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Social Psychology

Social Psychology

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Social Psychology

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  1. Social Psychology Myers Chapter 16

  2. Social Psychology • How we think about, influence, & relate to one another • We construct our social reality • Our social intuitions are often powerful, but sometimes perilous • Social influences shape our behavior • Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape our behavior • Social behavior is biologically rooted • Social psychology’s principles are applicable in everyday life

  3. Attribution Theory • We tend to give a causal explanation for someone’s behavior • Internal disposition • External situation

  4. Fundamental Attribution Error • Our tendency to overestimate personality influences and underestimate situational influences when evaluating others’ behavior • Can lead to unwarranted conclusions about others’ personality traits • Effect is reversed when perspective is reversed

  5. Attitudes • Feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events

  6. Attitudes Affect Actions

  7. Attitudes Affect Action • Central route to persuasion: occurs when interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts • Naturally analytical people • Person involved in the issue • When attitude is • Stable • Specific to the situation • Easily recalled

  8. Facts from Food, Inc.  In the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.  In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today, we have only 13.  In 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E. coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power.  In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.  During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.  During the Bush administration, the chief of staff at the USDA was the former chief lobbyist for the beef industry in Washington.  Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things, DDT and Agent Orange.  In 1996 when it introduced Round-Up Ready Soybeans, Monsanto controlled only 2% of the U.S. soybean market. Now, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented gene.  Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.  The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.  32,000 hogs a day are killed in Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in Tar Heel, N.C, which is the largest slaughterhouse in the world.  The average American eats over 200 lbs. of meat a year.

  9. Attitudes Affect Action • Peripheral route to persuasion: occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker’s attractiveness • When issues don’t engage systematic thinking • Snap decisions • Less durable than the central route • Less likely to influence behavior than central route

  10. Attitudes Affect Action

  11. Attitudes Affect Action • Other factors also influence behavior • External situation • Strong social pressures weaken connection between attitudes and action

  12. Actions Affect Attitudes • Attitudes follow behavior • Foot-in-the-door • Role-playing • Cognitive dissonance

  13. Actions Affect Attitudes • Foot-in-the-door phenomenon: the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request • A trivial act makes the next, bigger, act easier • People will act against their attitudes & violate their moral standards

  14. Actions Affect Attitudes • Role-playing affect attitudes • Stanford Prison Study (Zimbardo, 1972) Role: a set of explanations (norms), about a social position, that defines how those in the position ought to behave

  15. Actions Affect Attitudes • Cognitive dissonancetheory: the theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent (dissonant) (Festinger) • When actions and attitudes clash, we change our attitudes to align them more closely with our actions If I choose to do it (or say it), I must believe in it.

  16. Actions Affect Attitudes The Fox and the Grapes A Fox one day spied a beautiful bunch of ripe grapes hanging from a vine trained along the branches of a tree. The grapes seemed ready to burst with juice, and the Fox's mouth watered as he gazed longingly at them. The bunch hung from a high branch, and the Fox had to jump for it. The first time he jumped he missed it by a long way. So he walked off a short distance and took a running leap at it, only to fall short once more. Again and again he tried, but in vain. Now he sat down and looked at the grapes in disgust. "What a fool I am," he said. "Here I am wearing myself out to get a bunch of sour grapes that are not worth gaping for." And off he walked very, very scornfully. There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.

  17. Actions Affect Attitudes • Hard efforts to achieve a goal make the goal more attractive than the same goal with no effort • Fraternity hazing

  18. Social Influence • Mimicry: unconsciously mimicking others’ expressions, postures, and voice tones helps us feel what they are feeling; chameleon effect • Mood linkage (Totterdell et al., 1998) • Related to prosocial behavior (Van Baaren, et al., 2004) • Flexible and strategic (Lake, Chartrand, & Arkin, 2008) • Most eager to fit in are more susceptible • More empathic mimic more

  19. Social Influence • Group pressure & conformity • Conformity: adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard • Asch, 1955

  20. Social Influence • Conditions that strengthen conformity • One is made to feel incompetent or insecure • Group of at least 3 people • Group is unanimous • Group is admired for status and attractiveness • One has made on prior commitment to a response • Others in the group observe • One’s culture encourages respect for social standards

  21. Social Influence • Reasons for conforming • Normative social influence: influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain social approval or avoid disapproval • Respecting social norms • Informational social influence: influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality • Uncommon for an individual to never listen to others • Rebecca DuntonAfter she was arrested, the court heard that Denton told police she thought all the other drivers had been on the wrong side of the road. BBC

  22. Social Influence • Openness to informational influence on tough, important judgments (Baron, 1996)

  23. Social Influence • Obedience occurs when you comply with an order • Milgram (1963, 1974)

  24. Social Influence • Obedience rates highest when • Person giving orders is letitimate authority figure • Authority figure supported by prestigious institution (Yale) • Victim depersonalized or at a distance • No role models for defiance

  25. Group Influence • Social facilitation: stronger responses on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others (Triplett, 1898)

  26. Group Influence What you do well, you are likely to do even better in front of an audience, what you normally find difficult may seem all but impossible when you are being watched. Myers, page 687

  27. Group Influence • Social loafing: the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable • Across cultures • Most prominent in men of individualized cultures • Why? • Feel less accountable • View contribution as dispensable • Not when highly motivated and identified with group

  28. Group Influences • Deindividuation: abandoning normal restraints to the power of the group • Less restrained and less self-conscious • Occurs when group participation makes people feel aroused and anonymous

  29. Group Influences • Group polarization: the enhancement of a group’s prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group • Initial differences tend to grow • Benefits • Reinforces the resolve of those in a self-help group • Strengthens terrorist mentality

  30. Group Influences Group Polarization

  31. Group Influences • Groupthink: the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives (Janis) • Contributing factors • Overconfidence, conformity, self-justification, group polarization

  32. Group Influences • Groupthink Prevention • Various opinions welcomed by leader, expert critique is welcomed, personal accountability for specific areas of concern • One or more members should be assigned role of devil’s advocate • Occasionally subdivide the group and reconvene • After consensus, have “last-chance” meeting to air any misgivings • Call in an outside expert to challenge group views • Members bring deliberations to outsiders and return with reactions

  33. Group Influences • Group wise(Surowiecki, 2004) • Diversity • Decentralized - noone at top dictating • Way of summarizing into one collective verdict • People need to be independent so they pay more attention to their own information

  34. Social Relations • Prejudice: “prejudgment;” a negative attitude that consists of • Beliefs - often overgeneralized and called stereotypes • Emotions - hostility, envy, or fear • Predispositions to action - discriminate

  35. Social Relations • Overt prejudice: explicitly stated or demonstrated prejudicial feelings

  36. Social Relations • Subtle prejudice • Verbal support is not backed up by personal preferences or choices • Can be indicated by facial muscle response and amygdala activation • Implicit Attitudes Test (IAT)

  37. Social Relations • Factors that contribute to prejudice • Blaming the victim • Ingroup bias • Ingroup: those with whom we share social characteristics • Outgroup: those whose social characteristics differ from our own

  38. Social Relations • Scapegoat theory: prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame • Boost our own sense of status by denigrating others

  39. Social Relations • Cognitive processes and prejudice • Category formation • Other-race effect / Own-race bias / Cross-race effect • Vivid cases • Estimate frequency of events associated with a group • Just-world phenomenon • The world is just • People get what they deserve • People deserve what they get • Hindsight bias

  40. Social Relations • Aggression: any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy • More precise than everyday meaning

  41. Social Relations • Biological influences on aggression • Genetic • Twin studies • Animal breeding • Neural • Stimulating specific areas inhibits or produces aggression • Biochemical • Testosterone • Alcohol

  42. Social Relations • Frustration-Aggression principle: blocking of an attempt to reach some goal creates anger, which can generate aggression • Especially in the presence of an aggressive cue

  43. Social Relations • Aggressive reactions • Experience has told us aggression pays in specific situations • Ostracism/social rejection • Culture • Rich-poor disparity – increased crime rates • Minimal father care – more social influence

  44. Social Relations • Aggressive reactions • Social scripts: mental tapes for how to act • Observational learning • Media • Video games increase aggressive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors

  45. Attraction • Proximity • Physical attractiveness • Similarity of attitudes and interests

  46. Attraction • Proximity • Mere-exposure effect: repeated exposure to novel stimuli enhances liking of them

  47. Attraction • Physical attractiveness stereotype: what is beautiful is perceived as good • Healthier • Happier • More sensitive • More successful • More socially skilled • Not more honest or compassionate • Influences men and women, babies, even the blind • Society rewards those who are good looking in many ways

  48. Attraction • Attractiveness unrelated to self-esteem and happiness • Few people view themselves as unattractive • Less attractive are more likely to attribute positive feedback to efforts, not looks

  49. Attraction • Judgments are relative • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder • Average/symmetrical is attractive • Positive traits increase attractiveness

  50. Attraction Average is attractive (Perrett, 2002)