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Social Psychology
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Social Psychology

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  1. Social Psychology

  2. Social Psychology • The branch of psychology that studies how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.

  3. Social Context • The combination of people, the activities and interactions among people, the setting in which behavior occurs, and the expectations and social norms governing behavior in that setting.

  4. Attributing Behavior to Persons or Situations • Attribution Theory – The theory that we explain someone’s behavior by crediting either the situation or the person’s disposition. • Fundamental Attribution Error – The tendency for observers, when analyzing another’s behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition.

  5. Attitudes and Actions • Does what we think affect what we do, or does what we do affect what we think? • Attitudes affect Actions: • Our attitudes often predict our behavior • Central route to persuasion – Attitude change path in which interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts. • Peripheral Route to Persuasion – Attitude change path in which people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker’s attractiveness.

  6. Attitudes and Actions • Actions affect Attitudes: • Many streams of evidence confirm that attitudes follow behavior. • Foot in the Door Phenomenon – The tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request.

  7. Attitudes and Actions • Actions Affect Attitudes: • Role-Playing Affects Attitudes: • Social Roles – One of several socially defined patterns of behavior that are expected of persons in a given setting or group • Script – A cluster of knowledge about the sequences of events and actions expected to occur in a particular setting • Social Norms – A group’s expectations regarding what is appropriate and acceptable for its members’ attitudes and behaviors.

  8. The Stanford Prison Experiment • Explaining the power of social situations in controlling behavior! • Especially how social roles impact attitudes and actions!

  9. Social Influence • Conformity and Social Influence: • Conformity – The tendency for people to adopt the behaviors, attitudes, and opinions of other members of a group. • Asch Effect – A form of Conformity in which a group majority influences individual judgments. • Based on the findings of Solomon Asch

  10. Group Characteristics that Produce Conformity • The size of the majority • The presence of a partner who dissented from the majority • The size of the discrepancy • Normative social influence – Influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. • Informational social influence – Influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality.

  11. Conformity • Groupthink – Members of the group attempt to conform their opinions to what each believes to be the consensus of the group. • Ash’s Study • Conditions that influence 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

  12. Obedience to Authority • Milgram’s Obedience Experiment • 2/3 delivered the maximum shock of 450 volts!!! • Even though the participants verbally dissented, they continued giving the shocks… WHY???

  13. Obedience to Authority • Conditions under which people tend to be obedient: • When a peer modeled obedience by complying to the authority figure’s commands • When the victim was remote from the “teacher” and could not be seen or heard • When the “teacher” was under direct surveillance of the authority figure so that he was aware of the authority figure’s presence • When a participant acted as an intermediary bystander, merely “assisting the one who was delivering the shock, rather than actually throwing the switches • When the authority figure had higher relative status (being billed as a “professor” or “doctor”

  14. Group Influence • How do groups affect our behavior??? • Social Facilitation – An increase in an individual’s performance because of being in a group. • Social Loafing – A decrease in performance because of being in a group. • Deindividuation – Occurs when group members lose their sense of personal identity and responsibility and the group “assumes” responsibility for their behavior.

  15. Group Influence • Effects of Group Influence: • Group Polarization – The enhancement of a group’s prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group. • Groupthink – the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.

  16. Cultural Influence • Norms, scripts, roles all vary across cultures, thereby meaning that different cultural norms, scripts, etc impact behavior differently. • Cultural influence also vary greatly across time: • Example – Women in the U.S. • Victorian • Flappers • Modern

  17. Prejudice and Discrimination • Prejudice – A negative attitude toward an individual based solely on his or her membership in a particular group. • Stereotypes often feed prejudice • A generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people.

  18. Prejudice and Discrimination • Discrimination – A negative action taken against an individual as a result of his or her group membership.

  19. Prejudice and Discrimination • Dissimilarity and Social Distance • In-group – The group with which an individual identifies. • Social Distance – The perceived difference or similarity between oneself and another person. • Out-group – Those outside the group with which an individual identifies.

  20. Prejudice and Discrimination • Scapegoating – Blaming an innocent person or a group for one’s own troubles. • Example – Adolf Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat for Germany’s problems following WWI.

  21. Roots of Prejudice • Culture • Family • Religion • History • Just-World Phenomenon – The tendency for people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get. • Example – One German civilian is said to have remarked when visiting the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp shortly after WWII, “What terrible criminals these prisoners must have been to receive such treatment.”

  22. Aggression • Aggression – Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy. • Genetic Influences • Some animals are bread to be aggressive (Pit Bulls) • Identical Twins – One aggressive, both tend to be aggressive. • Neural Influences • The brain does not produce aggression, rather it facilitates it when certain areas are stimulated: • Amygdala – Facilitates • Frontal Lobes – Inhibit • Damage to frontal lobes can increase aggression • Biochemical Influences • Hormones and alcohol… Testosterone

  23. Aggression • Psychological and Social Influences • Aversive Events • Frustration – Aggression Principle – The principle that frustration – the blocking of an attempt to achieve some goal creates anger, which can generate aggression. • Social and Cultural Influences • Family • Media • Gender • Norms • Scripts • Roles

  24. The Roots of Violence and Aggression • Violence and Aggression – Terms that refer to behavior that is intended to cause harm.

  25. Interpersonal Attraction • We usually prefer rewarding relationships • Reward Theory of Attraction – A social-learning view that says we like best those who give us maximum rewards at minimum cost.

  26. Interpersonal Attraction • Proximity – Nearness. • Principle of Proximity – The notion that people at work will make more friends among those who are nearby – with whom they have the most contact. • Mere Exposure Effect – The phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking of them.

  27. Interpersonal Attraction • Similarity • Similarity Principle – The notion that people are attracted to those who are most similar to themselves.

  28. Interpersonal Attraction • Self-Disclosure – The more intimate details we share about our lives with someone, the more attracted we become to them. • Most people find self disclosure highly rewarding. • Builds trust, which leads to attraction.

  29. Interpersonal Attraction • Physical Attraction • Although we may say it doesn’t matter, research shows that it actually does. • Americans spend more money on beauty products every year than on education and social services combined… • Matters in how people perceive us • Getting a job • Children • Physically attractive people are often seen as more poised, interesting, sociable, independent, exciting, sexual, intelligent, well-adjusted, and successful. • Also sometimes perceived as more vain and materialistic. • Same for opposite and same sex couples

  30. Interpersonal Attraction • Expectations and the Influence of Self-Esteem • Matching Hypothesis – The prediction that most people will find friends and mates that are perceived to be of about their same level of attractiveness. • Expectancy-value Theory – A theory of social psychology that people decide whether to pursue a relationship by weighing the potential value of the relationship against their expectation of success in establishing the relationship.

  31. Loving Relationships • Loving relationships • Romantic Love – A temporary and highly emotional condition based on infatuation and sexual desire. Usually present at the beginning of a love relationship. • Companionate Love – The deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined. • Equity and Self Disclosure are key here. • Triangular Theory of Love – A theory that describes various kinds of love in terms of three components: • Passion (erotic attraction) • Intimacy (sharing feelings and confidences) • Commitment (dedication to putting this relationship first in one’s life)

  32. Altruism • When are we most-and least – likely to help others? • Altruism – Unselfish regard for the welfare of others. • Medal of Honor Recipients • “Hotel Rwanda” • Bystander Effect • Kitty Genovese Incident

  33. The Bystander Problem • Kitty Genovese incident: • Raped and stabbed to death in Queens, NY while 38 people watched from their windows. • Only one person called the police, after the incident was over.

  34. 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.

  35. Altruism • The Norms of Helping Others • Social Exchange Theory – The theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs. • Reciprocity Norm – An expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them. • Social-Responsibility Norm – An expectation that people will help those dependent upon them. • Parents and Children

  36. Conflict and Peacemaking • Conflict – A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas. • Social Traps • A situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior. • Whalers, bison hunters, etc…. Creates extinction of the very species they are hunting.

  37. Conflict and Peacemaking • Enemy Perceptions • Mirror-image perceptions – Mutual views often held by conflicting people, as when each side sees itself as ethical and peaceful and views the other side as evil and aggressive. • Often the case in times of war. • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – A belief that leads to its own fulfillment.

  38. Conflict and Peacemaking • Peacemaking • Essential Components • Contact • Cooperation • Communication