2 Social PsychologyThe study of thought and behavior as influenced by social situationsAttitudes – an evaluative belief held about somethingAcquired through learning; classical, operant and social learning
3 Classical and Operant Conditioning of Attitudes Classical ConditioningLearned emotional and physiological responsesOperant ConditioningAttitudes strengthened if rewarded and weakened if punishedConsequences of direct interaction with object affect attitudeSocial LearningObserve a model and store mental representation of behaviorAttitudes tend to be most like those around us« Teaching TipHave students come to the board and sketch out examples of how attitudes can be learned through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning. This activity is great for helping students engage in elaborative rehearsal of the material.
4 The Link Between Attitudes and Behavior Attitude-behavior consistencyResearchers interested in why this is often lackingWhat variables affect attitude-behavior consistency?Answers have practical social valuePolitics, consumerism, safe sex, prejudiceHow can attitudes be changed?« Discussion TipHave students discuss times in which their attitudes did not predict their behavior very well. Then ask them to explain why this was the case. Was there any social influence or pressure involved? If so, this makes a nice segue to topics like conformity, compliance, and obedience.
5 Cognitive Consistency and Attitude Change Attitudes change as new knowledge is acquired and different experiences are hadCognitive consistencyDesire to avoid contradictions among attitudes or between attitudes and behaviorWhy?... Cognitive Dissonance theory« Discussion TipDissonance is a difficult concept for students to grasp. To help them, have them try to generate their own examples of dissonant situations, and then discuss what would likely happen in these cases.
6 Bring new beliefs or attitudes to situation Dissonance TheoryInconsistencies cause unpleasant physical state – dissonanceMotivated to restore state of consonanceThree ways to remove inconsistenciesChange behaviorChange attitudesBring new beliefs or attitudes to situation
7 Persuasion and Attitude Change Persuasion = Direct attempts to change attitudesAdvertisements, media, politicians, friendsExposed to multitude of persuasion attempts on daily basisCognitive processes engaged during the persuasive attempt influence effectCentral route where messages are critically evaluatedPeripheral route where superficial aspects of arguments influence« Teaching TipHave the students bring in their favorite advertisements and analyze them to determine which persuasive techniques they employ.« Technology TipWeb site describing persuasion tactics commonly used by con artists.
8 Other Variables Affecting Persuasion Communicator variablesCredible, attractive, expertEspecially in peripheral routeMessage variablesPresent both pros and consAudience variablesEasier on peripheral route than central routePositive moods use less careful evaluationEasier to persuade:low IQ, sometimes high IQ, younger
9 How We Form Impressions of Others Impression formation = How we understand and make judgments about othersAttempt to determine what others are like so we can predict their behavior and guide ours
10 The Attribution Process Attribution = Judging people by observing and determining cause of behaviorTrait attributionTraits, abilities, characteristics of personSituational attributionEnvironmental causes« Teaching TipArrange to have a confederate come to class and behave in some unusual way. Then ask the class to discuss the attributions they made about him or her and how they arrived at these judgments.
11 Heuristics and Biases in Attribution Realistically, not always possible to make careful attributionsHumans are ‘cognitive misers’Often use heuristics or shortcuts to make conclusions about othersMay lead to errors and biases« Teaching TipDiscuss with students the possible merits of using heuristics to make attributions. Guide them to the conclusion that there is always a trade off between speed and accuracy in making judgments.
12 Fundamental Attribution Error The tendency to rely more on trait attributions than situationalReasons for this not entirely clearVaries by cultureIndividualistic cultures emphasize individual behavior and success over group; more likely to make fundamental attribution errorsCollectivistic cultures emphasize group over individual
13 When observing own behavior take more situational factors into account Actor/Observer BiasWhen observing own behavior take more situational factors into accountAppears self-serving, but not alwaysFactors:Cannot see own behavior, focused outwardHave different knowledge about self than other
14 Helps protect self-esteem May become too self-serving and hurt Self-Serving BiasTendency to make trait attributions for successes, situational attributions for failuresHelps protect self-esteemMay become too self-serving and hurt« Teaching TipHave students work collaboratively in groups on some sort of task for about 15 minutes. Then ask them to anonymously rate their contribution to the group’s final output in terms of a percentage (0%–100%). If you sum the percentages, they will likely sum to greater than 100%, indicating that some or all of the people engaged in a form of the self-serving bias.
15 Prejudice: How It Occurs and How to Reduce It Prejudice hampers lives through violence, hate crimes or subtler forms (discrimination against minorities in home loans, women in workforce)Of hate crimes, most common motivations are racial, religious, and sexual orientationPrejudice is an attitude and develops like other normal cognitive processes; it is unique in its divisiveness« Discussion TipPrejudice is a very sensitive issue, but sometimes very profitable discussions can come from having students talk about the prejudice they have experienced in their personal lives. However, use your own judgment in setting appropriate boundaries for such a discussion. For example, do not allow pejorative language or personal attacks to take place.« Teaching TipHave students do an online search for Implicit Associations Tests. These tests measure our level of prejudice at the implicit level of memory. Ask students to do these on their own time. You may wish to allow students to volunteer what they learned about themselves from doing these tests, but we do not recommend forcing students to divulge this information. Be sure to explain to students that our attitudes are affected by the culture we grow up in, and that having negative associations about certain people does not necessarily mean that you have to act on these ideas.
16 Prejudice and Stereotypes Stereotype: formation of a schema for specific groups of peopleStereotypes can be helpful or hurtfulPrejudice is stereotype gone awryBiased, negative stereotype + negative affect = prejudiceDiscrimination: behavioral expression of prejudice
17 Stereotype threat impairs African Americans’ academic performance Claude SteeleStereotype threat - Fear that others will judge one based on prejudicial stereotypesMay end up reinforcing aspects of the prejudiceCan inhibit task performanceStereotype threat impairs African Americans’ academic performance
18 Social Transmission of Prejudice Develop through classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learningJane Elliot’s “experiment”Created prejudice within hours of beginning experimentChildren tend to adapt parents’ beliefs, more so for egalitarian beliefs than prejudicial beliefsShaped by peers« Discussion TipHave students discuss the ethics of Jane Elliot’s classroom demonstration of prejudice.« Technology TipAnti-Defamation League’s Web site, entitled 101 Ways to Combat Prejudice, outlines practical ways to reduce prejudice in our world.
19 In-Group Bias: Us vs. Them In-group bias: prefer groups of which we are membersLike group members more than othersContributes to self-esteemView out-group members as inferiorAffects way we perceive out-group membersOut-group homogeneity bias: perceive members of out-group as alike
20 Intergroup Conflict and Prejudice: It’s Their Fault Realistic-conflict theoryConflict amongst groups for resources (e.g. jobs, trophies) contributes to development of prejudiceMinority out-group can become scapegoatsRacial prejudice when direct competition between groups for jobsMuzafer Sherif’s Robber’s Cave experimentCompetition between groups and affiliation with group led to prejudice
21 Does Social Contact Reduce Prejudice? Contact hypothesis: contact between groups reduces prejudicesContact alone does not reduce prejudice, must be cooperative contactSuperordinate goal: goal both groups want to achieve, but need help of other groupBecome one group, with one mission
22 Group Contact Characteristics That Reduce Prejudice Groups need each otherHave a common, superordinate goalWork at same level on equal playing fieldContact is hospitable, informal, and free from negative emotional interactionContact lasts a significant period of timeNorm promote harmony and mutual respect
23 Real-life application of group contact Elliot Aronson The Jigsaw ClassroomReal-life application of group contactElliot AronsonJigsaw classroom: students from different ethnic groups work together to complete a projectReduces prejudice and hostilityIncreases academic performance and self-esteemGoal 4 – Application of Psychology. The real life strategy of jigsaw classroom is described.
24 The Nature of Attraction Attitudes formed about a person determine whether or not we will be attractedAffective component particularly importantProximityPhysical closeness to person affects attraction (someone we see often, live near)Mere exposure effect: the more often we see person or object, the more we like itSimilaritySimilarity predicts attraction across all cultures« Discussion TipPrior to lecturing on attraction, have students discuss what qualities they find attractive in a potential mate. For people in relationships, ask them to discuss the ways in which they are similar and dissimilar from their partners. Do they see evidence for balance theory and/or the matching hypothesis in their own relationships?
25 The Nature of Attraction: Physical Attractiveness Standards of attractiveness vary by culture, but is important factor in attractionImportant to both men and women, with men placing more emphasis on itMatching hypothesis: involved with people whose physical attractiveness is similar to oursTrue for friendships and romantic partnersAttractive people perceived as more interesting, kind, sociable, sensitive, and nurturingMay be part biological and instinctive« Technology Tippage from the Jacksonville State University Encyclopedia of Psychology Web site that deals with information on attraction.
26 Figure 10.3 Cultural Differences in Physical Attractiveness Which of these people do you find attractive? Standards of physical attractiveness vary across some cultures.
27 Groups and Group Influence We belong to a multitude of groupsFunctions of groupsCompanionshipSecuritySocial identityHelps in gaining information and achieving goalsGroups have power to influence behavior« Teaching TipGive students 3 minutes to list all the groups to which they belong. This activity will drive home the meaning of the term “group” for students.
28 Social Forces Within Groups: Norms and Cohesiveness Norms: laws that guide behavior of group membersExplicit or implicitBreaking norms results in unpleasant consequencesCohesiveness: desire to maintain membership in groupHigh cohesiveness includes high pressure to meet group normsIncreases conformity« Teaching TipHave a “break a norm” day in which students have to break a norm all day long. Then have them write a paper about their experiences. Be sure to caution students ahead of time not to break norms that are likely to get them into serious trouble (e.g., breaking the law).Review Table 10.2 Some Cross-Cultural Differences in Norms Governing Conversation Within the United States
29 Conformity Within a Group Solomon AschSubjects given series of lines and asked questions about themConfederates deliberately chose incorrect answersSubjects were most likely to follow confederates and choose wrong answer (74%)Conformity increases as majority group increasesMaximum conformity with only 3 confederates
30 Figure 10.4 The Asch Procedure for Testing Conformity (after Asch, 1951) In Asch’s study, 74% of the subjects conformed and chose the 6 1⁄4 line as the match for the comparison line after hearing the confederates make this obviously incorrect choice.
31 Factors Contributing to Conformity Lacking confidence in own abilitiesHigh cohesiveness in groupResponses are public, not anonymousGroup has at least 3 unanimous membersThe idea of conformity is a cultural norm and/or no personal need to feel individuated« Technology TipWeb site from a group called the Center for Unhindered Living that contains arguments for why we should not conform to traditional norms. This site is highly opinionated and espouses opinions that many will find controversial. It may be useful in sparking discussion on the pros and cons of conformity.
32 Explaining Conformity During debriefing Asch asked why conformedNormative conformitySubjects who knew their answer was wrong, but went along with groupDesire to fit with group and be liked by othersInformational conformitySubjects became convinced that their choice was actually wrongHeightened when unsure of opinions or abilities« Discussion TipPoint out to students that at times people who appear to be nonconformists are really just conforming to a different set of norms. Have students try to generate an example of a person who is truly a nonconformist. Also discuss how conformity can be both a good and bad thing.
33 Stanford Prison Experiment: The Dark Side of Conformity Phillip ZimbardoSubjects assigned role of prisoner or guard in mock prisonWithin days, disturbing behaviors emergedAbuse on parts of guardsPrisoners became docile and depressed
34 Explaining the Stanford Prison Experiment New setting, isolated from outside world and norms of society, new norms developedDeindividuation – behavior controlled by external norms rather than internal values and moralsSeveral aspects of experiment contributed to deindividuation
35 Decision Making in Groups Group decisions not necessarily better than decisions made by individualsGroupthink: group fixates on one decision, without examining alternativesFactors related to group think:Group isolation (no outside information)Group cohesiveness (don’t rock the boat)Strong dictatorial leadership (can’t disagree)Stress in group (may not think logically)
36 Compliance Techniques Foot-in-the-DoorFirst asked to comply with small request, then bigger requestsEffective because most want to behave in consistent manner – compliance reduces dissonanceDoor-in-the-FaceLarge request followed by smaller requestHigh rates of complianceEffective for may reasons: perceptual contrast, reciprocity, guilt« Teaching TipHave students do an assignment in which they use compliance techniques to develop a telemarketing script to help them solicit donations for a fictional charity. However, caution them that to actually attempt to solicit such funds would constitute fraud.
37 Studies have replicated results ObedienceStanley MilgramResearch question: Is it possible that the average person could be influenced to hurt others if an authority figure gave order to do so?Subjects asked to shock unseen participants (confederates) when mistake made on word list65% of subjects shocked up to the 450-volt mark (even when confederate appeared injured)Studies have replicated results« Technology TipSurvivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, contains footage of interviews with Holocaust survivors, as well as other information on the Holocaust.« Discussion TipDiscuss the Abu Ghraib prison scandal with your class. Explore how conformity, compliance, obedience, and prejudice may have contributed to the abuse. A repository of information on the scandal can be found at
38 Factors That Affect Obedience Presence of perceived authority figure (relieves responsibility, intimidates)Physical distance of authority figureTiming of request (came quickly, little time to think)Shock levels increase incrementally (foot-in-the-door phenomenon, slippery slope)Psychological distances (don’t see consequences of actions)<<Teaching TipReview Table 10.3 Some Experimental Conditions in Milgram’s Experiments and Their Resultant Rates of Obedience
39 Revisiting the Obedience Studies Milgram’s study a demonstration of destructive obedience: that which leads to harm of othersEthics of study?Effect on subjects: stress-related behaviors, use of deception led to thisActual purpose of research was disclosed to participants (debriefing), but they are left with knowledge of their behaviorModern ethical principles guiding research
40 AggressionAggression: action intended to cause harm to anotherInstrumental aggression: aimed at satisfying goalHostile aggression: motivated by desire to hurtU.S. is considered an aggressive society
41 Biological Theories of Aggression Males tend to be more aggressive then females80%+ of violent crimes, including murderMay be related to testosterone; correlation does not imply causationSerotoninLower levels of serotonin found in two groups: survivors of suicide and adults institutionalized since childhood for aggression
42 Childhood Abuse and Aggression Correlation between aggression and possible brain damage related to child abuseChild abuse and neglect correlated with several structural brain abnormalitiesHippocampus, amygdala, left frontal and temporal lobes, cerebellum, corpus callosum
43 Learning Theories of Aggression Albert Bandura’s Bobo Doll experimentsAggression is learned by viewing an aggressive model
44 Does Television Portray Violence Accurately? TV portrays aggression unrealisticallyPortrays incidence of aggression as higher than actual ratesNo negative repercussions for aggressive actsVictims’ suffering not portrayed accuratelyLeast accurate portrayal in children’s programsLeave children with false impressions regarding aggression, increasing likelihood children will model behavior« Technology TipWeb site for the UCLA Television Monitoring Report, a project that examines violence on television.
45 Situations That Promote Aggressive Behavior Frustration-aggression hypothesisWhen frustrated, we activate a motive to harm others or objectsMotives directed at what appears to be source of frustrationAbusive parents may be in stressful situations such as poverty
46 Helping Behavior: Will You Or Won’t You? Just as humans can engage in negative behaviors, we can also be very generousAltruism: willingness to help others without considering personal benefitCapacity for kindness and compassionWhat factors influence helping behavior?« Teaching TipBefore you begin talking about helping behavior, caution students to keep in mind that sometimes there are real costs involved in helping others. Remind them to always use common sense and good judgment when deciding whether to help others.
47 The Murder of Kitty Genovese 1964 Kitty Genovese was murdered in New York City while 38 of her neighbors heardNot one contacted the police or intervenedFactors involved in decision to helpNoticing something is occurringCorrectly interpret eventsFeeling responsibility to interveneDeciding how to helpImplementing strategy« Technology TipWeb site from Crime TV that discusses the Kitty Genovese murder.
48 Diffusion of responsibility The Bystander EffectLatane and DarleyFailure can occur at any stage in helping decision processAs number of bystanders increases, likelihood of intervention decreasesDiffusion of responsibilityWith more bystanders, more diffusionPluralistic ignoranceGroup failure to perceive problem<<Teaching TipReview Table 10.4, discussing variables that influence helping behavior
49 When People Choose to Help People do choose to help total strangersMany forms and examples of altruism existFailure to help not typically due to apathy or cruelty but to misunderstanding, confusion, or fear« Technology TipWeb site by a group called How You Can Change the World that contains information on ways to be altruistic and a forum to discuss ways to positively influence the world. Note: this site is politically liberal.