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Social Psychology Pages 565-601.

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1 Social Psychology Pages

2 What is social Psychology
A field of psychology that investigates how individuals affect each other Explores the forces that bring us together in relationships such as friendships and loving relationships The branch of psychology that studies the effects of social variables and cognitions on individual behavior and social interactions

3 Social psychologists try to understand the social context
Social context: the combination of a)People b)Activities and interactions among people c)The setting in which behavior occurs d)The expectations and social norms governing behavior in that setting







10 Some Topics We Will Study
The power of social situations How minor features of social settings can impact how we think, feel, and act Certain situations can produce conformity to group standards even when the group is wrong How we use subjective social reality(perceptions) Conflict explanations and possible ways to resolve large scale conflicts (ex: violence, terrorism, prejudice)

11 Unit Breakdown Situational Impact
Constructing Social Reality (what influences our judgment of others) Roots of violence and terrorism

12 PART 1. Situation: How Does the Social Situation Affect Our Behavior?

13 Core Concept We adapt our behaviors to the demands of the social situation, and in ambiguous situations we take our cues from the behavior of others in that setting. Ex: after an interview you are invited to the company cafeteria to have lunch with the person who conducted your interview Ex: the college classroom

14 Situationalism Assumes that the environment, or the behavioral context, can have both subtle and forceful effects on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Situationalism contrasts with… Dispositionism which is the tendency to attribute behaviors to external factors such as genes, traits, and character qualities (ignores effects of environment)

15 Examples of situationalism
Being at a work place, and having to act nicely even though your customers are completely rude. When I was at my friend's house, I stopped eating when she did. You may act differently if you know that there is a hidden camera in the room compared to how you would behave if you didn't know there was a camera recording you.

16 Social Standards of Behavior
There are certain situations in which we almost automatically do what is right Ex: job interview, classroom lecture, houses of worship, how you address your friends versus your parents, a library, an elevator In other words we learn to size up our social circumstances and make our behavior conform to situational demands

17 Individual responses most heavily depend on
Social roles Social norms of the group

18 Social Roles Are defined as one of several socially defined patterns of behavior that are expected of persons in a given setting or group We all serve many different social roles. Our roles may result from our interests, abilities, and goals---or can be imposed by the group or by cultural, economic, or biological conditions beyond our control

19 Function of social roles
Social roles prescribe your behavior by making obvious 1. What you should do 2. How you should do it 3. When

20 Managing social roles The situations in which we live determine roles available to us and often diminish or heighten the possibilities of other roles Ex: Your role as a college student diminishes the likelihood that you will become a drug dealer or homeless and heightens other likelihoods

21 Social Norms A group’s expectations regarding what is appropriate and acceptable for its members’ attitudes and beliefs. Unwritten rules of a group or situation Ex: political or religious attitudes, wearing a suit on an interview, not discussing taboo subjects with certain individuals, etc…

22 How Do we Learn Norms? Describe what you do when you get onto an elevator Why do you act this way?

23 Emergent Norms Norms that emerge out of interactions
Ex: The newly ousted member of a social group, getting comfortable in a classroom

24 New “Group” Members When a person joins a new group, there is an adjustment period during which the individual tries to discover how to best fit in. This typically involves discovering the social norms. This happens by; Noticing uniformities and regularities Observing negative consequences when someone violates the social norm

25 Group Tasks TASK 1: You are to describe the social norms of two different groups. Briefly explain the people, activities, and setting (if not obvious). Then create a list of as many social norms that govern this group. You should write no less than five social norms. Do not select two “like” groups. (Group) TASK 2: Select two situations in which there are social standards of behavior. List at least three social standards of behavior for each situation and describe how each standard came to be. Do not use any examples already discussed in class. (Situation)

26 TASK 3 Write every social norm you have/will encounter today. You must write at least 8.

27 TASK 4 Review your list from task 3. Imagine that you have broken each of your social norms. Write an explanation of how you would break the norms and the consequences you would encounter from breaking the norms.

28 My example Greet co-workers Greet students at the door
Look at students as I teach Dress appropriately for work and weather Walk on the right side of the hallway Say excuse me if I want to pass someone in the hallway Say bless you when someone sneezes Smile/look pleasant towards staff and students Open door to house when doorbell rings and walk guest into my home Ask guest if they want anything to drink


30 Conformity The tendency for people to adopt the behaviors, attitudes, and opinions of other members of a group. We see conformity in a variety of different ways- moods, clothing styles, leisure activities, etc…

31 The tendency for people to mimic other people
Chameleon Effect The tendency for people to mimic other people

32 Could the power of the situation prove stronger than the evidence in your own eyes?

33 The Asch Effect: the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform

34 Procedure Using the line judgment task, Asch put a naive participant in a room with seven confederates.  The confederates had agreed in advance what their responses would be when presented with the line task.  The real participant did not know this and was led to believe that the other seven participants were also real participants like themselves.   Each person in the room had to state aloud which comparison line (A, B or C) was most like the target line. The answer was always obvious.

35 continued The real participant sat at the end of the row and gave his or her answer last.  In some trials, the seven confederates gave the wrong answer.  There were 18 trials in total and the confederates gave the wrong answer on 12 trials.   Asch was interested to see if the real participant would conform to the majority view.


37 Results Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view.  Over the 18 trials about 75% of participants conformed at least once and 25% of participant never conformed (original Asch experiment)

38 Why did the participants conform so readily?
When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not really believe their conforming answers, but had gone along with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought "peculiar".  A few of them said that they really did believe the group's answers were correct.

39 A few side notes on the asch experiment
1951 All males Easy task Psychological stress

40 Apparently, people conform for two main reasons:
Normative influence: Because they want to fit in with the group Informational influence: Because they believe the group is better informed than they are

41 One is more likely to conform when
A judgment task is difficult When group members are perceived as competent When responses are given publically rather than privately When the group majority is unanimous

42 Exceptions in conformity experiments
Individual heroic defiance: These individuals are the whistleblowers who challenge corrupt and immoral systems by not going along with the company/group norm Heroes: are defined as people who are able to resist situational forces that overwhelm their peers and remain true to their personal values. Often pay a high price for not being a “team player”

43 Partner/group activity

44 Create your own authority figure
What must be included -Background description/credentials -Description of their personality -Their leadership style/philosophy -How this individual deals with people who disobey him/her -What they look like

45 Questions List attributes of an authority figure.
How does one gain authority? Why do we obey authority? What would society be like without authority? In what circumstances would you question or disobey authority?

46 Milgram’s obedience Experiment
40 men recruited using newspaper ads. Milgram developed an intimidating shock generator, with shock levels starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts. The many switches were labeled with terms including "slight shock," "moderate shock" and "danger: severe shock." The final two switches were labeled simply with an ominous "XXX."


48 Continued Each participant took the role of a "teacher" who would then deliver a shock to the "student" every time an incorrect answer was produced. The student was a confederate and was not actually being shocked

49 Continued Once the 300-volt level had been reached, the learner banged on the wall and demanded to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.

50 When asked if they should continue
"Please continue.“ "The experiment requires that you continue.“ "It is absolutely essential that you continue.“ "You have no other choice, you must go on."

51 Results Nearly two-thirds of delivered the maximum 450 volts to learner Most who refused to deliver 450 volts went up to 300 volts It is important to note that many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught and angry at the experimenter. Yet they continued to follow orders all the way to the end.

52 Analyzing the results The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance The fact that the study was sponsored by Yale led many participants to believe that the experiment must be safe. The selection of teacher and learner status seemed random. Participants assumed that the experimenter was a competent expert. The shocks were said to be painful, not dangerous.

53 People tend to be obedient under the following conditions (ex: milgram)
When a peer models obedience When there is distance (victim is remote from the teacher) Proximity to authority figure (when the authority figure closely watches the teacher) There are others to blame (when the teacher felt they were simply assisting) When the authority figure had a high status

54 The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act." –Stanley Milgram, 1974

55 Obedience to authority extremes

56 What is a cult? a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

57 Authentic Examples of blind obedience to authority
People’s Temple Branch Davidians Heaven’s Gate

58 The People’s Temple of the disciples of Christ

59 The People’s Temple Founded in 1956
Community, tolerance, civil rights, socialism San Fransisco to Guyana Nov. 17, 1978 Congressman Leo Ryan killed Nov. 18, men, women, and children “Don’t drink the Flav-or-aid”

60 The suicide note “Please try to understand. Look at all. Look at all in perspective. Look at Jonestown, see what we have tried to do — this was a monument to life, to the [re]newal of the human spirit, broken by capitalism, by a system of exploitation and injustice. We did not want this kind of ending. We wanted to live, to shine, to bring light to a world that is dying for a little bit of love. We were at a cross/purpose with history. But we are calm in this hour of our collective leave-taking. As I write these words people are silently amassed, taking a quick potion, inducing sleep, relief.”

61 Branch Davidians

62 Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventist – mission to prepare for the 2nd coming of Christ, end all suffering beforehand (SYBIL!) Dooms day cult large supplies of arms; one source estimated 11 tons of arms Believed the death of Jesus only provided salvation for those before his death. The rest of humanity can only be saved through BD beliefs A war resulting in the apocalypse would take place in Jerusalem, err…I mean, Texas

63 The Standoff Koresh arrested 1993
February 28th- 76 ATF officers attempt to serve a search warrant A firefight ensued- 6 Davidians and 4 ATF agents died; at least one Davidian and 24 agents were wounded. The ATF withdrew. The FBI took charge; a 51 day siege followed. April 19, around 6 a.m. tear gas fired, around noon Fire kills 74 men, women, and children

64 Heaven’s gate

65 Heaven’s Gate Marshall Applewhite (Doe)
The Earth was about to be recycled. The only chance for survival was to leave it immediately. Earth is a garden to grow souls, human bodies are vehicles All aspects of life regulated Promise of a more developed kingdom via UFOs Hale Bopp comet 21 women, 18 men

66 Why people join cults: Arthur Deikman (clin- prof of psychiatry)
Cults form and thrive,” says Deikman, “not because people are crazy, but because they have two kinds of wishes….

67 1. They want a meaningful life, to serve God or humanity
This motive is usually constructive

68 2. They want to be taken care of, to feel protected and secure, to find a home.
This motive usually results in a corrupting effect, enabling cult leaders to elicit behavior directly opposite to the idealistic vision with which members entered the group.

69 4 Characteristics of most cults
Compliance with the group • Dependence on a leader • Avoidance of dissent • Devaluation of outsiders

70 Psychological Effects of cults
Loss of choice and free will • Diminished intellectual ability, vocabulary and sense of humor • Reduced use of irony, abstractions and metaphors • Reduced capacity to form flexible and intimate relationships • Poor judgment • Members may become poorer as the cult siphons off their wealth • Physical deterioration • Malnutrition • Hallucinations, panic, dissociation, guilt, identity diffusion and paranoia • Neurotic, psychotic or suicidal tendencies

71 What does this tell us about obedience to authority?
Ordinary people may blindly obey or conform to standards set by someone they respect, fear, or love The obedience trap can be very powerful Hopefully we have a better understanding of the social forces that can pressure ordinary people to commit puzzling acts As students of social psychology you are hopefully more resistant to the forces that produce unquestioning obedience to authority

72 Groupthink Members of a group will attempt to conform their opinion to what each believes to be the consensus of the group. Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus override’s people’s common sense Irving Janis, 1972 This conformity bias leads the group to take action that each member might normally consider unwise.

73 Consider…. Have you ever not spoken up in a group setting because you did not want to appear unsupportive of the group’s efforts? Have you ever led a team in which members were reluctant to express their own opinions?

74 7 conditions that promote groupthink
Isolation of the group High group cohesiveness Directive leadership Lack of norms requiring methodical procedures Likeness of members’ social backgrounds Likeness of members’ ideology High stress from external threats with low hope of a better solution than that of the group leader

75 Groupthink in action A Senate Intelligence Committee report suggests investigating whether or not Saddam Hussein's government had access to weapons of mass destruction, suffered from a "collective groupthink," which led them to misinterpret "ambiguous evidence.” Cited in the report were the GT elements of, “examining few alternative, selective gathering of information, pressure to conform within the group or withhold criticism, and collective rationalization.”

76 Space Shuttle challenger disaster
Occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The O-ring failure caused hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and external fuel tank and thus cause the explosion.

77 Groupthink Project

78 Examples of projects Conversation Social media messaging Cartoon strip

79 Group Activity Question #3- Complete on the back of your groupthink activity. 3. Review your answers for questions 1 and 2 as well as the section entitled how to present groupthink. Were your answers effective or ineffective according to the reading. Explain each of your responses.

80 The Bystander Effect: Harm does not always come from a harmful act
The Bystander Effect: Harm does not always come from a harmful act. Harm may come from the inaction of others Definition: Cases in which individuals offer little or no means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders.

81 Kitty Genovese In 1964, 38 ordinary citizens watched for more than ½ hour as a man with a knife stalked and killed 28 year old KG in three separate attacks The attacker stopped briefly when he heard voices or saw apartment lights turned on, but then continued with the attack No one called the police during the attack Only one person called the police after KG had been raped and murdered

82 How do we explain the bystander effect?
College student intercom and seziure experiment Personality tests showed no significant differences between the bystanders Group size indicated the likelihood of assistance

83 Diffusion of responsibility
Dilution or weakening of each group member’s obligation to act when responsibility is perceived to be shared with all group members The likelihood of receiving help decreases as the amount of bystander increases

84 Other factors of the bystander effect
Conformity- When people do not know what to do, they take cues from others (conforming to the behavior of doing nothing)

85 Exceptions to the bystander effect
Those more likely to not fall into the bystander trap - medical backgrounds -police -teachers -CPR/First-Aid trained -those who listened to a psychology class lecture on the bystander effect

86 How To Increase your chance of being help
1. Simply ask for help Ex: “Can you watch my bag while I step away?” 2. Reduce the ambiguity of the situation by clearly stating the problem and what should be done Ex: “She fainted, call an ambulance” 3. Identify specific individuals so they do not diffuse responsibility Ex: “You in the red shirt, Call 911”


88 Core Concept The judgments we make about others depends not only on their behavior but also on our interpretation of their actions within a social context In other words, our social reality determines whom we find attractive, whom we find threatening, who we seek out, and whom we avoid

89 Social Reality An individual’s subjective interpretation of other people and of relationships with them The social situation is powerful, but it does not account for everything We will now consider individual choice’s of friends and romantic partners within the context of social reality

90 Activity List what attributes you look for in a romantic partner
List what attributes you look for in a friend Do you agree or disagree with either of the following statements? Absence makes the heart grow fonder Out of sight, out of mind Opposites attract

91 Factors of Interpersonal attraction
Reward theory Proximity Similarity Self-Disclosure Physical attractiveness

92 Reward Theory We are attracted to those who give us the maximum rewards at minimum cost Most relationships can be seen as an exchange of benefits Ex: money, marital possessions, praise, status, information, sex, emotional support

93 1. Proximity People will have the closest relationships with those they see the most Ex: We are closer friends with co-workers, you are more likely to friends with those who live closer to you in a dorm, you are more likely to be friends with your next door neighbor than with residents of the house two down from yours

94 2. Similarity People are attracted to those who are most similar to them We find it more rewarding to form friendships with those who share the same attitudes, interests, values, and experiences than to bother with those who disagree with us This also explains why most people marry people of the same age, race, social status, attitudes, and values

95 Self-disclosure We feel highly rewarded when we can share a secret or intimate detail with someone and they do not hurt us with the information The more and more information you can entrust to another individual, the more intimacy you experience

96 4. Physical attractiveness
We find it more rewarding to associate with people we find physically attractive (even more so than ourselves) than those we find unattractive or homely looking This holds true for romantic relationships, friendships, and even at interviews Being extremely attractive, however, can be a liability. Most people view extremely attractive people as vain and materialistic

Most of us are attracted to smart, good-looking, near-by, self-disclosing, like-minded, and powerful people

98 Exceptions to the Reward Theory of Attraction

99 Questions to consider What types of relationships are not very rewarding? Why do people stay in these types of relationships? Can people feel more attracted to those who have less to offer them?

100 1. Matching hypothesis The theory that most people will find friends and mates that are perceived to be about their same level of attractiveness This is said to be a result of a sort of bargaining for the best we can get in the interpersonal marketplace




104 2. Expectancy-value theory
We only pursue relationships in which we believe will be successful by evaluating our own attributes In other words, we will not spend too much time on interpersonal causes that are lost We initiate relationships with people we perceive will like us in return

105 3. Low self-esteem These individuals often form relationships with people who share their same outlook, who devalue them Individuals with low self-esteem feel a greater sense of commitment to those who think poorly of them than think well of them

106 4. Inflated self-esteem These people must find a way to normalize themselves so others can relate We tend to keep these people at a distance, and because of this they might rarely be approached

107 5. Attraction and self justification
Sometimes we must justify certain relationships Being part of an organization that that sets grueling conditions Ex: Marines, fraternities, sororities, etc… These individuals often experience cognitive dissonance (I have volunteered for an extremely punishing experience) These individuals justify their choices by stating, “It’s tough, but it will make me a better person”

108 Cognitive dissonance A highly motivating state in which people have conflicting cognitions, especially when their voluntary actions conflict with their attitudes CD explains why some individuals voluntarily undergo the aforementioned harsh treatment

109 MAKING COGNITIVE ATTRIBUTES: How we judge ourselves and others

110 How we view others We tend to attribute individual’s actions and misfortunes to personal traits rather than situational forces. Ex: Most commentators around the time KG was murdered attributed the lack of help to the bystanders’ character flaws Ex: We tend to see our favorite singer or athletes as having exceptional talents rather than looking at situational forces (influence of family, coaches, marketing, long practices, sacrifices, or lucky breaks)

111 Fundamental attribution error
The dual tendency to overemphasize personal traits while minimizing situational forces Ex: A car slams on his/her brakes in front of you. You may first get angry and think the person is a poor driver (dispositional judgment) The person might have quickly slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting an animal or person (situational)

112 Avoiding FAE Attributional Charity: Always try to find a situational explanation for a strange or unusual behavior before blaming individuals with dispositional explanations

113 how we judge Ourselves

114 Self-serving bias An attributional pattern in which we take credit for our successes but deny responsibility for failure Rooted in the need for self-esteem, a preference for interpretations that save face and cast our actions in the best possible light Example: A= I do well on multiple choice tests (internal) Low Grade= The professor tried to trick me (external)

115 Prejudice v. discrimination

116 Prejudice v. discrimination
Prejudice: Negative feeling or attitude towards an individual based on his/her membership in a group Discrimination: A negative action against an individual because of his/her relationship in a group

117 5 causes of prejudice Dissimilarity and social distance
Economic competition Scapegoating Conformity to social norms Media Stereotypes

118 1. Dissimilarity and Social Distance
In group- the group(s) with which an individual identifies Social distance- perceived difference or similarity between oneself and another person Out-group- those outside the group(s) in which the individual identifies

119 example Mrs. McDonough sees a hipster
This is not part of my in-group, so I view the hipster as part of an out-group I may see the hipster as flaunting behaviors and values that differ greatly differ from mine I therefore see the hispter as having a great social distance from myself Possible outcome: I do not hire a hipster to work at my company (McDonough’s Cat Sitting Inc.)

120 2. Economic competition Prejudice occurs in highly competitive situations, where one group wins economic benefits or jobs at the other group’s expense Ex: competition between timber workers and environmentalists

121 3. scapegoating Blaming a an innocent group or person for one’s own troubles Ex: German Jews in Nazi Germany were propagandized as the faces of the enemy Previous generations blaming the current generation for the downfall of society

122 4. Conforming to social norms
Sometimes we maintain unfair conditions involving unfair assumptions Ex: job roles of men and women, white bus drivers in the South in the mid-20th century When individuals discriminate against others they tend to justify their behaviors in order to eliminate cognitive dissonance

123 5. Media stereotypes Portrayal of Africans and African Americans prior to the 1980s Prime time features three times as many male as female characters Most males are shown in professional or managerial positions while, in reality, 2/3 of the U.S. workforce is employed in blue-collar or service jobs The proportion on non-whites and elderly people is also much smaller than in the general population

124 Social Psychology: Part 3 What are the roots of violence and terrorism?
Core Concept: The power of the situation can help us understand violence and terrorism, but a broader understanding requires multiple perspectives that go beyond boundaries of traditional psychology

125 The meanings of violence and aggression
Both refer to behavior that is intended to cause harm Social psychologists use these terms interchangeably The key component to either term is intent Violence and aggression are social/anti-social phenomenon

126 Aggression/violence Stanford Prison Experiment
Situation Social Factors Stanford Prison Experiment Milgram’s obedience studies Prejudice Conformity Frustration Threat Wounded Pride

127 Assignment part 1 Read the Robbers Cave Experiment
Your group is to create a plan to stop the chaos that ensued in the experiment and to create cooperation between the Eagles and the Rattlers. Your plan must be very specific, ethical, and take about a week to complete

128 Assignment part 2 Now read how Sherif and his colleagues conducted the third phase of the experiment. Compare your group’s plan to phase 3. 1. How does your plan compare and contrast to phase 3 of the experiment? 2. Which plan do you think would be more successful today? Explain.

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