Social PsychologyWe cannot live for ourselves alone. All of our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads..
What is Social PsychologySocial Psychology: The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.Social Psychologists: Explore the connections between people by scientifically studying how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.
Attribution TheoryPeople usually attribute others behavior either to their internal dispositions or to their external situation (is the behavior due to the persons situation or disposition).A teacher may wonder if a childs hostility reflects an aggressive personality or a reaction to stress or abuse.Problem: Fundamental Attribution Error (overestimating the influence of personality and underestimating the influence of situations)Republican vs. Democrat (people vs. society / Katrina)
Attitudes and ActionsAttitudes are feelings, based on our beliefs, that predispose our reactions to objects, people, and events.If we believe someone is mean, we may feel dislike for the person and act unfriendly.
Attitudes Affect Action and Vice VersaOur attitudes often affect our actions.Example of Attitude affecting Action:Democratic leaders didnt agree with President Bushs decision to attack Iraq but voted in support of it anyway because of overwhelming public support for Bush.
Similarly, our actions often affect our attitudes.Example of Action affecting Attitude: Cult involvement (Brainwashing)Initially you disagree but you become involved and feel acceptance based on the actions of the cult leaders and end up forming a positive opinion of the cult.
Foot-In-The-Door PhenomenonThe tendency for people who agree to a small action to comply later with a larger one. To get people to agree to something big, start small and build.A small thing makes the next one, although slightly larger, seem not so bad (i.e. stealing / gangs).Works for good things, too (contributions).Role playing affects attitude (youre a parent/student now)Zimbardo Experiment of 1972
Social InfluenceWhy do things like suicides and school violence (Columbine, etc.) come in groups?
AnswerConformity and Obedience: Behavior is contagious (yawn/traffic gawkers)We are natural mimics (our attempt at feeling the way others do this is how we learn empathy)Were happy around happy people and sad around sad people.
Group Pressure and ConformityDefinition of Conformity: Adjusting ones behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.Conditions that strengthen conformity:When you are made to feel incompetent/insecureWhen a group has at least three peopleWhen the group is unanimousWhen one admires the groups statusWhen others in the group observe ones behaviori.e. sorority
Why Do We Conform?Normative Social Influence: We are sensitive to social norms understood rules for accepted and expected behavior because the price we pay for being different may be severe.Informational Social Influence: Influence resulting from ones willingness to accept others opinions about reality. If we are unsure of what is right, and if being right matters, we are receptive to others opinions.
ObedienceStanley Milgrams experiment of 1963Yale University: The effects of punishment on learning
Other Influences..Social FacilitationYou will improve your performance when you compete against others.Exception: when we perform unfamiliar tasks in the presence of others, we perform more poorly.Social LoafingIn a group, people tend to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goalDeindividuationThe loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity.
Social RelationsPrejudice: An unjustifiable attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action.Stereotype: A generalized belief about a group of people.RaceGenderSexual PreferenceOvert prejudice is better but subtle prejudice lingersAll starts with the desire to fit in (in-group)
AggressionDefinition: Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy.Genetic InfluenceNeural Influence (damage to frontal lobe)Study of 15 death-row inmatesBiochemical Influence (hormones, alcohol, etc)Other factors:Extreme temperatureOstracism
More on AggressionFrustration-aggression principle:Frustration creates anger, which may in some people generate aggression, especially in the presence of an aggressive cue.Look at recent situations where a basketball player was frustrated with his teams performance, which led to his aggressive behavior toward a fan who threw a cup of beer at him..What were various factors that led to the aggression?
Factors to ConsiderTestosteroneHigh arousal level of players and frustrated fansAlcohol consumption
Observing models of aggressionMovies Video gamesLearning that aggression is rewardingAct like a man.
AttractionProximity (geographic nearness) is friendships most powerful predictor.We tend to like, date, and marry people in the same neighborhood, school, workplace, etc.Repeated exposure increases our liking of them.
Mere Exposure EffectWhat is familiar is safe and approachableThe woman who married the mail carrier
Beliefs About AppearanceWe believe attractive people are healthier, happier, more sensitive, more successful, and more socially skilled.Not usually perceived to be more honest or compassionate, though.Why?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder..
AltruismDefinition: Unselfish regard for the welfare of others.Name some people that come to mind (common or famous).
Altruism and the Bystander EffectAltruism became a major concern of social psychologists on March 13, 1964.Kitty GenoveseBystander Effect: We will help only if the situation enables us to notice the incident, interpret it as an emergency, and assume responsibility for helping.The presence of others deters people from helpingWhy?
More on the Bystander EffectWe are most likely to help when:The victim appears to need and deserve helpThe victim is in some way similar to usWe have just observed someone else being helpfulWe are not in a hurryWe are in a small town or rural areaWe are feeling guiltyWe are focused on others and not preoccupiedWe are in a good mood
Social Exchange TheoryOur social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs.Example: giving blood / weigh the pros and consReciprocity norm (we should help those who have helped us)Tips to the waiter/waitressSocial-responsibility norm (we should help those who need our help).
Question for You..Who do we most often tend to help?
Who are you (individually) most likely to offer assistance to?