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Behavior in social and cultural context 8. Overview Roles and rules Social influences on beliefs Individuals in groups Group identity Group conflict and.

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Presentation on theme: "Behavior in social and cultural context 8. Overview Roles and rules Social influences on beliefs Individuals in groups Group identity Group conflict and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Behavior in social and cultural context 8

2 Overview Roles and rules Social influences on beliefs Individuals in groups Group identity Group conflict and prejudice 8

3 Definitions Norms Rules that regulate human life, including social conventions, explicit laws, and implicit cultural standards Role A given social position that is governed by a set of norms for proper behavior Culture A program of shared rules that govern the behavior of members of a community or society, and a set of values, beliefs, and attitudes shared by most members of that community 8

4 Your turn As part of an experiment on learning, you are told to administer an electric shock to another participant every time that participant misremembers a series of words. As the experiment proceeds, the amount of electricity you are administering rises. You started at 15 volts, but the switchboard goes up to 300. How far would you go before you refused to continue? 1. 50 volts 2. 100 volts 3. 200 volts 4. 300 volts 8

5 The obedience study Stanley Milgram and coworkers investigated whether people would follow orders, even when the order violated their ethical standards. Most people were far more obedient than anyone expected. Every single participant complied with at least some orders to shock another person. Two-thirds shocked the learner to the full extent. Results are controversial and have generated further research on violence and obedience. 8

6 Factors leading to disobedience 8 When the experimenter left the room When the “learner” was in the same room When the experimenter issued conflicting orders When the person ordering them to continue was an ordinary man When the subject worked with peers who refused to go on

7 The prison study 8 Subjects were physically and mentally healthy young men who volunteered to participate for money. They were randomly assigned to be prisoners or guards. Those assigned the role of prisoner became distressed, helpless, and panicky. Those assigned the role of guards became either nice, “tough but fair,” or tyrannical. Study had to be ended after six days.

8 Factors in obedience 8 Allocating responsibility to the authority Routinizing the task Wanting to be polite Becoming entrapped Entrapment: a process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of action to justify their investment of time, money, or effort

9 Social cognition An area in social psychology concerned with social influences on thought, memory, perception, and other cognitive processes. Researchers are interested in how people’s perceptions of themselves and others affect... Relationships Thoughts Beliefs Values 8

10 Attributions 8 Attribution theory Theory that people are motivated to explain own and others’ behavior by attributing causes of behavior to situation or disposition Fundamental attribution error Tendency to overestimate personality factors and underestimate situational influence

11 Attributions 8 Self-serving bias Tendency to take credit for one’s good actions but to rationalize one’s mistakes Just-world hypothesis Many people need to believe that the world is fair and that justice is served. Bad people are punished and good people rewarded.

12 Your turn Your roommate studies hard for the psychology test, but does not do very well. After receiving the results, she says “It really wasn’t a fair test.” What sort of bias is reflected in this attribution? 1. Fundamental attribution error 2. Self-serving bias 3. Just world hypothesis 8

13 Your turn Your roommate studies hard for the psychology test, but does not do very well. After receiving the results, she says “It really wasn’t a fair test.” What sort of bias is reflected in this attribution? 1. Fundamental attribution error 2. Self-serving bias 3. Just world hypothesis 8

14 Attitudes A relatively stable opinion containing beliefs and emotional feelings about a topic. Explicit: we are aware of them, they shape conscious decisions Implicit: we are unaware of them, they influence our behavior in ways we do not recognize 8

15 Factors influencing attitude change Change in social environment Change in behaviors Need for consistency Cognitive dissonance: a state of tension that develops when a person simultaneously holds two contradictory cognitions or when a person’s belief is incongruent with his/her behavior 8

16 Influencing attitudes 8

17 Coercive persuasion 8 Person is under physical or emotional duress. Person’s problems are reduced to one simple explanation, repeated often. Leader offers unconditional love, acceptance, and attention. New identity based on group is created. Person is entrapped. Person’s access to information is controlled.

18 Conformity 8 Subjects in group asked to match line lengths. Confederates picked wrong line. Subjects went with wrong answer in 37% of trials. Conformity has decreased since 1950, possibly due to changing norms. Individualistic vs. collectivist cultures

19 Groupthink In close-knit groups, the tendency for all members to think alike and suppress disagreement for the sake of harmony. Symptoms Illusion of invincibility Self-censorship Pressure on dissenters to conform Illusion of unanimity Counteracted by Creating conditions that reward dissent Basing decision on majority rule 8

20 The anonymous crowd Diffusion of responsibility The tendency of group members to avoid taking responsibility for actions or decisions because they assume others will do so. Bystander apathy People fail to call for help when others are near. Social loafing When people work less in the presence of others, forcing others to work harder 8

21 Deindividuation 8 In groups or crowds, the loss of awareness of one’s own individuality. Factors Size of city, group Uniforms or masks Can influence either unlawful or prosocial behaviors Depends on norms of specific situation

22 Disobedience and dissent Situational factors in nonconformity You perceive the need for intervention or help. Situation makes it more likely you will take responsibility. Cultural norms encourage you to take action. Cost-benefit ration supports decision to get involved. You have an ally. You become entrapped. 8

23 Group identity Social identity The part of a person’s self-concept based on identification with a nation, culture, or group, or with gender or other social roles Us vs. them social identities strengthened when groups compete. Robber’s cave studies 8

24 Ethnocentrism 8 The belief that one’s own ethnic group, nation, or religion is superior to all others. Aids survival by making people feel attached to their own group and willing to work on group’s behalf.

25 Robber’s cave Boys randomly separated into two groups Rattlers and Eagles Competitions fostered hostility between groups. Experimenters contrived situations requiring cooperation for success. Result: cross-group friendships increased. 8

26 Stereotypes Cognitive schemas of a group, in which a person believes that all members of a group share common traits Traits may be positive, negative, or neutral. Allow us to process quickly new information and retrieve memories Distort reality Exaggerate differences between groups Produce selective perception Underestimate differences within groups 8

27 Origins of prejudice 8 Psychological functions People inflate own self-worth by disliking groups they see as inferior Social and cultural functions By disliking others we feel closer to others who are like us. Economic functions Legitimizes unequal economic treatment

28 Measuring prejudice 8 Not all people are prejudiced in the same way. People know they shouldn’t be prejudiced so measures of prejudice have declined. Explicit vs. implicit prejudice

29 Measures of explicit prejudice 8

30 Defining and measuring prejudice Measuring implicit prejudice Measures of symbolic racism Measures of behaviors rather than attitudes Measures of unconscious associations with a target group 8

31 Reducing prejudice Groups must have equal legal status, economic opportunities, and power. Authorities and institutions must endorse egalitarian norms and provide moral support for all groups. Groups must have opportunities to work and socialize together, both formally and informally. Groups must work together for common goal. 8


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