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Social Influences on Beliefs

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Presentation on theme: "Social Influences on Beliefs"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Influences on Beliefs

2 Attributions We want to know why people do things. Is it because of a terrible childhood, mental illness, demon possession? Attributions theory explains our behavior based on two categories: Situational attribution Dispositional attribution

3 Fundamental attribution error
This is a common bias used to find reasons for someone else’s behavior. We overestimate the influence of personality traits and underestimate the influence of the situation. We favor dispositional factors over situational factors.

4 Fundamental Attribution Error
The fundamental attribution error is fairly ingrained in Western countries where middle-class people believe that individuals are responsible for their own actions. Therefore behavior must be indicative of personality traits. In Eastern cultures (Japan, China, Hong Kong) people are more likely to look at situational factors.

5 Dispositional Factors
More likely to say: “I am angry with good reason! Westerners do not always prefer dispositional attributions. Their own personal behavior is explained more with a self-serving bias. Less likely to say: “I am angry because I am an ill-tempered jerk.

6 Just-World Hypothesis
Good guys prevail. Bad guys are punished. Attributions are affected by the need to believe that the world is fair and just. This is particularly prevalent in North America. It helps explain senseless events.

7 Just-World Hypothesis
The need for the good guys to win and the bad guys to get punished has its own problems. It leads to the “blaming the victim” problem. If a friend is fired, a woman is raped, or an innocent bystander is shot by police it helps to say they must have done something wrong to put themselves in that position. This was found in the Milgram study where some of the teachers said “The learner was so stupid and stubborn he deserved to get shocked.

8 Attribution Accuracy Sometime dispositional (personality) factors do indeed explain behavior. Attributions, true or false (accurate or inaccurate) have important consequences. Happy couples attribute there partners’ occasional lapses to something in the situation (poor guy was under stress at work) and positive actions are attributed to internal dispositions. Unhappy couples do the exact opposite.

9 What do you know? What kind of attribution is being made in each case, situational or dispositional? A man says, “My wife has sure become a grouchy person.” The same man says, “I’m grouchy because I’ve had a bad day at the office.” A woman reads that unemployment is high in inner-city communities. “Well, if those people weren’t so lazy, they would find work,” she says.

10 The Processes of Persuasion
Most people think that their opinions and beliefs are based on thinking, a reasoned conclusion about how things work.

11 Friendly Techniques Advertisers and politicians try to get you to change your opinions. They use the constant drip, drip, drip of a repeated idea. Familiarity is the reason that advertisements are repeated so often and why you buy familiar brands.

12 Validity Effect Repeat something long enough and the public will believe it. Joseph Goebbels, called it the “Big Lie” Hal Arkes and his associates demonstrated the validity effet and how it operates. (1991, 1993) “mercury has a higher boiling point than copper” or “Over 400 Hollywood films were produced in 1948”

13 Influencing People Present the arguments through someone who is considered admirable, knowledgeable or beautiful. Couple food with the discussion and you are more likely to persuade. Fear can cause people to resist arguments that are in their best interest.

14 Coercive Techniques Brain Washing

15 Coercive Persuasion During the Korean War it was referred to as “brain washing”. The technique becomes coercive when an individual’s ability to reason, think critically and make choices in his or her own best interest is remove. Usually involve 6 key processes.

16 Key Processes The person is put under physical or emotional distress
The person’s problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized The leader offers unconditional love, acceptance and attention 4. A new identity based on the group is created 5. The person is subjected to entrapment 6. The person’s access to information is severely controlled.

17 Coercive Persuasion An example can be found in modern day Pakistan.

18 What do you know? Illustrates the fundamental attribution error
2. What attributional biases are suggested by the items in the preceding question? Illustrates the fundamental attribution error The self-serving bias Blaming the victim

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