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Chapter 14 Social Behavior. What Is Social Psychology?. Social Psychology: Scientific studies of how individuals behave, think, and feel in social situations; how people act in the presence (actual or implied) of others

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what is social psychology
What Is Social Psychology?
  • Social Psychology: Scientific studies of how individuals behave, think, and feel in social situations; how people act in the presence (actual or implied) of others
  • Need to Affiliate: Desire to associate with other people; appears to be a basic human trait
comparison and attraction
Comparison and Attraction
  • Social Comparison: Making judgments about ourselves by comparing ourselves to others (e.g., comparing our feelings and abilities to those of other people)
  • Interpersonal Attraction: Social attraction to another person
  • Physical Proximity: Physical nearness to another person in terms of housing, school, work
  • Physical Attractiveness: Person’s degree of physical beauty as defined by his or her culture
  • Halo Effect: Tendency to generalize a limited impression to other personal characteristics
  • Competent: When people display a high degree of knowledge, ability, or proficiency
  • Similarity: Extent to which two people are alike in terms of age, education, attitudes, and so on
    • Similar people are attracted to each other
  • Homogamy: Tendency to marry someone who is like us in almost every way
self disclosure
  • Process of revealing one’s private thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and personal history to others
    • Should be used cautiously and sparingly by the therapist performing therapy
    • May lead to countertransference in therapy (when the therapist makes an unhealthy connection to the client)
  • Reciprocity: Return in kind; reciprocal exchange
  • Overdisclosure: Self-disclosure that exceeds what is appropriate for a relationship or social situation
love and attachment
Love and Attachment
  • Romantic Love: Marked by high levels of interpersonal attraction, sexual desire, and heightened arousal
  • Liking: Relationship based on intimacy but lacking passion and commitment
  • Mutual Absorption: When two lovers almost always attend only to each other
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Study of evolutionary origins of human behavior patterns

Figure 14.2

FIGURE 14.2 What do people look for when considering potential dating partners? Here are the results of a study in which personal ads were placed in newspapers. As you can see, men were more influenced by looks, and women by success

life in groups
Life in Groups
  • Social Role: Patterns of behavior expected of people in various social positions (e.g., daughter, mother, teacher, President (!))
    • Ascribed Role: Assigned to a person or not under personal control
    • Achieved Role: Attained voluntarily or by special effort (teacher, mayor, President)
  • Role Conflict: When two or more roles make conflicting demands on behavior
  • Group Structure: Network of roles, communication, pathways, and power in a group
  • Group Cohesiveness: Degree of attraction among group members or their commitment to remain in the group
  • In Group: A group with which a person identifies
  • Out Group: Group with which a person does not identify
    • Cohesive groups work better together
    • What kind of groups did you see on “Survivor,” “Road Rules,” and “Real World”?
some more important terms
Some More Important Terms
  • Status: Level of social power and importance
  • Norm: Accepted but usually unspoken standard for appropriate behavior

Figure 14.3

FIGURE 14.3 Results of an experiment on norms concerning littering. The prior existence of litter in a public setting implies that littering is acceptable. This encourages others to “trash” the area.

social perception
Social Perception
  • Attribution: Making inferences about the causes of one’s own behavior and others’ behavior
    • External Cause of Behavior: Assumed to lie outside a person
    • Internal Cause of Behavior: Assumed to lie within the person
social perception cont d
Social Perception (cont'd)
  • Fundamental Attribution Error: Tendency to attribute behavior of others to internal causes (personality, likes, etc.). We believe this even if they really have external causes!
  • Actor-Observer Bias: Tendency to attribute behavior of others to internal causes while attributing one’s own behavior to external causes (situations and circumstances).
social influence
Social Influence
  • Changes in a person’s behavior induced by the actions of another person.
    • Someone else influences your decision: husband, wife, mother, peer, etc.
    • Peer Pressure: Ken was swayed by Lisa and Gabriella to go see “Catwoman” when he really wanted to see “Open Water.”
  • Bringing one’s behavior into agreement with norms or the behavior of others.
    • Solomon Asch’s Experiment: You must select (from a group of three) the line that most closely matches the standard line. All lines are shown to a group of seven people (including you).
    • Other six were accomplices, and at times all would select the wrong line.
    • In 33% of the trials, the real subject conformed to group pressure even when the group’s answers were obviously incorrect!

Figure 14.4

FIGURE 14.4 Stimuli used in Solomon Asch’s conformity experiments.

group factors in conformity
Group Factors in Conformity
  • Groupthink: Compulsion by decision makers to maintain agreement, even at the cost of critical thinking
  • Group Sanctions: Rewards and punishments administered by groups to enforce conformity or punish nonconformity
  • Unanimity: Unanimous agreement
obedience milgram
Obedience (Milgram)
  • Conformity to the demands of an authority.
  • Would you shock a man with a known heart condition who is screaming and asking to be released?
  • Milgram studied this; the man with a heart condition was an accomplice and the “teacher” was a real volunteer. The goal was to teach the learner word pairs.
milgram s conclusions
Milgram’s Conclusions
  • 65% obeyed by going all the way to 450 volts on the “shock machine,” even though the learner eventually could not answer any more questions
  • Group support can reduce destructive obedience

Figure 14.6

FIGURE 14.6 Results of Milgram’s obedience experiment. Only a minority of subjects refused to provide shocks, even at the most extreme intensities. The first substantial drop in obedience occurred at the 300-volt level (Milgram, 1963).


Figure 14.7

FIGURE 14.7 Physical distance from the “learner” had a significant effect on the percentage of subjects obeying orders.

  • Bending to the requests of one person who has little or no authority or social power.
  • Foot-in-the-Door Effect: A person who has agreed to a small request is more likely later to agree to a larger demand.
    • Once you get a foot in the door, then a sale is almost a sure thing.
  • Door-in-the-Face Technique: A person who has refused a major request will be more likely later on to comply with a smaller request.
    • After the door has been slammed in your face (major request refused), person may be more likely to agree to a smaller request.
compliance cont d
Compliance (cont'd)
  • Low-Ball Technique: Commitment is gained first to reasonable or desirable terms, which are then made less reasonable or desirable.
      • Henry accepts the price he states for a new car. Then later Tillie the saleswoman tells Henry, “The business would lose too much money on that price; can’t you take a bit less and add all these options?”
  • Passive Compliance: Quietly bending to unreasonable demands or unacceptable conditions.
assertiveness training
Assertiveness Training
  • Instruction in how to be self-assertive
  • Self-Assertion: Standing up for your rights by speaking out on your behalf; direct, honest expression of feelings and desires
  • Aggression: Hurting another person or achieving one’s goals at the expense of another person
    • Attempting to get one’s way no matter what
    • No regard for others’ feelings
attitudes and beliefs
Attitudes and Beliefs
  • Attitude: Learned tendency to respond to people, objects, or institutions in a positive or negative way
    • Summarize your evaluation of objects
  • Belief Component: What a person believes about the attitudinal object
  • Emotional Component: Feelings toward the attitudinal object
  • Action Component: One’s actions toward various people, objects, or institutions
attitude formation
Attitude Formation
  • Direct Contact: Personal experience with the object of the attitude
  • Interaction with Others: Discussions with people holding a particular attitude
  • Child Rearing: Effects of parental values, beliefs, and practices
  • Group Membership: Affiliation with others
  • Mass Media: All media that reach large audiences (magazines, television)
  • Mean World View: Viewing the world as dangerous and threatening
attitude measurement and change
Attitude Measurement and Change
  • Chance Conditioning: Learning that takes place by chance or coincidence
  • Reference Group: Any group a person identifies with and uses as a standard for social comparison
  • Persuasion: Deliberate attempt to change attitudes or beliefs through information and arguments
    • Communicator: Person presenting arguments or information
    • Message: Content of communicator’s arguments
    • Audience: Person or group to whom a persuasive message is directed
cognitive dissonance festinger
Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger)
  • Contradicting or clashing thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, or perceptions that cause discomfort
    • We need to have consistency in our thoughts, perceptions, and images of ourselves
    • Underlies attempts to convince ourselves we did the right thing
  • Justification: Degree to which one’s actions are explained by rewards or other circumstances

Figure 14.10

FIGURE 14.10 Summary of the Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) study from the viewpoint of a person experiencing cognitive dissonance.

  • Engineered or forced attitude change requiring a captive audience; three steps:
    • Unfreezing: Loosening of former values and convictions
    • Change: When the brainwashed person abandons former beliefs
    • Refreezing: Rewarding and solidifying new attitudes and beliefs
  • Groups that profess great devotion to a person and follow that person almost without question
    • Leader’s personality is usually more important than the issues he/she preaches
    • Members usually victimized by the leader(s)
    • Recruit potential converts at a time of need, especially when a sense of belonging is most attractive to potential converts
      • Look for college students and young adults
cults cont d
Cults (cont'd)
  • Some examples: People’s Temple and Jim Jones; Heaven’s Gate; Branch Davidians
  • Where does “Scientology” fit?
  • Negative emotional attitude held toward members of a specific social group
  • Discrimination: Unequal treatment of people who should have the same rights as others
  • Personal Prejudice: When members of another racial or ethnic group are perceived as a threat to one’s own interests
  • Group Prejudice: When a person conforms to group norms
prejudiced personality and intergroup conflict
Prejudiced Personality and Intergroup Conflict
  • Authoritarian Personality: Marked by rigidity, inhibition, prejudice, and oversimplification
  • Ethnocentrism: Placing one’s group at the center, usually by rejecting all other groups
  • Social Stereotypes: Oversimplified images of people who belong to a particular social group
  • Symbolic Prejudice: Prejudice expressed in a disguised fashion
    • “Prejudice is socially unacceptable,” but will still express prejudice in disguised form
other concepts relating to prejudice
Other Concepts Relating to Prejudice
  • Status Inequalities: Differences in power, prestige, or privileges of two or more people or groups
  • Equal-Status Contact: Social interaction that occurs on an equal level, without obvious differences in power or status
  • Superordinate Goal: Goal that exceeds or overrides all other goals, making other goals less important
classroom ideas
Classroom Ideas
  • Mutual Interdependence: When two or more people must depend on each other to meet each person’s goals.
  • Jigsaw Classroom: Each student only gets a piece of information needed to complete a problem or prepare for a test; to succeed and get all pieces, students must all work together.
  • Prejudicial stereotypes tend to be very irrational
  • Any action carried out with the intention of harming another person.
  • Ethologists believe that aggression is innate in all animals, including humans.
    • Ethologist: Studies natural behavior patterns of animals.
    • There appears to be a relationship between aggression and hypoglycemia, allergy, and certain brain injuries and disorders.
    • Certain brain areas can trigger or end aggressive behavior.
  • Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis: Frustration tends to lead to aggression
aversive stimuli
Aversive Stimuli
  • Produce discomfort or displeasure
  • Aggression Cues: Signals that are associated with aggression
  • Weapons Effect: Observation that weapons serve as strong cues for aggressive behavior

Figure 14.12

FIGURE 14.12 Personal discomfort caused by aversive (unpleasant) stimuli can make aggressive behavior more likely. For example, studies of crime rates show that the incidence of highly aggressive behavior, such as murder, rape, and assault, rises as the air temperature goes from warm to hot to sweltering (Anderson, 1989). The results you see here further confirm the heat-aggression link. The graph shows that there is a strong association between the temperatures at major league baseball games and the number of batters hit by a pitch during those games. When the temperature goes over 90°, watch out for that fastball (Reifman, Larrick, & Fein, 1991)!

social learning theory bandura and television
Social Learning Theory (Bandura) and Television
  • Social Learning Theory: Combines learning principles with cognitive processes, socialization, and modeling to explain behavior
    • No instinctive (innate) desires for shooting guns, knife fights, and so on
    • Aggression must be learned
  • Disinhibition: Removal of inhibition; results in acting-out behavior that normally would be restrained
  • Television seems to be able to cause desensitization to violence
    • Desensitization: Reduced emotional sensitivity

Figure 14.13

FIGURE 14.13 Violent behavior among delinquent boys doesn’t appear overnight. Usually, their capacity for violence develops slowly, as they move from minor aggression to increasingly brutal acts. Overall aggression increases dramatically in early adolescence as boys gain physical strength and more access to weapons

social learning theory and television a conclusion
Social Learning Theory and Television: A Conclusion
  • Television seems to be able to cause desensitization to violence
    • Desensitization: Reduced emotional sensitivity
prosocial behavior and bystander apathy
Prosocial Behavior and Bystander Apathy
  • Prosocial Behavior: Behavior toward others that is helpful, constructive, or altruistic
  • Bystander Apathy: Unwillingness of bystanders to offer help during emergencies
    • Related to number of people present
  • The more potential helpers present,the lower the chanceshelp will be given
decision points reached before giving help
Decision Points Reached before Giving Help
  • Noticing the person in trouble
  • Defining an Emergency: Until someone declares the situation an emergency, no one acts
  • Taking Responsibility: Assume responsibility to help
    • Diffusion of Responsibility: Spreading responsibility to act among several people
  • Select a course of action

Figure 14.15

FIGURE 14.15 This decision tree summarizes the steps a person must take before making a commitment to offer help, according to Latané and Darley’s model.

empathy concepts
Empathy Concepts
  • Empathic Arousal: Emotional arousal that occurs when you feel some of the person’s pain, fear, or anguish
  • Empathy-Helping Relationship: Helping person in need because we have emotions such as empathy and compassion for that person
  • Gives equal status to different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups
  • Two ways to break stereotypes
    • Seek individuating information that helps you see a person as an individual and not as a member of a group.
    • Don’t believe just-world beliefs: That people generally get what they deserve.
more ways to break stereotypes
More Ways to Break Stereotypes
  • Note self-fulfilling prophecies: Expectations that prompt people to act in ways that make expectations come true.
  • Understand that different does not mean inferior.
    • Social Competition: Rivalry among groups, each of which regards itself as superior to others.
  • Look for commonalities