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Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University 6th edition

2 Chapter 14 Making a Difference with Social Psychology: Attaining a Sustainable Future “We live in an environment whose principal product is garbage.” —Russell Baker, 1968

3 APPLIED RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The field of social psychology has been interested in applying what it knows to solve practical problems. Kurt Lewin (1946), generally recognized as the founder of empirical social psychology, made three key points: 1.Social psychological questions are best tested with the experimental method. 2.These studies can be used to understand basic psychological processes and to develop theories about social influence. 3.Social psychological theories and methods can be used to address pressing social problems.

4 APPLIED RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Basic research is concerned primarily with theoretical issues. Applied research that is concerned primarily with addressing specific real- world problems. “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” -- Kurt Lewin (1951)

5 Capitalizing on the Experimental Method Only by conducting experiments (as opposed to observational or correlational studies) can we hope to discover which real life solutions will work the best. It is difficult to test the effectiveness of an intervention without a randomly-assigned control group, and failing to conduct such tests can have serious consequences.

6 Assessing the Effectiveness of Interventions Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) brings people together promptly after the trauma for a 3-4 hour session, in which participants describe experiences and discuss emotional reactions. This cathartic experience is purported to prevent later psychiatric symptoms, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Numerous fire and police departments have made CISD the treatment of choice for officers who witness terrible human tragedies. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

7 Assessing the Effectiveness of Interventions An interesting thing about CISD is that it was widely implemented before social scientists conducted rigorous tests of its effectiveness. One study, for example, 98% of police officers who had witnessed traumatic events and underwent psychological debriefing reported that they were satisfied with the procedure. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

8 Assessing the Effectiveness of Interventions An interesting thing about CISD is that it was widely implemented before social scientists conducted rigorous tests of its effectiveness. One study, for example, 98% of police officers who had witnessed traumatic events and underwent psychological debriefing reported that they were satisfied with the procedure. But self-knowledge is not all that it's cracked up to be, and we should be careful about accepting these kinds of self-reports on face value. People might feel pressure to say a program that has been endorsed by their employers was helpful. More fundamentally, people might genuinely believe that the intervention was helpful, but they could be relying on theories that are incorrect. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

9 Assessing the Effectiveness of Interventions Source of image: Microsoft Office Online. The only way to find out is to conduct an experiment in which some people are randomly assigned to undergo CISD and others are not. This kind of experiment was finally conducted at various sites to test the effectiveness of CISD. A comprehensive review of CISD experiments shows no evidence of its effectiveness in preventing PTSD.

10 Potential Risks of Social Interventions Another problem with social and psychological interventions: People use common sense to assess their effectiveness, and common sense is sometimes wrong. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

11 Potential Risks of Social Interventions Another problem with social and psychological interventions: People use common sense to assess their effectiveness, and common sense is sometimes wrong. A study of burn victims was sobering. Thirteen months after the intervention, the CISD group (compared to control group): Had a significantly higher incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder, Scored higher on psychological measures of anxiety and depression, and Reported significantly less contentedness with their lives.

12 Potential Risks of Social Interventions People are often quite resilient when left alone. Forcing people to talk about and relive traumatic experiences may even make people more likely to remember those experiences later. If people don't succeed in recovering on their own, they might be better to letting some time pass before reliving the trauma, at a point when they have distance from it and can think about the event more objectively.

13 Social Psychology to the Rescue Social psychologists are in a unique position to find solutions to applied problems and to avoid fiascos like the widespread use of CISD. 1.Social psychology is a rich source of theories about human behavior that people can draw upon to devise solutions to problems. 2.Social psychologists know how to perform rigorous experimental tests these solutions to see if they work. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

14 USING SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY TO ACHIEVE A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

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16 Resolving Social Dilemmas Social Dilemma A conflict in which the most beneficial action for an individual will, if chosen by most people, have harmful effects on everyone. It is in anyone's self-interest to use as much energy as he or she wants; after all, one person's contribution to global warming is pretty miniscule. But if we all adopt that that attitude, we will all suffer the consequences.

17 Resolving Social Dilemmas Commons Dilemma A situation in which everyone takes from a common pool of goods that will replenish itself if used in moderation but will disappear if overused. Examples include the use of limited resources such as water and energy.

18 Resolving Social Dilemmas How can we resolve social dilemmas, convincing people to act for the greater good of everyone, rather than purely out of self-interest? How can people be convinced to trust their fellow group members, cooperating in such a way that everyone benefits?

19 Resolving Social Dilemmas Communication helps in two ways… 1.When people make a public commitment to help it is harder to back down. 2.When people communicate they are more likely to establish a sense of group identity and solidarity, which makes them more likely to act for the good of the group.

20 When people can communicate with each other they are more likely to act for the social good, rather than selfishly. Communication works in two ways: 1.When people make a public commitment to help it is harder to back down. 2.When people communicate they are more likely to establish a sense of group identity and solidarity, which makes them more likely to act for the good of the group.

21 Conveying and Changing Social Norms Injunctive Norms People's perceptions of what behaviors are approved or disapproved of by others. Descriptive Norms People's perceptions of how people actually behave.

22 Resolving Social Dilemmas The most straightforward way to communicate descriptive norms against littering would be to clean up all the litter in an environment, to illustrate that “no one litters here.” In general, this is true: The less litter there is in an environment, the less likely people are to litter. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

23 Resolving Social Dilemmas There is, however, an interesting exception to this finding. Ironically, seeing a single piece of trash in an otherwise clean area reminds people more strongly of norms against littering. A completely clean setting is less likely to make them think of the norms. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

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25 Resolving Social Dilemmas What happens when there are no norms for acting in environmentally responsible ways, or even norms for behaving in the opposite manner? In this situation the first step is to change the norm. Often, though, people overestimate the strength of an injunctive norm.

26 Making It Easy To Keep Track of Consumption A problem with some environmental social dilemmas is that it is not easy for people to keep track of how much gas, electricity, water, etc., they use. Making it easy for people to keep track of their water consumption during a drought makes it easier for them to act on their concern for the greater good.

27 Making Energy Loss Vivid If the sources of home energy consumption are made more vivid, people will take more action. People will act in a manner that is sensible in terms of environmental goals and their own economic self-interest. But if old habits are involved, the communication must be vivid enough to break through those established habits.

28 A little competitiveness helps people conserve energy in the workplace.

29 Inducing Hypocrisy Merely posting notices reminding people to conserve will only increase compliance a little. Asking people to commit publicly to a conservation principles greatly increases conservation behavior.

30 Removing Small Barriers to Achieve Big Changes Sometimes the best way to change people's behavior is simply to make it easy for them to do so. To reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, many cities are encouraging their residents to recycle materials such as glass, paper, and aluminum. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

31 Removing Small Barriers to Achieve Big Changes Some psychologists have focused on ways of changing people’s attitudes and values in a pro-environment direction, with the assumption that their behavior will follow suit. Several studies have found that people’s attitudes toward recycling are in fact good predictors of their recycling behaviors. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

32 Happiness and a Sustainable Life Style

33 What Makes People Happy? Happiness is partly genetic; some of us are born with a happier temperament than others. Further, environmental circumstances outside of our control, such as huge political upheavals in a country, can have a big impact on happiness. Nonetheless, research shows that there are things that people can control that influence their happiness.

34 What Makes People Happy? Three of the most important factors are: Having satisfying relationships with other people. Pursuing something you love. Helping others. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

35 Satisfying Relationships Perhaps the best predictor of whether someone is happy is the quality of his or her social relationships. Happy people spend more time with other people and are more satisfied with their relationships. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

36 Flow: Becoming Engaged in Something You Enjoy People tend to be happier when they are working at something they enjoy and are making progress than when they achieve their goal. 1.While working toward a goal, many people are in a highly desired state called flow, which occurs when people are "lost" in a task that is challenging but attainable. Reaching a goal may be gratifying, but then people are no longer in a state of flow.

37 Flow: Becoming Engaged in Something You Enjoy People tend to be happier when they are working at something they enjoy and are making progress than when they achieve their goal. 2.When people work toward a goal but aren’t sure they will obtain it, it is hard to think about anything else. The uncertainty about the outcome focuses their attention on the task and other matters fade from view.

38 Helping Others Helping others can make people happy in a couple of ways. 1.It is a way of connecting people to others and enhancing social relationships, which we've already seen is an important source of happiness. 2.People who help others are likely to come to view themselves in a more positive light, namely as the "kind of person" who is altruistic and cares about others.

39 Money, Materialism, and Happiness Research shows that the relationship between the amount of money people make and how happy they are is weak at best. People who are very poor and have trouble getting food and shelter are, not surprisingly, less happy than others. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

40 Money, Materialism, and Happiness Research shows that the relationship between the amount of money people make and how happy they are is weak at best. People who are very poor and have trouble getting food and shelter are, not surprisingly, less happy than others. Once people have the basic necessities of life, however, having more money doesn't increase happiness much at all. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

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42 Do People Know What Makes Them Happy? Research on affective forecasting has found that people often make systematic mistakes about what will make them happy in the future. When it comes to understanding the recipe for happiness, some people get it backwards.

43 Do People Know What Makes Them Happy? We already saw that one of the best predictors of happiness is having satisfying social relationships. And yet, Americans are becoming increasingly isolated from each other. In 1985, about 75% of the people surveyed said that they had a close friend with whom they could talk about their problems, but by 2004, only half the people said they had such a friend. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

44 Do People Know What Makes Them Happy? In short, people often strive for things that are unlikely to make them happier (e.g., earning lots of money) and overlook things that will make them happier (e.g., spending time with close friends and loved ones). Ironically, striving for money and more consumption is a source of many environmental problems, which can ultimately reduce happiness.

45 Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University 6th edition


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