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Social Influence on Beliefs

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Social Influence on Beliefs. Objectives. Explain attributes Explain Attitudes Analyze why people join a cult. Social cognition is an area in social psychology concerned with social influences on thought, memory, perception, and beliefs

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Presentation Transcript
  • Explain attributes
  • Explain Attitudes
  • Analyze why people join a cult

Social cognition is an area in social psychology concerned with social influences on thought, memory, perception, and beliefs

  • Not only what people are doing but what is going on in head while doing it
new specialty neuroscience cognitive
New specialty- neuroscience + cognitive
  • Social cognitive neuroscience draws upon technologies from neuroscience to study the emotional and social processes underlying beliefs, prejudices, and social behavior
  • Explanations on behavior, formation of attitudes
  • Attribution theory is the theory that people are motivated to explain their own and other peoples behavior by attributing causes of that behavior to a situation or a disposition
  • Who did it and why? (terrible childhood, mental illness, demon possession)
  • Two categories of theory

Situational attribution identifies the cause of an action as something in the situation or environment

  • Identifying Cause of action as something in the environment
  • “ Joe stole the money because his family is starving”

Dispositional attribution identifies the cause of an action as something in the person, such as a trait or a motive

  • “ Joe stole the money because he is born a thief”

Find reasons for others behavior, reveal common bias: overestimate personality traits AND underestimate situation

  • Called Fundamental attribution error is the tendency, in explaining other peoples behavior, to overestimate personality factors and underestimate the influence of the situation
  • Explained Milgram and Zimbardo- sadistic by nature
explain own behavior
Explain own behavior
  • Self serving bias is the tendency, in explaining ones own behavior, to take credit for ones good actions and rationalize ones mistakes
  • Taking credit for good actions, but let situation account for failures
  • “ I won the game because of my skill”
  • “ the sun was in my eye so I dropped the ball”

Just-word hypothesis is the notion that many people need to believe that the world is fair and that justice is served, that bad people are punished and good people are rewarded

  • People are fair, rewarded; bad people punished
  • Blame the victim- friend fired, not working hard enough; woman raped, dressed provocatively; innocent bystander shot by police, shouldn't have been in the way
  • Attitude is a belief about people, groups, ideas, or activities. Can be implicit, we are aware of them or explicit, we are unaware of them
  • People, groups, ideas or activities
shifting opinions vs bedrock beliefs
Shifting opinions vs. bedrock beliefs
  • Movies, sports, casual opinions to passionate convictions
  • friend neutral baseball but you are devoted fan= probably still friends
  • But subject gives meaning and purpose to life= different ball game ( politics and religion)
  • Some strict principals, guide lines for interpretation, some accept rituals, some no religion or actively rebel
origin of attitudes
Origin of attitudes
  • Psychologists used to think all learned= parents, experiences, economic circumstances, environment, social influences
  • However some now argue behavioral genetics- some core attitudes stem from personality traits that are highly heredible
  • Open to experience from personality
attitude change
Attitude change
  • New info or experience
  • Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs when a person simultaneously holds two cognitions that are psychologically inconsistent or when a persons belief is incongruent with his or her behavior
  • Prision study
friendly persuasion
Friendly persuasion
  • Social influence- friends, advertisers, politicians
  • Believe one thing or another
  • Familiarity effect is the tendency of people to feel more positive toward a person, item, product or other stimulus that they have often seen

Validity effect is the tendency of people to believe that a statement is true or valid simply because it has been repeated many times

  • See info in movies
  • Joseph Gobbles called this technique, the big lie
coercive persuasion
Coercive Persuasion
  • Suicide bombing- how could someone strap bomb to body?
  • Jim Jones- people temple- 913 people drank Kool-Aid mixed with cyanide
  • David Koresh- cult in Waco, fiery death, shoot-out
  • Heavens gate in San Diego, 38 commit suicide waiting for space ship
  • WHY?
key in process
Key in process
  • The person is put under physical or emotional stress (No eat, sleep or exercise, dark room)
  • The persons problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized (Jews, government, nonbelievers)
  • The leader offers unconditional love, acceptance, and attention (love bath from group- constant praise and affection)
more in process
More in process
  • A new identity based on the group is created (part of chosen, elite, or saved- new name)
  • The person is subjected to entrapment- (small things then increase weekend, another weekend, weekly seminar, advanced courses, contribute money)
  • The persons access to information is severely controlled