Psych 202 – ch 11 social psychology

social psychology
branch of psychology that studies how a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior are influenced by the presence of other people and by the social and physical environment
sense of self
an individual’s unique sense of identity that has been influenced by social, cultural, and psychological experiences; your sense of who you are in relation to other people
evolutionary psychology
social psychologists will often use insights from _______ to understand how the behavior is adaptive
social cognition
the mental processes people use to make sense of their social environment
social influence
the effects of situational factors and other people on an individual’s behavior
social influence
the study of this includes such questions as why we conform to group norms, what compels us to obey an authority figure, and under what circumstances we will help a stranger
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person perception
the mental processes we use to form judgments and draw conclusions about the characteristics and motives of other people
social norms
the “rules”, or expectations, for appropriate behavior in a particular social situation
1. the characteristics of the person you are trying to evaluate
2. your own self-perception
3. your goals in the situation
4. the specific situation in which the process occurs
4 components influencing person perception
social categorization
the mental process of categorizing people into groups on the basis of their shared characteristics
explicit cognition
deliberate, conscious mental processes involved in perceptions, judgments, decisions, and reasoning
implicit cognition
automatic, nonconscious mental processes that influence perceptions, judgments, decisions, and reasoning
implicit personality theory
a network of assumptions or beliefs about the relationships among various types of people, traits, and behaviors
example of social categorization
seeing a man walking in a suit checking his voicemail in a city setting and inferring that he is a businessman
ventral striatum, area that predicts rewards
when we make direct eye contact with a physically attractive person, an area on each side of the brain is activated called the ______ which is the brain area that_______
the mental process of inferring the causes of people’s behavior, including one’s own. Also refers to the explanation made for a particular behavior
fundamental attribution error
the tendancy to attribute the behavior of others to internal, personal characteristics, while ignoring or underestimating the effects of external, situational factors; an attributional bias that is common in individualistic cultures
we simply have more information about the potential causes of our own behavior than we do about the causes of other people’s behavior
There is a discrepancy in accounting for the behavior of others as compared to our own behavior because…..
blaming the victim
the tendency to blame an innocent victim of misfortune for having somehow caused the problem or for not having taken steps to avoid or prevent it
hindsight bias
the tendency to overestimate one’s ability to have foreseen or predicted the outcome of an event
“I could have told you that would happen”
just-world hypothesis
the assumption that the world is fair and that therefore people get what they deserve and deserve what they get
self-serving bias
the tendency to attribute successful outcomes of one’s own behavior to internal causes and unsuccessful outcomes to external, situational causes
self-effacing (or modesty) bias
tendency to blame ourselves for our failures, attributing them to internal, personal causes, while downplaying our successes by attributing them to external, situational causes
a learned tendency to evaluate some object, person, or issue in a particular way; such evaluations may be positive, negative or ambivalent
1. cognitive component: thoughts and conclusions about a given topic or object
2. affective component: emotional component
3. behavioral component: attitudes are reflected in action
3 potential components to attitude
1. you anticipate a favorable outcome or response from others for behaving that way
2. your attitudes are extreme or are frequently expressed
3. your attitudes have been formed through direct experience
4. you are very knowledgable about the subject
5. you have a vested interest in the subject and personally stand to gain or lose something on a specific issue
You are most likely to behave in accordance with your attitudes when:….
– physical appearance (wide smile, dilated pupils, high eyebrows, full lips)
– interpersonal (more attracted to people whom we perceive as being like us)
– familiarity (frequent interactions lead to more feelings of mutual pleasure, understanding, and acceptance)
– when happy, intoxicated, aroused by exercise
– likeliness that an attractive person will like us
factors in attraction
men in societies in which food and resources are in short supply tend to prefer women who are
cognitive dissonance
an unpleasant state of psychological tension or arousal that occurs when 2 thoughts or perceptions are inconsistent; typically results from the awareness that attitudes and behavior are in conflict
cognitive dissonance
Philip Zimbardo – Stanford prison experiment underscored the importance of _____
“I ate the grasshoppers because the experimenter was such a nice guy and I wanted thelp him out” vs. the friend with a rude experimenter who can’t use rationalization to explain the contradiction between disliking grasshoppers and volunatrily eating them (experiences cognitive dissonance). Is only left with attitude to be changed “they weren’t that bad”
example of how “you can change your attitude to make it consistent with your behavior”
the conflict is eliminated, you may change your attitude so that it’s in harmony with your behavior
when your behavior conflicts with your attitudes, an uncomfortable tension is produced. If you can rationalize or explain your behavior….if you can’t explain your behavior then…
people tend to be much more favorably inclined toward a given political candidate after they have voted for him or her than just before
example of how cognitive dissonance can change the strength of an attitude to make it consistent with some behavior that has already been performed
“sour grapes” rationalizaton
after you make a choice involving desirable and undesirable features, you emphasize the negative features of the choice you’ve rejected
“sweet lemons” rationalization
after you make a choice involving desirable and undesirable features, you emphasize the positive features to which you’ve committed yourself
a negative attitude toward people who belong to a specific social group
a cluster of characteristics that are associated with all members of a specific social group, often including qualities that are unrelated to the objective criteria that define the group
they are not always completely false. Sometimes they have a kernal of truth, making them easy to confirm, especially when you see only what you expect to see
why are stereotypes hard to shake?
discount it in a variety of ways – can think of one as an exception or create a subcategoary while maintaining the stereotype
when confronted by evidence that contradicts a stereotype, people tend to do what with that information?
a social group to which one belongs
a social group to which one doesn’t belong
out-group homogeneity effect
the tendency to see members of out-groups as very similar to one another
in-group bias
the tendency to judge the behavior of in-group members favorably and out-group members unfavorably (we succeeded because we worked hard, they succeeded because they lucked out. We failed because of circumstances beyond our control, they failed because they’re stupid)
heterogeneous, or varied
as a member of an in-group how do you view other group members?
the belief that one’s own culture or ethnic group is superior to all others and the related tendency to use one’s own culture as a standard by which to judge other cultures
cognitive basis for prejudicial attitudes
in combination, stereotypes and in-group/out-group bias form the….
hatred, contempt, fear, loathing
emotions associated with predjudice
behaviorally, predjudice can be displayed in some form of….
competing for scarce resources or during times of social change
predjudice and in-group hostility increase when different groups are
implicit attitudes
preferences and biases toward particular groups that are automatic, spontaneous, unintentional, and often unconscious; measured with the Implicit Associations Test (IAT)
computer-based test that measures the degree to which you associate particular groups of people with specific characteristics or attributes (age IAT – people at different ages and “good” or “bad” words, Race-Weapons IAT – black or white face with weapons oor harmless objects)
having the boys go to the movies together or eat in the same dining hall did not mitigate hostility. They had to cooperate to achieve a common goal
what Muzafer Sherif found in the Robbers cave experiment
jigsaw classroom technique
at a newly integrated elementary school – have children in small, ethnically diverse groups to work on a mutual project. Each student has a unique contribution to make toward the success of the group
when you adjust your opinions, judgment, or behavior so that it matches other people, or the norms of a social group or situation
line judgment task – conformity studies
Solomon Asch used this study to find out “would people still conform to the group if the group opinion was clearly wrong?”
percentage of Asch’s subjects who conformed with the group judgment on at least one of the critical trials
the subjects in Asch’s experiments followed the majority and gave the wrong answer in_____% of the trials
in what fraction of the trials did the subjects stick to their guns and give the correct answer, despite being the minority in Asch’s experiments?
– our desire to be liked and accepted by the group (normative social influence)
– our desire to be right (informational social influence)
Why do we sometimes find ourselves conforming to the larger group?
normative social influence
behavior that is motivated by the desire to gain social acceptance and approval
informational social influence
behavior that is motivated by the desire to be correct
factors that promote conformity
– you’re facing a unanimous group of at least 4-5 ppl
– you must give your response in front of a group
– you haven’t already expressed commitment to a different idea or opinion
– you find the task to be ambiguous or difficult
– you doubt your abilities or knowledge of a situation
– you are strongly attracted to a group and want to be a member of it
having an ally (any dissent increases resistance, even if the other person’s dissenting opinion is wrong)
some factors that decreased conformity
the performance of a behavior in response to a direct command
Objective question of Stanley Milgram experiments
Could a person be pressured by others into committing an immoral act, some action that violated his or her own conscience, such as hurting a stranger?
“the experiment requires that you continue”
“You have no choice, you must continue”
If the teacher in the Milgram experiments protested that he wished to stop or that he was worried about the learner’s safety, how would the experimenter respond?
when the teacher refused to obey the experimenter’s orders to continue
once the teacher had progressed all the way to the maximum shock level of 450 volts
in the Milgram experiments, when woud it stop?
all of the subjects would refuse to obey at some point, most at 150 volts, a few rare individuals would go to 300 volts, none would go to 450 volts
prediction of Milgram experiment results
2/3 were fully compliant and went to 450 volts
none stopped before 300 volts
results of Milgram shock experiments
identical results
results of Milgram studies with just women
– previously well-established mental framework to obey (arrived with expectation to follow directions, got paid)
– situation or context in which obedience occurred (believed the research was worthwhile, didn’t want to be rude)
– gradual, repetitive escalation of the task (could justify using such low levels of shock for science)
– experimenter’s behavior and reassurances (experimenter claimed responsibility, must be appropriate if he approved of it)
– physical and psychological seperation from the learner (learner was in a seperate room and not visible, punishment was depersonalized: learner’s pleas were directed at experimenter)
some of the forces that influenced subjects to continue obeying the experimenter’s orders
when the buffers that seperated the teacher from the learner were lessened or removed (same room)
what decreased the willingness to obey in Milgram experiments?
95% did not venture beyond 150 volts
results of Milgram experiment when teachers were allowed to act as their own authority and freely choose shock level
despite the fact that he made it easier for participants to leave the experiment, the level of obedience was only slightly lower than that found in the original research
results of Burger partial replication of Milgram experiment
the alienation and depersonalization of life in a big city (according to the vitnesses)
the occurrence of the Kitty Genovese murder was representative of…
helping another person with no expectation of personal reward or benefit
prosocial behavior
any behavior that helps another whether the underlying motive is self-serving or selfless
– the “feel good, do good effect”
– feeling guilty
– seeing others who are willing to help
– perceiving the other person as deserving help
– knowing how to help
– a personalized relationship
– presence of other people (more likely to help when alone)
factors that can increase the likelihood of helping behavior:
bystander effect
a phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely each individual is to help someone in distress
diffusion of responsibility
a phenomenon in which the presence of other people makes it less likely that any individual will help someone in distress because the obligation to intervene is shared among all the onlookers
– diffusion of responsibility
– each of us is motivated to some extent by the desire to behave in a socially acceptable way (lack of intervention signaled that interventioin was not needed)
– being in a big city
– vague or ambiguous situations
– when the personal costs for helping outweigh the benefits
reasons for the bystander effect: