimity
Avoiding Groupthink
Make group aware of groupthink
Encourage objectivity
Appoint a devil's advocate
Create subgroups
Invite outside consultants
Independent committees
Create individual accountability
suggestions by I.L. Janis (1982)
Minority Influence
Under certain conditions the minority can be persuasive
Minority view maintains consistency
The minority projects self-confidence
Defection of majority members to the minority
The minority does not appear harmful to group
Social compensation
Social inhibition
Social Compensation
An increased effort while working in a group
When individual effort can be measured
When group performance is important to individual
When individual believes others are incompetent
Introduction to Social Psychology
Social Psychology :
the scientific, psychological study of how a person's thoughts and behaviors can be influenced by the presence of others.
Susan Fiske, a prominent social psychologist, argues that the
"need to belong"
is one of the most basic drives among human beings. This means that we seek social interactions and avoid being alone.
It is argued the need to belong is an evolutionary adaptation. Why would this be an evolved response?
Factors that influence social affiliation :
approval, support, security, friendship, and information.
Quantitative comparisons :
comparing different objects or people based on numerical data. Examples include determining average weight, height, age, test scores, etc.
Qualitative (Social) Comparisons :
how can we measure the 2014 Best Picture? This is not numerical data, it is subjective data. With subjective data we use
social comparisons to draw a generalized consensus.
Social Comparisons :
Created by Leon Festinger which explains that people compare themselves or evaluate their experiences against others in their social environment. Think of how you talk about your test scores with your friends after a test.
People automatically know to compare themselves to others of equal skill levels. It would be pointless to compare your writing abilities to Alice Walker, J.K. Rowling, or Michael Cunningham if you were just starting.
Comparing yourself to people better than you tends to cause anxiety, aggression, and learned helplessness. Sometimes it does cause the person to push themselves harder. Comparing yourself against people below you creates narcissistic traits and disdain for others.
The Rules of Attraction
Interpersonal Attraction :
one of the most commonly stated terms in social psychology. Interpersonal attraction refers to a positive opinion of another person.
Interpersonal :
this term is used to imply a relationship between at least two people that creates thoughts or behaviors that would never occur without at least two people (e.g., we don't hold the door open when there is nobody behind us).
Some researchers argue that we form basic opinions (e.g., like or dislike) within minutes of meeting a person. It is also important to realize that most people form opinions before they
the opinions they have formed.
The Laws of Attraction :
physical proximity, physical attractiveness, competence, and similarity, and reciprocity.
Physical proximity :
A famous college dorm study first reported that the closer we live to a person and more frequent we see a person we have higher chances of forming relationships with them.
Physical Attractiveness :
Physically attractive people are constantly rated higher on intelligence, likability, warmth, humor, health, and social skills. Physical attractiveness is VERY important at first, but as the relationship increases this trait becomes the least important. As we get to know a person better our personality influences their attractiveness.
Similarity :
the most important traits of similarity are age, sex, and race/ethnicity. It is argued that similarity may be the strongest rule of attraction. Romantic relationships where the partners are very similar have the highest stability rates whereas highly different couples tend to experience divorce.
Romantic Relationship Studies
Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love :
the most scientifically respected theory about love. The three main factors of love are
, and
Intimacy :
the emotional side of love. This is having a psychological attraction to the person. Intimacy is wanting to be near a person because they make you feel good and you want to do the same for them. A high focus on positive reciprocity.
Passion :
physical attraction to the person. Passion primarily stems from visible traits initially but advance to noticing characteristics that are attractive (e.g., @ first you like him for his bangin' body, but eventually you think his laugh is equally attractive). Passion primarily deals with bodily arousal.
Commitment :
often viewed as the outcome of intimacy and passion. This is the desire to create a life together with your significant other.
Passionate Love :
how most relationships start out. There is an intense focus on sexual pleasure, a strong need to be always close to the person, and preoccupation with the relationship. Typically lasts the first 6 months - 1 year of a relationship.
Companionate Love :
as passion declines, the relationship tends to become more intimate. This is where the people become highly dependent on each other. Common statements of companionate love would be "I can't see myself without him/her", "I would be lost without him/her," or "They are my better half".
The presence of commitment has been found to be one of the most reliable predictors of relationship stability. Hundreds of LGBTQ relationship studies find that the lack of "public commitment" is one of the largest reasons these relationships fail.
Consummate Love :
the "ultimate form of love" that combines intimacy, passion, and commitment. Successful, lasting relationships typically consist of consummate love.
What is a group?
No established definition
Group =
people who have something in common, close proximity, respect, and admire their relationship
= a group of people connected by proximity, but nothing else (e.g., people in line together, people in an elevator together, bus passengers, etc.)
Category =
grouping that does not contain a sense of meaning or belonging. Examples = people with brown hair, people with a driver's license, etc.)
Types of Groups
Primary groups :
Family and friends. Most influential on your daily life and decisions. Help shape your identity. Can your primary group be online friends?
Secondary Groups :
Larger group, less intimate (use of social filter), shared interests/tasks, most have a common goal required to achieve. Examples include college class, work, political party.
Voluntary Association:
form of secondary group that is formed due to a mutual interest. Usually not required. North America has a high amount of voluntary associations.
In-group :
your personal group. You feel loyalty to the group and judge other groups by your standards.
Out-group :
other groups. Usually do not like them.
Groups Continued
Reference groups :
People important to you who often come to mind when you are making important decisions. Highly influential.
Social Network :
visual mapping of relationships with the subject as the central point (hub). Easy way to make new connections.
Classic six degrees of separation statements are still debated (Kleinfeld, 2002; Muhamad, 2010)
Technology has drastically altered how we view groups and networking
Status F.A.Q.
Status roles are guidelines of how to act.
Status sets =
having multiple different status roles. Sometimes they are complimentary (Nursery workers and mother), sometimes not (Bouncer and mother).
Ascribed Status =
status that you are assigned when born, you do not work for this status.
Ascribed Status
(The Lucky Ones?)
Achieved Status = Status you earn throughout life.
Achieved Status
(You Betta Work!)
Master Status =
a "primary" status that remains dominate (e.g., race, sex, disabilities, etc).
Role Effects
Role Conflict :
Occurs when roles require discrepant behaviors or beliefs. Problems across roles. Using an earlier example; mother who is also a police officer.
Role Strain:
Happens when there are conflicting opinions or behaviors within one role. Technical support has to be courteous AND time-sensitive; sometimes these two behaviors are mutually exclusive. Problems within one role.
Sign - vehicles
: how we nonverbally communicate our roles
People prefer to understand why others perform specific behaviors. Unfortunately, most behavior goes unexplained in public situations.
Attributions :
to help offset this uneasiness, people form impressions or attributions of why people are performing the behaviors they are (e.g., She's crying because she lost her job vs. She's crying because of ruined Louboutins)
External Attributions :
Believing behavior is due to factors outside of the person's immediate control (e.g., She lost her job because the company is downsizing).
Internal Attributions :
Belief that a person's behavior is due to the primary characteristics (e.g., She lost her job because she is lazy and never shows up).
Fundamental Attribution Error :
We explain other's behavior with internal attributions but explain our own behaviors with external attributions.
Actor-Observer Effect :
We explain our own behaviors with external attributions.
There is a strong link between high rates of internal attribution and higher rates of prejudiced beliefs.
Conformity :
conformity is adapting and responding according to the majority of the group.
The more people in the group, the higher the chance that people will conform.
The more important the issue, the less likely conformity will occur (contrast this with the line experiment).
If just one other person disagrees with the group, the chances of conformity are greatly reduced.
Conformity is highly influential with socially important topics (jury deliberations, minority issues, issues with high amounts of authority).
Many psychological studies of conformity often test the boundaries of what is ethical to research.
With conformity, people are typically not consciously aware they are being influenced by a group.
Compliance :
less extreme form of conformity that does not require a group, the person is aware of the experience, and are typically easier to ignore.
Foot-in-the-door-effect :
getting a person to participate in a very small task increases the chance they will later perform more demanding tasks (e.g., asking people to place political signs in their yard increases the chance of them voting later; donating 1 dollar now may increase the chance of donating 20 dollars a few months later).
Door-in-the-face effect :
very common sales technique. This is where you ask a very unrealistic favor that you know will be denied. After the large request you then mention the less demanding favor that you really want. The person is much more likely to now agree to your request (e.g., asking your parents for 500 dollars today and you are denied, tomorrow you ask for 20 dollars and you will probably get it).
Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice :
attitudes held by a person that is an affect-laden, unjustified opinion of an individual solely based on group membership.
People form prejudiced opinions based on stereotypes
Discrimination :
The outcome of prejudice is discrimination, a behavior. It is typically classified as unjustified, differential treatment to a person based on group membership.
Stereotypes can be
(a positive example would be that "Asian people are the best at mathematics" whereas a negative stereotype would be " All gay men are sexually promiscuous").
Stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination are all products of socialization (Kimmel, 2007; Henslin, 2013).
Hartley (1946) study on prejudice
Hartley asked participants to rate their opinions on several racial-ethnic groups.
The researcher included three groups that do not exist: Wallonians, Pireneans, and the Danireans.
The participants with the most negative opinions of factual racial-ethnic groups also reported higher negative opinions towards the
Common sense knowledge on racism was that people created negative opinions towards groups they have had negative experiences with on multiple occasions.
Contact Theory
Contact theory :
theory that more positive encounters with different groups increase overall positive opinions of the group.
A large area of research in Social Psychology
All groups must be on equal status
Must occur frequently (the prejudiced mind recalls negative information quicker than positive information)
Hartley (1946) study on prejudice
Hartley asked participants to rate their opinions on several racial-ethnic groups.
The researcher included three groups that do not exist: Wallonians, Pireneans, and the Danireans.
The participants with the most negative opinions of factual racial-ethnic groups also reported higher negative opinions towards the
Common sense knowledge on racism was that people created negative opinions towards groups they have had negative experiences with on multiple occasions.
Contact Theory
Contact theory :
theory that more positive encounters with different groups increase overall positive opinions of the group.
A large area of research in Social Psychology
All groups must be on equal status
Must occur frequently (the prejudiced mind recalls negative information quicker than positive information)
Origins of Prejudice
Scapegoating =
when the dominant group blames their trouble on the minority or disadvantage group.
Little control or freedom in personal life (Henslin, 2013)
A classic psychology study primed participants to feel frustrated by an impossible to finish task. After this primer the students reported higher rates of prejudice.
So frustration may lead to aggression
(Cowen, 1959).
Authoritarian Personality :
A person who scores high on this psychological test is prone to display high rates of narcissism, prejudiced beliefs, conformity, intolerance, respect for authority, etc.
Selective Perception / Sapir Whorf Hypothesis / Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Social Norms - Indonesia
Social Learning Theory - Bobo Doll
John Lee's Styles of Love
the initial, physical attraction to a person. Most of the experiences are based on positive qualities (i.e., not too realistic).

This is the infatuation love style. Characteristics include: anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and headaches. People who adopt a mania love style typically have low self-esteem. They attract others with similar levels of esteem.
friends with benefits, NSA, group dating style behaviors are common for this love style. They avoid commitment, view sex as recreation, and typically do not get jealous.
Storge (STOR-gay):
Similar to companionate love mentioned earlier. This type of love develops over years of being committed. Also, older adults often start relationships at this stage. Usually has the most amicable separations.
Agape (AH-gah-pay)
altruistic, self-sacrificing love. Intense protection, lack of jealousy, or risking your personal health (physical or mental) for your partner are common for this love style.
searching for compatibility. Comes from the word "pragmatist", in other words, a person who is goal oriented. Most supportive of their partners. Perhaps the healthiest love style?
The Original Love Style Survey
The Dark Side of Relationships
People who have high opinions of themselves. Clinically, the common term is "grandiose self-concept". These people tend to have a high self-esteem, are very competitive, believe they are superior and special (read: entitled).
Men are much more likely to be classified as narcissistic. As men age, their risk of becoming narcissistic increases.
Narcissistic people avoid commitment, therefore they tend to reflect the Ludus love style.
one emotion that psychologists argue has very little, if any, positive benefits.
Mate Guarding:

the believed evolutionary reason that jealousy exists. People used to protect their significant other from potential "theft".
Men have higher rates of jealousy than women.
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