Social Psychology Human connections can be powerful and perilous “We cannot live for ourselves alone, we are connected by a thousand invisible threads” - Herman Melville Social Psychologists think about how we think about, influence, and relate to one another
Social Thinking Behavior arises from social cognition Explaining behavior based on the person or the situation Heider’s Attribution Theory People attribute other’s behavior to either internal dispositions or external situations Dispositional attribution (personality traits) Situational attribution (environmental factors)
Fundamental attribution error Many times we are incorrect when we make these assumptions Overestimating the influence of personality and Underestimating the influence of situations Napolitan and Goethals Experiment with interviewer – one group was told personality would be spontaneous and the other was told that it was acting – either cold or friendly Results when asked what they thought of the interviewer? Have you made this error? Someone that you see outside of a specific situation? Self Serving Bias? Looking from another’s POV?
Effects of attribution Socially Happily married couples report “bad days” Unhappy – Why did I marry such a jerk? Politically Poverty and unemployment Laziness or serious problem People get what they deserve/freeloaders or society needs to change? Economically Unmotivated workers underperforming or unhappy and underequipped?
Attitudes and Actions Attitudes are feelings, often influenced by beliefs, that predispose our reactions to objects, people and events Attitudes change over time Central Route Persuasion – occurs when people are naturally analytical or involved in issues More thoughtful More influential Peripheral Route – responding to cues from others Happens much faster Situations can also impact our attitudes – Iraq War after 9/11 vs today
Attitudes can follow behavior Foot in the door phenomenon The tendency for people to comply with a small action and to comply later with a larger one Korean War POW’s Doing becomes believing Succumbing to temptation makes it easier to succumb to the next one Works with good deeds as well as bad Role Playing Changes in life will alter your beliefs and actions Becoming a high school/college student marriage and parenthood Seems unreal at first, but becomes the norm
Zimbardo’s Prison experiment Stanford Prison experiment Students who volunteered to participate in an experiment about power led to very powerful conclusions Assigned randomly to be a guard or a prisoner Abu Ghraib Trained torturers in Greece (using the foot in the door technique) Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? Situations win, people lose The Lucifer Effect – what makes good people do bad things?
Cognitive dissonance Sometimes our actions and our thoughts don’t correlate with each other This causes mental discomfort (dissonance), and we change how we feel to rationalize our actions Why did we go into Iraq? Liberate oppressed people or remove WMD’s? Rationale can change and be accepted Changing behavior can change the way we think and feel about others/things Attitudes follow behavior
Social influence Social influence has enormous power Conformance, compliance, and group behavior are all examples Behavior is contagious A cluster of people staring up will cause others to do so Baristas put tips in their own jar, so others will too Laughing, yawning, coughing Sickness and rashes can be misinterpreted from something else We are naturally mimics – the chameleon effect mood linkage/mirror neurons Wiping your face, shaking a foot, scratching your nose can cause others to do so as well Makes you fit into the group and be more accepted? Violent acts are copied as well – come in bunches. Suicides as well
Which line matches the standard? Standard A B C
Conformity Adjusting your thinking towards a group standard Asch Conformity Study What line matches the others? When asked alone, almost never wrong When others answer before you, desire to fit in and react Group dynamics Strongest results when: At least three others answer first The group is unanimous Others observe one’s behavior If one is made to feel insecure or incompetent
Why do we conform? Avoiding rejection plays a big role Normative Social Influence The price of being different can be very severe Fear of ostracism can lead us to act/believe in a manner that we may disagree with at times Looking to gain approval and avoid disapproval Informational Social Influence Sometimes its best to assume others are right and to follow their lead is best – woman driving on the wrong side of the road in England Based on what we observe, our actions or beliefs can be controlled (?) How willing are we to accept other’s opinions of reality
Obedience The Milgram Experiment A student of Asch Yale People who answered an add to participate Teacher and Learner roles Teachers would give electric shocks in response to wrong answers Shocks grew increasingly more intense with each wrong answer, even lethal Student had a “heart condition” Nearly 65% of teachers administered a lethal dose of electricity because they were told to
Why did they do it? Variations of the social conditions played a role and impacted the results in later trials • When the person giving the orders was near by and was perceived to be a legitimate authority figure • When the authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution • When the victim was depersonalized or in another room/distanced away • When there were no role models for defiance Nazi Germany and the Holocaust Not only orders from authorities but Anti-Semitic rationalization
Obedience The power of legitimate, close at hand authorities is very powerful Who do we respond to, those in need or those in power? Kindness vs obedience, obedience usually wins Resistance also usually happens early. Those who refused to participate did so relatively early in the experiment
GROUP INFLUENCE Social Facilitation stronger responses to something simple when others are around First noticed with sports Harder tasks often have the opposite result Aroused state when around others, which impacts the most likely performance – easy becomes easier/difficult becomes more difficult Home field advantage?
SOCIAL LOAFING People tend to put less effort into a task when others are also involved Especially common in men Tug of war/ clapping or shouting People feel less accountable, so less attention to what others think Contributions are dispensable - doesn’t matter if they are there or not Dangers of group work (unless motivated and identify with others)
DEINDIVIDUATION Sometimes arousal increases and responsibility decreases Leads to uninhibited behavior Screaming and shouting at a game to looting and rioting Less self conscious and less restrained Mob mentality – religion too Zimbardo – Disguise and delivering shock
Effects of Group Interaction Being in the presence of others can change our behavior so does interacting with others Group Polarization Enhancing the attributes of a group within a group through discussion Amplifies feelings – in a positive or negative way Self help groups and spirituality Racism and prejudice Impact of the Internet?
Groupthink Desire for harmony in a decision making group overrides a realistic appraisal Bay of Pigs 1962 Escalation of Vietnam War Chernobyl disaster Overconfidence, conformity, self justification and group polarization can have terrible consequences Can be good – two heads are better than one? When various opinions are welcomed, it can prevent bad decisions
Cultural Influences The behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values and traditions that are shared by a group and transmitted to following generations Humans experience preservation of innovation through culture and language Our ideas can be passed down and used later But there can be great variation between cultures Cultures evolve their own norms Eating, clothing, behavior, personal space, expressions (verbal and emotional), pace of life Technology’s impact
Power of the Individual Social Control – power of the situation Personal Control – power of the individual Some situations can press us to go against the grain, to feel a sense of freedom Minority influence Power of one or two individuals to sway the majority If this individual holds their beliefs, under pressure, much more successful in convincing others (self confidence)
Social Relations How we relate to each other Prejudice - “prejudgment” Unjustifiable and usually negative attitude towards a group Mixture of beliefs (stereotypes), emotions (hostility, fear, envy) and predispositions to action (discriminating) Prejudice is the attitude, discrimination is the behavior Surface prejudice fades, subtle prejudice lingers Ask someone how they feel about something, when its personalized, it becomes more present
Prejudice Overt prejudice still exists 2006 Apartment Study Applicant who sent the same exact email, but signed with a different name came back with different replies Tyrell Jackson – 56% Said Al-Rahman – 66% Patrick McDougall – 89% Muslims in US after 9/11
Gender inequality around the world Ancient Greece Women cannot drive in some countries Men make more than women for the same work Men have higher literacy rates More women live in poverty than men Sex selective abortions in areas of China and India Now illegal in China – not enough women Sons are valued more than daughters If you could have one child which would you choose? 66% of Americans chose boys
Gender Inequality Most people feel more positive about women in general than men Traits that are valuable Nurturance Sensitivity Less aggressive Women tend to like more women than men like men Feminized features are more attractive Kindness, cooperativeness and signs of a good father
Social Roots of Prejudice Where does prejudice come from? Social Inequalities Haves and have nots 1954 Gordon Alport The Nature of Prejudice Blaming the victim If poverty creates higher crime, the crime rate becomes the reason to discriminate the poor Ingroup/Outgroup Us vs Them – ingroup bias Identify with some groups and contrast ourselves with others Often don’t like those who are most like ourselves Two favorite baseball teams Scapegoat theory – finding someone to blame when things go wrong
Cognitive Roots of Prejudice • Categorizing – • Outgroup homogeneity – “they” • Own race effect/ own race bias • Just World Phenomenon • Good is rewarded and evil is punished • People get what they deserve – blaming the victim
Aggression • Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy • Biology influences aggression • Silver foxes - genes • Hormones – testosterone • Alcohol – more likely to commit violent crimes • Frustration and aggression principle • Aversive stimuli – smoke, pain, insults, odors, hot temperatures
Aggression • Observational learning • Video games • Grand Theft Auto III – simulated by teens • Passively viewing aggression lessens responses to it – it becomes acceptable
Attraction • Three ingredients for liking one another • Proximity – nearness • Familiarity breeds fondness • Mere exposure effect – repeated exposure to stimuli increases attraction • Physical attraction – appearance • hero vs villains in movies • Similarity – dissimilarity fosters disfavor
Romantic Love • Passionate love – honeymoon stage • Strong feelings for someone at the beginning of a relationship • Companionate love – grows over time/endures • Comes with equity in the relationship • Sharing power and decision making • Self Disclosure – sharing details about ourselves
Altruism Unselfish regard for others doing something for someone and getting nothing in return Kitty Genovese 1964 Why would no one help? People will only stop to help when Interpret as emergency Assume Responsibility Attempt to help Notice Incident
Helping • The bystander effect • diffusion of responsibility – someone else will take care of it • Best odds of helping occur when • appear to need help • someway similar to us • not in a hurry • small town • feel guilty • in a good mood – very consistent
Norms of helping • Social exchange theory – if benefits outweigh costs, more likely to help • Reciprocity norm – good things will come back to us (karma?) • Social responsibility norm – its right to help those in need
Conflict • A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals or ideas • Enemy perception • mirror image perceptions – each side of the argument sees the other in a diabolical or unethical way • Contact • Enemies that spend time together usually can learn to get along after time • Groups will also re-segregate themselves given the opportunity
Cooperation • Superordinate goals • When presented with goals that override the prejudice that groups have towards each other • Cooperative contact – not just talking to each other, but working to complete a goal • G W Bush – highest ever approval rating for a POTUS, 10 days after 9/11
Conciliation • Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension Reduction • GRIT • Slowly backing down after realizing there is a problem • Opens the door for reciprocity by the other side • Increases trust and cooperation