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Social Psychology

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Miss Schwinge

on 13 April 2015

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Transcript of Social Psychology

The dangers of role playing
How we
explain someone's behavior
(
attribution theory
) depends on if we
credit it to the situation, or the person's disposition

Social Thinking
The dangers of social conditioning
Prejudice is a mixture of beliefs
(stereotypes),
emotions
(hostility, anger, fear),
and predisposition to discriminate
.
Prejudice is a negative attitude
(which is not always conscious),
while discrimination is a negative behavior.
Social Relations: Prejudice
The dangers of modeling violence
In psychology,
aggression is any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy
. This type of behavior is due to an
interaction between biology and experience
.
Social Relations: Aggression
The dangers of mindless obedience
Behavior is contagious
, and this might be due to the fact that we are
natural mimics
. The
chameleon effect
entails
unconsciously mimicking others' expressions, postures, and voice tones
, and may be
useful
in
helping us feel what they are feeling
.
Conformity and Obedience
Social Psychology
Thinking, influencing, and relating
The beauty of caring for others
Social Relations: Altruism
The dangers of assumed goodness
Social Relations: Attraction
The importance of resolving conflict
To a social psychologist,
a conflict is a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas
. Often, conflicts are caused by situations in which the
conflicting parties engage in mutually destructive behavior by pursuing their individual self interests
(known as
social traps
).
Social Relations: Conflict & Peacemaking
Before friendships become close, they must actually start.
Proximity
(geographic nearness)
is friendship's most powerful predictor
. The phenomenon that r
epeated exposures to novel stimuli increases liking of them
(people included) is known as the
mere-exposure effect.
...Unfortunately, we often fall prey to the
fundamental attribution error
by
overestimating the influence of personality and underestimating the influence of situations
.
The way we explain a person's behavior also depends on our attitude.
Attitudes are feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose our reactions to objects, people, and events
. For example, if we
believe
someone is mean, we may
feel
dislike for the person and therefore
act
unfriendly.
Attitudes follow behavior, therefore,
making people act against their beliefs can affect their attitudes
.
Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon
a tendency for people who agree to a small action to comply later with a larger one
Often
when we become aware that our attitudes and actions don't coincide, we experience tension
or
cognitive dissonance
. To
relieve
this tension, according to cognitive dissonance theory,
we often bring our attitudes in line with our actions
.
The more dissonance we feel, the more motivated we are to find consistency
, such as changing our attitudes to help justify the act.
Examples of
automatic mimicry is part of empathy
. Empathetic people yawn more after seeing others yawn.
In a way, mimicry is related to
conformity
(
the adjustment of our behavior or thinking toward some group standard
)
Asch Conformity Study
Conditions that strengthen conformity:
you're made to feel
incompetent or insecure
the group has
at least 3 people
the group is
unanimous
one
admires the group's status
and attractiveness
you have made
no prior commitment
to any response
others in the group are observing
your behavior
your
culture strongly encourages respect
for social standards
Reasons for Conformity
Normative Social Influence
:
Influence resulting from
a
person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval
(social norms)
Informational Social Influence
:
Influence resulting from
one's
willingness to accept others' opinions about reality
(group consensus)
When the accuracy of their judgments seemed important, people rarely conformed when the task was easy, but they conformed half the time when the task was difficult (
if we are unsure of what is right, and if being right matters, we are receptive to others' opinions
)
Obedience
Milgram found that obedience was highest when:

- the person giving the orders was
close by,
and perceived to be a
legitimate authority
figure
- the authority figure was
supported by a prestigious institution
- there was a gradual buildup of requests (
foot-in-the-door
)
- the victim was d
epersonalized or at a distance
(like another room)
- there were
no role models for defiance
However,
some individuals (roughly 1 in 3), resist social coercion
, as did this unarmed man in Beijing, by single-handey challening an advancing line of tanks the day after the 1989 Tiananmen Square student uprising was suppressed
"The most fundamental lesson of our study is that ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process." --Stanley Milgram
Group Influences
The
presence of other people tends to boost our individual performance
(this is known as
social facilitation
).
However, on
tougher tasks people perform less well when observers
or others working on the same task
are present
When we are being observed we perform well-learned tasks more quickly and accurately, and unmastered tasks less quickly and accurately
.
...But what about when we do
tasks in groups
?
Alan Ingham
(1974) found that when
blindfolded students playing tug-of-war believed that others were pulling behind them, they exerted only 82% as much effort
as when they knew they were pulling alone.
This is known as
social loafing
(something I'm sure you are all familiar with).
Social loafing is generally caused by people not feeling as accountable
, and therefore worry less about what others think. Although
found everywhere, social loafing is especially common among members of individualistic cultures
(particularly among men).
So what happens when the presence of others both
arouses people and diminishes their sense of responsibility
?
Deindividuation: the loss of self-awareness and self-restraining behavior
(
anonymity
plays a large role)
Effects of Group Interaction
If a group is like-minded, discussion strengthens its prevailing opinions
. Talking over racial issues increased prejudice in a high-prejudice group of high schoolers, and decreased it in a low-predudice group
The enhancement of a group's prevailing tendencies is called group polarization
. This can be positive (as in the case of self-help groups) as well as negative (meetings of the KKK).
Groupthink
refers to the mode of thinking that occurs when
the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realist appraisal of alternatives
.
How do we avoid it?
- when a leader
welcomes various opinions
, invites experts'
critiques
of developing plans, and
assigns people to identify possible problems
.
Cultural Influence
We already know that
culture is the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
. As social creatures, we seem to be designed for culture.
Each cultural group evolves its own norms
(rules for accepted and expected behavior). When cultures collide, their differing norms often pose some confusion.
Additionally,
cultures vary in their expressiveness, ideas of personal space, and pace of life
.
darn
The Power of the Individual
Social control
(the power of the situation)
and personal control
(the power of the individual)
are constantly interacting.
Minority influence
(the power of one or two individuals to sway majorities)
is most powerful when it unswervingly holds its position
.
“Stubborn Ounces”
(To One Who Doubts the Worth of
Doing Anything If You Can’t Do Everything)
By Bonaro W. Overstreet

You say the Little efforts that I make
will do no good: they never will prevail
to tip the hovering scale
where Justice hangs in balance.

I don’t think
I ever thought they would.
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
in favor of my right to choose which side
shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.
Always Remember:
The powers of social influence are enormous, but so are the powers of the committed individual.
Prejudice does not always have to be overt
(i.e. blatant racism). It can be
subtle
, which
lingers
and often
permeates social conditioning
.
When some people have money, power, and prestige while others do not,
the "haves" usually develop attitudes that justify things as they are
. This is what creates
systems of oppression
. The sad thing is that the people with privilege may not even be aware of it.
Our social definition of who we are also implies who we are not
. Mentally drawing a circle that defines
"us" (the ingroup)
and excludes
"them" (the outgroup)
leads to the
favoring
of one's own group (known as
ingroup bias
).
According to the
scapegoat theory of prejudice
, finding someone to blame when things go wrong can provide a
target for one's anger
.
We tend to recognize how greatly we differ from other individuals in our group, but overestimate the similarity of those within other groups
(known as
outgroup homogeneity).
To those in one ethnic group, members of another often seem more alike than they really are in appearance, personality, and attitude (
this greater recognition for own-race faces is know as other-race effect
)
Just-world phenomenon
:
The tendency for people to believe
the world is just and that people therefor get what they deserve and deserve what they get
(usually an indicator of privilege).
Dog Aggression: Genetic or Taught?
Genes influence human aggression
as well as dog aggression.
One of the genetic markers found in those who commit the most violence is found on the Y chromosome
, however aggression is
not always physical
.
Hormones, alcohol, and other substances in the blood influence
the neural systems that control
aggression
. For example,
castration reduces male testosterone levels
and therefore
lowers aggression
as well.
Our
reactions are more likely to be aggressive
in situations where
experience has taught us that aggression works
.
Experience is not the only thing that
triggers the expression of aggression and violence
.
Cultural norm
s,
modeling
(parents, friends, TV, games, etc.), and even
weather
can play a role.
Patrice O'Neal
Mitch Hedberg
Significant behaviors, such as violence, cannot be summed up by just one reason. However,
social scripts (mental tapes for how to act, provided by our culture)
, play a huge role in how we deal with
new situations
.
Mental tapes can be provided to us by family, friends, media
(videos, music lyrics, video games, etc.)
It is true that
playing violent video games often increases aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
(the same way expressing anger does), and has been shown to
desensitize children to violence
; but it does not necessarily mean that people act on these thoughts or emotions.
The
halo effect
is a type of c
ognitive bias where our perception of one personality trait influences how we view a person's entire personality
. For example, because we think a person is beautiful or handsome, we also tend to think that they are intelligent, fun, and generous.
Conceptions of attractiveness vary by culture
, and often change over time.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
...But some aspects of attractiveness do cross place and time
Especially
averageness
. One of the reasons for this is that
averaged faces are symmetrical
, and
people with symmetrical faces and bodies are more sexually attractive
.
Romantic Love
Arousal
is a key ingredient of
passionate love
, but so is
cognitive appraisal
.
As love matures it becomes a steadier compassionate love
; a deep, affectionate attachment.
We define
altruism
as the
unselfish regard for the welfare of others
.
Unfortunately, we often fall prey to the
bystander effect
:
the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present
.
But does it truly exist?
One widely held view is that
self-interest
underlies all human interactions; that our constant goal is to maximize rewards and minimize costs
(known as
social exchange theory
)
Similarly, we also have the
reciprocity norm
:
an expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them
And we also have the
social-responsibility norm
:
an expectation that people will help those dependent upon them
.
Superordinate goals
(
shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation
) are a way of side-stepping social traps because they help increase cooperative contact.
When conflicts intensify, images become more stereotyped, judgments more rigid, and communication more difficult
. Each party is more likely to threaten, coerce, or retaliate, so how can we mediate those tendencies?
A strategy known as
Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction (GRIT)
is designed to decrease international tensions by
recognizing mutual interests
, and
initiating one or more conciliatory acts
.
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