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Chapter 14:Social Psychology

Chapter 14:Social Psychology

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Chapter 14:Social Psychology

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  1. Chapter 14:Social Psychology Samuel R. Mathews, Ph.D. The Department of Psychology The University of West Florida

  2. Social Psychology • Study of the impact of the social context: • Presence of other individuals (real or imagined) • Activities and interactions among individuals • Contexts in which those interactions occur • Expectations and norms governing behavior within those contexts • Resulting behaviors related to social factors AND

  3. Social Psychology • Study of the subjective interpretations of so-called real and objective situations AND • The impact of interactions between the context and interpretations on individual and group behaviors

  4. Situationism • Two forces that influence human behavior: • Individual dispositions (e.g. temperament, personality) • Social Context (e.g. people, physical environment) • Situationism is the position that the Social Context is likely the more influential

  5. Social Standards for Behavior • Consider a study by Maurer & Pleck (2006) on parenting by fathers • Investigated how fathers’ parenting behaviors were related to their subjective interpretations of: • Their wives’ stated expectations • Other fathers’ parenting behaviors • Other fathers’ comments and reflections on father-parenting behaviors

  6. Social Standards for Behavior • Maurer & Pleck (2006) • They found that fathers’ parenting behaviors were related to: • Subjective interpretations of: • Their wives’ stated expectations • Other fathers’ comments and reflections on father-parenting behaviors • The interpretation of others’ views was the most important factor in determining fathers’ parenting behavior

  7. Social Standards for Behavior • Social Roles (e.g. Gender): socially defined pattern of behaviors expected of individuals in a given class or group • Script (e.g. parenting behaviors): knowledge of the sequence of events and actions expected of an individual within a given setting

  8. Social Standards for Behavior • Social norms (e.g. fathers’ rules for behavior): a group’s expectations about what is appropriate for its members’ attitudes and behaviors

  9. Themes in Social Psychology • Conformity (Ashe’s work) • Obedience to Authority (Milgram’s work) • Bystander Problem • Attributions about Others • Prejudice

  10. A 1 2 3 Conformity: The Asch studies • Which line matches the line on the left? Standard line Comparison lines

  11. Group Characteristics That Produce Conformity • Ashe identifies three factors that influence whether a person will yield to pressure: • The size of the majority • The presence of a partner who dissented from the majority • The size of the discrepancy between the correct answer and the majority position

  12. Conformity: Groupthink • In “groupthink,” members of the group attempt to conform their opinions to what each believes to be the consensus of the group

  13. Conformity: Conditions Likely to Promote Groupthink • Isolation of the group • High group cohesiveness • Directive leadership • Lack of norms requiring methodical procedures • Homogeneity of members’ social background and ideology • High stress from external threats with low hope of a better solution than that of the group leader

  14. Obedience to Authority • Milgram’s work: • Research on conforming to authority • Participants were deceived and thought it was a study on punishment and memory • Deliver “painful shocks” to a middle aged man who had been treated for heart problems • “Shocks” were delivered when the man gave an incorrect response • “Shocks” were increased in intensity as the trial progressed

  15. Obedience to Authority • Milgram’s study: • Middle aged man with heart condition was an actor; • Actor received no real shock • Actor began with a mild pain response, moved to a scream, then pretended to pass out • Participants willingly gave what they thought were increasingly strong shocks regardless of actor’s reactions

  16. Ten Steps Toward Evil-Getting Good People to Harm Others • Provide people with an ideology to justify beliefs for actions • Make people take a small first step toward a harmful act with a minor, trivial action and then gradually increase those small actions • Make those in charge seem like a “just authority” • Slowly transform a once compassionate leader into a dictatorial figure • Provide people with vague and ever changing rules

  17. Ten Steps Toward Evil-Getting Good People to Harm Others • Relabel the situation’s actors and their actions to legitimize the ideology • Provide people with social models of compliance • Allow verbal dissent but only if people continue to comply behaviorally with orders • Encourage dehumanizing the victim • Make exiting the situation difficult

  18. The Bystander Problem • Diffusion of responsibility :–Dilution or weakening of each group member’s obligation to act when responsibility is perceived to be shared with all group members

  19. The Bystander Problem • Diffusion of Responsibility • The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any individual is to respond • Conformity to others in the group who do not respond

  20. The Bystander Problem • Overcoming Bystander Problem • Educating on the impact of diffusion of responsibility • Victim can ask an individual for help—that “breaks” groupthink/conformity • Be specific in request for help

  21. Attributions: Judgments about Others and Ourselves • Attributions about Others: • Fundamental Attribution Error: using some personal trait or characteristic as an explanation in lieu of situational constraints • Attributions about Ourselves: • Success: Self-serving bias—we are just good at _____ • Failure: External attributions to protect our own self-esteem—”the professor was unfair”

  22. Prejudice and Discrimination • Prejudice – A negative attitude toward an individual based solely on his or her membership in a particular group • Discrimination – A negative action taken against an individual as a result of his or her group membership

  23. Prejudice and Discrimination • Causes of Prejudice • Dissimilarity and social distance • Economic and resource competition • Scapegoating • Conformity to social norms • Media stereotypes

  24. Prejudice and Discrimination • Combating Prejudice • Seeking our and interacting with new role models of “out-group” • Seeking contact in an “equal status” context • Creating opportunities for interdependence • Legislation providing equal access to equal opportunities