Thinking About Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior 2e Charles T. Blair-Broeker Randal M. Ernst
Videos • The Power of Situation • http://www.learner.org/resources/series138.html?pop=yes&pid=1516 • The Elevator + You Tube
Social Thinking and Social Influence Module 34
Introduction Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Social Psychology • The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another • Complete Fact or Falsehood. • Why do you obey some rules & disobey others at your school? • Have friends ever convinced you to do something right or something wrong? • Do you consider yourself a conformist? A nonconformist? Why? • Activity 34-4
Social Thinking Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Social Thinking: Attributing Behavior to Personal Disposition or the Situation Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Attribution Theory • Theory that we tend to explain the behavior of others as an aspect of either an internal disposition (an inner trait) or the situation • Do you think that I act the same with my family as I do with you? How do you imagine I act at parties with my friends?
Situational Disposition • Attributing someone’s actions to the various factors in the situation
Dispositional Attribution • Attributing someone’s actions to the person’s disposition, i.e. their thoughts, feelings, personality characteristics, etc.
Fundamental Attribution Error • Tendency to attribute the behavior of others to internal disposition rather than to situations • People tend to blame or credit the person more than the situation • When we explain our own behavior, we tend to include the situation as part of our assessment. When we explain other peoples’ behavior, we tend to attribute it to permanent, personal qualities. • Would Jack Black or Dave Chappelle be believable if cast in a serious movie role?
Culture & Attribution Error • Culture affects attribution. Several banks and investment firms lost millions in the 1990s when employees make unauthorized transactions. • In the US, this was blamed on unethical individuals, a dispositional attribution. • In Japan, newspapers blamed a lack of organizational controls – a situational attribution. • Research shows that people raised in Western countries (like the US and Canada) tend to make attributions based on dispositions far more often than those from East Asian cultures.
Social Thinking: Attitudes and Actions Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Attitude • Belief and feeling that predisposes someone to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events • Attitudes have a powerful effect on behavior.
Attitudes Affecting Actions • Many studies suggest a person’s attitudes do not match their actions • Someone who says he is against cheating, but then does it… • Attitudes can predict behavior if: • Outside influences are minimal • People are aware of their attitudes • Attitude is relevant to behavior (if you say you believe exercise is essential for good health, but you dislike getting sweaty, you may avoid it. Your attitude toward exercise will guide your decision to exercise, or not).
Actions Affecting Attitudes • Under some circumstances one’s actions can influence attitudes. They include: • Foot-in-the-door phenomenon • Role playing • Cognitive dissonance
Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon • Tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request • The fundraiser example: principal agreeing to small concessions first, then bigger ones. • Start small with your requests if you want someone to agree to something big!
Role Playing • Playing a role can influence or change one’s attitude • Zimbardo’s Prison Study • College students played the role of guard or prisoner in a simulated prison. • The study was ended when the guards became too aggressive and cruel.
Zimbardo’s Prison Study College students played the role of guard or prisoner in a simulated prison. • The study was ended when the guards became too aggressive and cruel.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory • Theory that we act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent • When our attitudes are inconsistent with our actions, we change our attitudes to reduce the dissonance.
So…Use it to your advantage • If you have an attitude you’d like to change, such as negative feelings towards people from different social groups, then start by changing your BEHAVIOR towards those individuals. • Therapists use when working with patients with depression; they encourage them to start talking and acting positively.
Social Influence Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Social Influence: Conformity and Obedience Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Conformity • Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard
Solomon Asch (1907-1996) • Social psychologist who researched the circumstances under which people conform
Factors Increasing Conformity • The person feels incompetent or insecure. • The group has three or more people. • The rest of the group is unanimous. • The person is impressed by the status of the group. • No prior commitments were made. • The group is observing the person respond. • One’s culture encourages conformity.
Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) • Social psychologist who researched obedience to authority
Obedience • Tendency to comply with orders, implied or real, from someone perceived as an authority
Gretchen Brandt • Some participants in Milgram’s obedience study confronted authority. Gretchen Brandt was a young medical technician and recent German immigrant. Several times she inquired of the experimenter whether she should continue, and was told yes each time. As she prepared to deliver a 210-volt shock, she announced firmly, “Well, I’m sorry, I don’t think we should continue.” Brandt never appeared tense or nervous; she simply stated that she “did not want to be responsible for any harm to the learner.” Milgram notes that her straightforward, courteous demeanor seemed to make disobedience a simple and rational deed. Brandt behaved differently because she grew up in Nazi Germany and was exposed to Hitler’s propaganda for the greater part of her youth. When asked about the influence of her background, she simply remarked, “Perhaps we have seen too much pain.”
Social Influence:Group InfluenceInvisible Dogs Youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9iq9gdeIE4 Module 34: Social Thinking and Social Influence
Social Facilitation • Improved performance of tasks in the presence of others • Occurs with simple or well learned tasks but not with tasks that are difficult or not yet learned • Ex: athletes tend to perform much better when competing, and especially in front of fans.