Introduction: The Origins of Psychology

Introduction: The Origins of Psychology

Chapter Eleven SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Social psychology: Branch of psychology that studies how people think, feel, and behave in social situations Sense of self: Unique sense of identity influenced by social, cultural, and psychological experiences What Is Social Psychology? Two key research areas Social cognition refers to how we form impressions of other people, how we interpret

the meaning of other peoples behavior, and how our behavior is affected by our attitudes. Social influence focuses on how our behavior is affected by other people and by situational factors. Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Other People Person perception: Mental process we use to form judgments about other people Four key components or principles that influence your decision Characteristics of the person you

are trying to evaluate Your own self-perception Your goals in the situation Specific situation in which the process occurs What kinds of factors affect your first impressions of other people? Social Categorization: Using Mental Shortcuts in Person Perception Social categorization: Mental process of categorizing people into groups (or social categories) on the basis of their shared

characteristics Conscious processes (explicit cognition) Unconscious or automatic processes (implicit cognition) Assumption that people share traits and behaviors (implicit personality theory) One Schema: Attractiveness Attractive people Are perceived as more intelligent, happier, and better adjusted Tend to be higher in selfesteem, intelligence, and other desirable personality traits than people of more average

appearance Receive more attention and more favorable treatment from other people throughout their lives What Is Beautiful Is Good Brain Reward When Making Eye Contact with Attractive People Direct eye contact with a physically attractive person activates ventral striatum. Ventral striatum is a brain

area that predicts reward. Orbital frontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala are all selectively responsive to the reward value of attractive faces. Attribution: Explaining Behavior Attribution is the mental process of inferring the causes of peoples behavior, including ones own. Common attributional biases and explanatory patterns

Fundamental attributional error Actor-observer bias Blaming the victim (just-world hypothesis) Hindsight bias Self-serving bias Self-effacing (or modesty) bias Using Attitudes as Ways to Justify Injustice, Discrimination, and Prejudice Just-world hypothesis is the assumption that life is fair.

Just-world hypothesis leads to blaming the victim. Others misfortunes are explained as being their own fault. In self-serving bias (individualistic cultures), people tend to credit themselves for their successes and to blame their failures on external circumstances. Self-effacing bias (collectivistic cultures) involves blaming failure on internal, personal factors, while

attributing success to external, situational factors Fundamental attribution error is the tendency to spontaneously attribute the behavior of others to internal, personal characteristics, while ignoring the role of external, situational factors. The Social Psychology of Attitudes Attitude components Cognitive: Thoughts and conclusions about given topic or situations

Affective: Feelings or emotions about topic Behavior: Actions that you perform regarding the topic or situations Attitudes and Behavior People who hold strong opinions and express them openly, like these protestors, are most likely to behave in ways that are consistent with their attitudes. Interpersonal Attraction and Liking: What Makes One Person More Attractive?

Personal characteristics: such as trustworthiness, warmth, adventurousness, and social status Physical appearance: especially facial features. Interpersonal aspects: People whom we perceive as being like us People who are more familiar The socioeconomic and cultural environment Effect of Behavior on Attitudes Cognitive dissonance

Is an unpleasant state of psychological tension (dissonance) Occurs when theres an inconsistency between two thoughts or perceptions (cognitions) Is so unpleasant that people are strongly motivated to reduce it Can lead to quick attitude change without person realizing it (social neuroscience research) Understanding Prejudice Prejudice: Negative attitude toward people who belong to a specific social group Racial and ethnic groups are far more alike than they are different. Any differences that may exist between members of

different racial and ethnic groups are far smaller than differences among various members of same group. Prejudice can occur with respect to many different kinds of social groups. From Stereotypes to Prejudice Stereotypes Typically include qualities that are unrelated to the objective criteria that define a given category Are based on the assumption that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group Are part of a natural cognitive process to simplify social information

From Stereotypes to Prejudice Social categories can be defined by relatively objective characteristics: Age

Language Religion National or regional origin Tribe Ethnic group Sexual orientation Skin color What kinds of qualities are associated with the stereotype of the cowboy? From Stereotypes to Prejudice In-group: The social group to which one

belongs In-group bias: tendency to make favorable attributions to members of your in-group Ethnocentrism is one type of in-group bias Out-group: The social group to which one does not belong Out-group homogeneity effect: Tendency to see members of the out-group as more similar to one another Overcoming Prejudice: The Robbers Cave Experiment Two groups of boys participated in a series of competitive games.

Group rivalry was ended when groups had to work together to achieve common goal. Experiment demonstrated how group hostility could be created and then overcome. Group differences were artificial differences; boys were very homogeneous. Conformity: Following the Crowd Conformity: Adjusting opinions, judgment, or behavior so that they match those of other people, or the norms of a social group or situation Social influence: Psychological study of how behavior is influenced by the social environment and other people How far will a person go to adjust their perceptions and

opinions so that theyre in sync with the majority opinion? Culture and Conformity Conformity is higher in collectivistic cultures than in individualistic cultures. Individualistic cultures These cultures tend to emphasize independence. Conformity tends to carry a negative connotation Collectivistic cultures Conforming while privately disagreeing tends to be regarded as socially appropriate tact or sensitivity

Conformity does not seem to carry the same negative connotation Factors Influencing Conformity Youre more likely to conform to group norms when: Facing a unanimous group of at least four or five people Giving your response in front of the group You have not already expressed commitment to a different idea or opinion You find the task to be ambiguous or difficult You doubt your abilities or knowledge in the situation Strongly attracted to a group and want to be a member of it

Obedience Stanley Milgram He devised a famous and original obedience experiment Obedience is the performance of a behavior in response to a direct command Typically, an authority figure or a person of higher status, such as a teacher or supervisor, gives the command Stanley Milgrams critical question Could a person be pressured by others into committing an immoral act, some action that violated his or her own conscience, such as

hurting a stranger? Stanley Milgram The Electric Chair With the help of the real subject, who had been assigned to the role of teacher, the experimenter straps the learner into the electric chair. Unbeknownst to the real subject, the learner was actually a 47-year-old accountant who had been carefully rehearsed for his part in the experimental deception. The experimenter told both subjects, Although the shocks can be extremely

painful, they cause no permanent tissue damage. Results of Milgrams Original Experiment Milgram asked psychiatrists, college students, and middleclass adults to make predictions. All three groups predicted all subjects (the teachers) would refuse to obey at some point most subjects would refuse at 150-volt level, where learner first protested only a few rare individuals would go as far as the 300-volt

level no one would go to the full 450 volts What happened? Two-thirds of Milgrams subjects 26 of the 40were fully compliant and went to the full 450-volt level Of those who defied the experimenter, not one stopped before the 300-volt level No difference between men and women subjects

Making Sense of Milgrams Findings Factors That Influence Obedience A previously well established mental framework to obey Situation, or context, in which the obedience occurred Gradual, repetitive escalation of the task Experimenters behavior and reassurances Physical and psychological separation from the learner Confidence that learner was actually receiving shocks Factors That Decrease Destructive Obedience When teachers were allowed to act as their own authority and to freely choose

the shock level, 95 percent of them did not venture beyond 150 volts. Milgram found that people were more likely to muster up the courage to defy an authority when they saw others do so. Implications of the Classic Social Influence Studies

Asch, Milgram, and the real world Behavior is influenced by situational factors that can distort judgments and perceptions and encourage actions in ways that violate conscience. Each person does have the capacity to resist group or authority pressure. Abuse at Abu Ghraib: Why Do Ordinary People Commit Evil Acts?

What factors contributed to the events that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison? In-group versus out-group thinking, and negative stereotypes Dehumanization and prejudice Process similar to Zimbardos Stanford Prison Experiment Not just following orders but also following implied social norms and roles Would You Have Obeyed?

Altruism and Aggression When and why do people help others? Altruism actions fall under the broad heading of prosocial behavior. Altruism: Helping another person with no expectation of personal reward or benefit. Prosocial behavior: Any behavior that helps another, whether the underlying motive is self-serving or selfless. Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Bystanders Helping

How would each of these things influence YOU to help another person? Feel good, do good effect Feeling guilty Seeing others who are willing to help Perceiving the other person as deserving of help Knowing how to help

A personalized relationship A dangerous situation Factors that Decrease the Likelihood of Bystanders Helping Two reasons for bystander effect Diffusion of responsibility Motivated to some extent by desire to behave in socially acceptable way (normative social influence) and to appear correct (informational social influence) The Persuasion Game The rule of reciprocity

If someone gives you something or does you a favor, you feel obligated to return the favor The rule of commitment Foot-in-the-door technique Low-ball technique Aggression: Hurting Behavior Influence of genes and brain structure Identical twins had similar aggressive tendencies whether or not they were raised together. There are observed differences in the prefrontal cortex of people who are prone to aggressive and angry outbursts.

Biochemical influences Testosterone Alcohol Psychological Influences on Aggression Learning People who are violent are often mimicking behavior they have seen. Exposure to violence may lead to violence in the long term. Violence in the media may increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior. Frustration Situational factors can drive frustration: Hot

temperatures, stressful situations Gender, Culture, and Aggression Gender Research suggests direct, especially physical, aggression was more common in males than females across ages and cultures, peaking between 20 and 30 years of age (Archer) Girls and women are just as aggressive as boys in indirect aggression (Archer and Coyne) Culture Regional and national differences in aggression based on a culture of honor and income inequality.

Defending Against Persuasion Techniques Play devils Sleep on it. advocate. When in doubt, do nothing.

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