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Social Psychology

Social Psychology. Understanding Ourselves and Others. Social Psychology. Study of people’s interpretations of and reactions to their social world. Chapter 13: Social Cognition The self—our sense of who we are and how we differ from others. Impression and attitude formation

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Social Psychology

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  1. Social Psychology Understanding Ourselves and Others

  2. Social Psychology • Study of people’s interpretations of and reactions to their social world. • Chapter 13: Social Cognition • The self—our sense of who we are and how we differ from others. • Impression and attitude formation • Chapter 14: Social Interaction • Impression management • Influencing others. • Helping others.

  3. The Self • Very important concept in social psychology • The essence of us, what we are, what makes us different from others. • Affects how we perceive others. • Minimal self: Recognition of our difference from the environment—many animals • Objectified self: Seeing self as an object—non-human primates, dolphins, humans • Symbolic self: An abstract concept of self, seems language related—only humans.

  4. Objectified Self • More activity in medial frontal lobe when looking in mirror. • 4/5 patients did not recognize self when right hemisphere anesthetized. • Self recognition seems to be a right hemisphere frontal lobe function.

  5. The Self • Self-recognition • Recognition of objectified self in pictures, mirrors, videos. • Develops over 1st two years. • Accompanied by development of emotions such as guilt and shame. • Self-awareness • Leads to comparisons with others and affects our behaviour—self-discrepancy theory.

  6. The Self • Self concept • All the learned beliefs, attitudes and opinions that we hold to be true about our personal existence. • The image we have of ourselves, good or bad. • Directs what we pay attention to and affects how we interact with others.

  7. Self-Concept • Self-concept is built through all the interactions and experiences we have. • We also recognize and make use of the cultural patterns of our society. • This is how we "know who we are," that is, each of us acquires a self-concept. • Our self-concept affects how we respond and interact with others.

  8. The Self • Self-schema • Our understanding of our self-concept. • Everything about yourself that is important to you, • e.g., loving your parents, being loyal, being honest, supporting your friends, being a good student. • Affects our processing of information in relation toourselves—self-referentialprocessing. • Determines ourworking self-concept, what we consider makes us distinct (and important) at any given point in time.

  9. The Self • Self-complexity • We define ourselves in different ways, e.g., student, child, parent, athlete, teacher, boss, employee, etc. • Emphasize different aspects of our self-concept in each of these roles, and change our behaviour with each person we interact with. • The more complex the self, the less damaging is a threat to one aspect of the self.

  10. The Self • Self-construal • A construal is an interpretation. • Self-construal is how we interpret ourselves in the context of our culture. • Two key self-construals: • Independent self-construal: Western cultures, which value individuality. • Interdependent self-construal: Collectivist cultures, which value collectivist views, stressing that each individual is only a part of the greater society.

  11. The Self • Self-esteem • The value we place on ourselves. • A judgement that we make about our worth. • How much we like ourselves. • Level relates to the difference between our ideal self and the ‘real’ self, based on our self-concept.

  12. The Self • Self-esteem • Self-serving bias • An innate tendency to want to see ourselves positively. • Tend to ignore negative feedback—”junk mail metaphor”. • Both high and low self-esteem individuals hold positive illusions: • Overestimate own skills and abilities. • Overestimate level of control over events • Unrealistic predictions of future success.

  13. Maintaining Self-Esteem

  14. Maintaining Self-Esteem • Self-evaluative Maintenance • We act to support our self-esteem. • Social Comparisons • Compare our performance with others. • The standard then affects our self-esteem. • Use Self-serving Bias • Interpret success and failure in the context of our self-esteem. • High self-esteem: Credit self for success and blame failure on outside circumstances. • Low self-esteem: Credit outside circumstances for success and blame failure on self.

  15. Attitudes • Beliefs, feelings and judgments about situations, ideas and objects. • Formed over time. • Based on direct experience, therefore learned, i.e., conditioned. • Mere exposure effect. • Genetic physiological makeup may create a predisposition to acquire certain attitudes. These are more resistant to change.

  16. Attitudes • Components of attitudes include emotional evaluation (affect), cognitive evaluation, and behaviour. • These components are not necessarily in agreement. • Behaviour does not always reflect our expressed attitudes. • Attitudes can be explicit or implicit. • Try the Implicit Attitudes Test (IAT) http://www.wwnorton.com/psychsci/activity/ch1_activity.htm

  17. Influences on Attitudes • Shared Perceptions • Social comparison: Asch’s (1955) research. • Leads to reevaluation of our beliefs. • Increases media influence. • Consistent Information • Inconsistent information makes us uncomfortable. • Must be consistent across different modalities and time. • Tend to be much influenced by first impressions (primacy effect in social perception). • Reinterpret later experience to fit with first impression.

  18. Attitude Change • Attempts to influence our attitudes are very prevalent in our society. • Policitians • Governments • Advertisers • Sales personnel • And many more examples.

  19. Social Cognition Persuasive Communication • Central Route: We focus on the message. • Reasoned, rational arguments are more effective. • Peripheral Route: We are distracted by noise, other thoughts, etc. • Personality and credibility of messenger, appeal to emotions are more effective.

  20. Cognitive Dissonance • State of tension when two or more cognitions are psychologically inconsistent. • Competing cognitions. • Internal conflict between values, attitudes and beliefs (Festinger, 1957). • Entirely subjective. • Makes us uncomfortable. • Can lead to attitude or behaviour change. • Act to relieve the discomfort of the dissonant cognitions.

  21. Cognitive DissonanceExample • High school senior believes use of illegal drugs is physically harmful and morally wrong. • Attends party with a group of students she admires. • These students smoke pot and persuade her to join them. • She now experiences cognitive dissonance, a conflict between her beliefs and her behaviour.

  22. Social Cognition Types of Cognitive Dissonance • Post decisional dissonance. • Dissonance from wanting what we can’t have. • Dissonance from investment of resources. • Dissonance from inconsistencies of attitude and behaviour. • Dissonance from inadequate justification. • Dissonance from inconsistencies between commitment and attitude.

  23. Person Perception • Infer causes for other’s behaviour. • Make attributions to some surface factor. • Remember the inferred characteristics, not the situation or the behaviour.

  24. Person Perception • Limited information • Surface characteristics • Appearance is very important in our judgements. • Situation specific • One or two settings • Behaviour may be different in other settings

  25. Attribution Theory • Attributions based on perceived disposition (personality) and the situation. • Kelly: • Consistency: Behaviour occurs regularly. • Consensus: Lots of people behave this way. • Distinctiveness across situations: Behaviour tends to only happen in certain situations.

  26. Attribution Theory • Fundamental Attribution Error: Judging others • It must be their personalities that made them do it. • Self-Serving Attributional Bias: Judging ourselves • If it’s good, it must be our personalities. • If it’s bad, it must be the situation that influenced us.

  27. Social InteractionChapter 14 • Affiliation • Reading Nonverbal Behaviour. • Self Presentation (Impression Management • Influence of Others • Helping or Hurting Others • Liking and Loving Others

  28. Social InteractionChapter 14 A different structure: • Will cover many of the topics in the chapter under these headings. • One-on-one interactions • Many-to-one interactions • One-to-many interactions • Many-to-many interactions

  29. One-To-One Interactions • Compliance principles (Cialdini, 1975): How to influence others: • Foot-in-the-door techniques—once they agree to a small request . . . • Door-in-the-face technique—start big and back off (reciprocity principle). • Four walls technique—once they say “yes” a couple of times . . . (telemarketing). • Low ball techniques—once they’re committed . . . (car sales, bait and switch).

  30. One-To-One InteractionsCompliance Principles • Comparison of FID and DIF techniques (Harrari et al., 1980) • Study of students making requests of faculty • FID group—Small (15 minutes help), then moderate (2 hours of help). • DIF—Moderate (2 hours of help), then small (15 minutes). • Control group—Moderate (2 hours of help).

  31. One-To-One InteractionsCompliance Principles • Comparison of FID and DIF techniques (Harrari et al., 1980)—all significantly different: • FID—33.3% compliance • DIF—78.0% compliance • Control—56.8% compliance. • Among college faculty, starting larger and reducing request (DIF) works best. • Faculty respond least well to the moderate request when it’s preceded by a smaller one. Better to just ask for the larger.

  32. One-To-One InteractionsObedience and Conformity • Social conformity • Milgram’s famous experiments (early 1960s) • “Just following orders.” • Ethical issues. • Applications to real world situations • Hofling, et al. (1966) • Rank & Jacobson (1977)

  33. Many-To-One InteractionsExisting within Social Forces • We act differently with others than we would alone. • Kurt Lewin (1st social psychologist) • Behaviour is the function of the person interacting with the environment. • Developed Social Field Theory based on physics. • We exist in a field of forces that act to move us in many different directions. • Internal forces—desires, goals, abilities. • External forces—pressure from others, responsibility, obligations.

  34. Many-To-One InteractionsExisting within Social Forces • Bibb Latane • Social Impact Theory—We can measure the effect of forces that act on an individual (pulse, blushing, beliefs, values, attitudes, cognitions). • The impact is multiplicative and depends on: • Strength of the force—importance to individual. • Immediacy of the force—how close, either physically or psychologically. • Number of forces, including those at a distance.

  35. Social Impact Theory • More forces, more total impact but each individual force has less influence. • Distance diminishes influence of source.

  36. Social Impact Theory Blah, blah, blah. More targets, less influence on each one: diffusion of social impact.

  37. Many-To-OneEffect on Performance • Effect of an audience • Social facilitation—improved performance of simple tasks or when highly skilled. • Social inhibition—impaired performance of complex tasks or when unskilled . • Presence of others is arousing • Yerkes-Dodson: optimal level of arousal for each individual. Performance peaks at optimum level of arousal.

  38. Many-To-OneEffect on Behaviour • Social Loafing • May work less hard in a group (Latane’s shouting study). • Tend not to pull our weight in a group if individual performance cannot be identified.

  39. Many-To-OneEffect on Behaviour • Bystander Apathy • Bystander Effect: Reluctance to come to the aid of someone in trouble when there are others around. Like social loafing. • Affected by • Diffusion of responsibility • Social inhibition • Ambiguity • Pluralistic ignorance

  40. Many-To-OneEffect on Behaviour • Factors that reduce the bystander effect • Bystanders know one another. • Witnesses have special bond to the victim. • Bystanders think that the victim is especially dependent on them • Bystanders have considerable training in emergency intervention. • Witnesses have knowledge of the bystander effect.

  41. Many-To-ManyHow We Behave in Crowds • People in crowds do things they would not do when alone. • Social restraint--conforming to social norms. • Deindividuation • Lose self-awareness, individuality • Zimbardo’s prison study • Mob mentality

  42. Social PsychologyOne-To-Many: Leadership • Many areas where leadership occurs: politics, military, business, academia, sports teams, social clubs, families. • Affected by many things: • Size and formality of group • Leader’s authority • Path of leader’s influence

  43. Social PsychologyOne-To-Many: Leadership • History argues whether the individual or the circumstances determine the leadership. • Social psychology tries to study leadership objectively: • Surveys of subordinates, peers, and supervisors on quality and effectiveness of others—common in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. • Small groups given a task to be solved by discussion. Makes it possible to rate both the perception of leadership and the actual performance.

  44. Social PsychologyOne-To-Many: Leadership • Social psychology tries to study leadership objectively: • Studies of the personal characteristics of people perceived as strong leaders. • Some commonalities. Good leaders are perceived as: • More intelligent. • More outgoing. • More dominant.

  45. Social PsychologyOne-To-Many: Leadership • Social psychology tries to study leadership objectively: • What does the situation contribute to good leadership? • Leader has considerable authority. • Task is clear cut, no ambiguity. • Group is cohesive, get along with each other and the leader. • Good leadership in one group may be different from good leadership in another.

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