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Unit 14: Social Psychology

Unit 14: Social Psychology

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Unit 14: Social Psychology

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  1. Unit 14: Social Psychology

  2. Essential Questions: • What is Social Psychology? • What is Sociology? • What is Social Behavior?

  3. What is Social Psychology? • Sociology is the study of social behavior, the way people interact with one another, and the social relationships they form through interaction. • Psychology is the study of mental processes as they relate to behavior. • Social Psychology is the subfield where the two disciplines overlap. It is the study of how we think about social behavior and social relations, and how these social relations can affect our thinking.

  4. Social Thinking Social thinking is the way in which we think about social behavior and the connections we have with other people. This includes how we perceive the social actions of others, and the way in which we perceive ourselves. There are many theories of social cognition which explain some of our typical behaviors.

  5. Fritz Heider's Attribution Theory When explaining our own behavior to ourselves, we tend to attribute it to our situation. I’m not a shy person; I’m only shy with people I don’t know. Around my friends I’m very outgoing. When explaining the behavior of others, we tend to attribute it to their disposition, or personality. He doesn’t ever speak up in class. He’s probably just a very shy person.

  6. Fundamental Attribution Error This fundamental difference in attribution often leads to misunderstandings. The Fundamental Attribution Error occurs when someone decide that someone else’s behavior is due to their general disposition, simply ‘the way they are’, while that person attributes the exact same social behavior to their temporary situation.

  7. Actions and Attitudes The way we feel (our attitude) affects the way we act, but the way we act also affects our attitudes. Being friends with someone may lead you to help them, but helping someone you don’t know may lead to your becoming friends.

  8. How Attitude affects Actions Central Route Persuasion: Occurs when someone is convinced to feel a certain way due to clear evidence or some sort of logical argument. This is slow to create, but leaves lasting convictions. Peripheral Route Persuasion: Occurs when someone takes a certain attitude based on on superficial or incidental cues, such as an attractive salesperson. This leads to snap judgements, but rarely lasts long.

  9. How Actions Affect Attitudes Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon: Give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile, with beliefs as well as money.

  10. The Cognitive Dissonance Theory This theory states that when people have contradictory attitudes, they will feel discomfort, and attempt to eliminate one attitude in favor of another. When someone is made to play a role which is contradictory to their own personal attitude, they will attempt to either stop playing the contradictory role or replace their previous attitude with an attitude that will allow them to keep playing that role. Thus, the way a person acts can change their attitude.

  11. The Stanford Prison Experiment The Stanford Prison Experiment is a famous example of how role-playing and cognitive dissonance can make a person’s actions change their attitudes about someone else.

  12. Social Thinking Review • What is Attribution Theory? • What theory can explain how the participants of the Milgram Experiment behaved? • What are some methods of persuasion?

  13. Types of Social Influence One of the main topics in Social Psychology is the question of influence. How much influence do our social connections have over our thoughts and actions? In what ways can we influence others through the actions we take or avoid? Can our mere presence produce startling unconscious reactions in others?

  14. Conformity: Solomon Asch’s Line Comparison Test

  15. Conformity (cont.) • When taking the line comparison test on their own, 1% of college students were incorrect. • When taking the test with 2 planted students who answered incorrectly, 33% answered incorrectly. Even when they could clearly see what the correct answer was, one third of the students decided to side with the group.

  16. Obedience: the Milgram Experiment The Milgram Experiment examined the degree to which volunteers will obey an authority figure even when confronted with the possibility of hurting or even killing another person.

  17. Group Influence: Social Facilitation • Social Facilitation is when someones performance becomes more extreme in the presence of others. For example: • A skilled pool player is more likely to sink more shots when being watched by four bystanders than when playing alone. • An unskilled pool player is less likely to sink more shots when they are aware of being observed. • Note that performance tends to become more extreme, rather than uniformly better or worse.

  18. Other Types of Group Influence Social Loafing: When people believe that others are helping them, they will put in less effort. Example: A singer will tend sing louder when performing by themselves and more quietly when in a chorus. Deindividuation: In a group situation where there is a feeling of anonymity due to the presence of many others, people can lose self-awareness and self-restraint and react more strongly to arousal. This process is known as deindividuation.

  19. Sources: • Psychology (9th Edition) by David G. Meyers • From • Milgram Obedience Study • The Stanford Prison Experiment • The National Center for Biotechnology Information (

  20. Social Psych Roots of Prejudice, Aggression, and Attraction

  21. Do Now • How do you think prejudices and stereotypes come about? • When was a time that you felt aggressive? What triggered it? • Why do you think people are attracted to others?

  22. Cognitive Roots of Prejudice • Prejudices are formed from cultural divisions and the way our minds process information • Categorization is the human mind’s need to categorize the world to simplify it. • Other-Race Effect: The tendency to recall faces of one’s own race more accurately than faces of other races • A vivid case is when an event causes a stereotype of a larger population. (i.e. 9/11) • The just world phenomenon is the notion that the world is just and that people deserve what they get. (i.e. Successful people are good and unsuccessful people are bad.)

  23. Aggression • Aggression is any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy, it may be done as a reaction or as a means to an end. • Influenced through experience and biology. • Biology sets the threshold of aggression but a situation sets it off.

  24. Biological Factors • Genetic: Twin studies show that identical twins are more likely to both be aggressive, while fraternal aren’t. (i.e. the Y chromosome) • Neural: The neural system that when stimulated can either inhibit or produced aggressive behavior. • Biochemical: Hormones, drugs, and other substances that affect the neural system which controls aggression. (i.e. low serotonin, high testosterone, and alcohol)

  25. Psychology of Aggression • Studies show that animals or humans who experience unpleasant events often make others miserable (Berkowitz, 1983) • Frustration Aggression Principle is that idea that being blocked from a goal can create anger which can generate aggression • Aggressive cues also make aggression more likely such as a gun being available • Physical pain, person insult, foul odors, hot temperatures, and many other stimuli can trigger aggression

  26. Social Cultural Influences • Some people use aggression when they learn that aggression can reward them or observe it through other’s behaviors. (i.e.Bobo doll experiment) • Higher crime rates are seen in areas with a greater difference in wealth • Cultural values and views against pacifism increase rate of aggression • Aggression is portrayed in the media as something that is casual and people tend to become desensitized to it (i.e. video games)

  27. Psychology of Attraction • Mere exposure effect is the phenomenon that repeated exposure to a person or thing increases the chances of liking them. • Familiarity increases the chances of liking a person too. • Appearance and physical attraction also plays a role in how people judge each other. • People are attracted to people with opposite immune system from them

  28. Physical Attraction • Physical attraction accounts for thinking people are more healthy, happy, and successful • Attractiveness isn’t related to self-esteem or happiness though • Beauty differs from culture to culture • Men tend to think youthful women are more attractive while women tend to find men that are healthy, mature, and affluent are attractive • Average is seen as more attractive •

  29. Review • Why do humans divide the world into categories? • How is the psychological definition of aggression different from the one used in common language? • What is the mere-exposure effect?

  30. Social Relations

  31. Romantic Love Romantic love is a critical part of human experience. When relationships are built, occasionally a simple friendship will progress and grow to become a more intimate relationship of romantic love. The Psychologist Elaine Hartfield believed there were two separate categories of love: passionate and compassionate.

  32. Passionate Love Passionate love is defined as being a state of arousal and intense positive absorption from another person. This form of love is usually present at the beginning of a relationship, and involves intense feelings of sexual attraction. Hartfield described passionate love as being, “a state of intense longing for union with another”

  33. Compassionate Love After the initial excitement and heat of a new relationship cools, Hartfield believed that love then matured to become compassionate love. This second form of love is characterized by a deep affectionate attachment between the couple. This is essential in maintaining a strong long term relationship after the initial passion fades.

  34. There are two important factors to maintaining a relationship Equity – this is a condition in which people give and receive equally within their relationship Self Disclosure – this is when two people reach a point in which they feel comfortable enough to reveal intimate details about themselves to their significant other It is important to share with your significant other, in a national survey, “sharing household chores” ranked 3rd in a list of factors people associate with a successful marriages, right after “faithfulness” and having a “strong sexual relationship”

  35. Altruism Altruism is defined as the unselfish regard for the wellbeing of others Altruism became a big concern among social psychologists in 1964 after the attack of Kitty Genovese. Kitty was stabbed and sexually assaulted outside of her apartment building at 3:30 in the morning. She screamed for help for over 20 minutes before someone finally called the police. Later on over 35 residents of Kitty’s building reported hearing the screams and doing nothing about it. Each one of them assumed someone else would make the call. This is an example of the bystander effect.

  36. There many factors that could lead someone to ignore an emergency situation. After a series of experiments, psychologists John Darley and Bibb Latane stated that people will only respond if they first; • Notice the incident • Interpret it as an emergency • Choose to assume responsibility

  37. After an extensive amount of studies done by Altruism researchers, scientists have compiled a list of factors that boost the chances that we will help someone in need. • The person seems to need and deserve out help • The person is similar to us in some way • We have observed someone else being helpful • We are not in a hurry • We are feeling guilty • We are not preoccupied • We are in a good mood

  38. Other terms and theories Social Exchange theory – this is the idea that our social behavior is an exchange process in which we seek to maximize benefits and minimize cost Reciprocity norm – the expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them Social- responsibility norm – the expectation that people will help those dependent on them.

  39. Conflict and Peacemaking Psychologists question what part of the human mind cases conflict? And how can we replace these destructive tendencies with a spirit of cooperation? Psychologists believe that conflict stems from incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas. The elements of conflict are always the same, weather they are within a marital dispute, or even or even on a national level

  40. Social Traps Situations in which we harm our collective well being based on pursuing our interests are called “Social Traps” This occurs when two parties are so intent on pursuing their own self interests that they become caught in mutually destructive behavior. This phenomenon is illustrated in the “Social- trap game matrix”