Social Psychology AP Psychology
What is Social Psychology? • Social Psychology • How other people, groups, and cultures shaped our perceptions • Examples: • 1. Why do people become and stay friends? • 2. How can a boss keep his workers happy? • 3. Why does violence occur? • 4. Why would people follow unjust rule?
Group Dynamics • Humans have a basic drive to form social bonds with others. • Social group – two or more individuals sharing common goals and interests, interacting, and influencing each other’s behavior. • Norms – Implicit or explicit rules that apply to all members of the group and govern acceptable behaviors and attitudes
Social Roles: • Role • set of expectations about a social position • defines how those in the position ought to behave • The Power of the Situation: The Stanford Prison Experiment • Didn’t the guard, prisoners, and warden all fall into their respective roles? Why? • Can something like the placebo effect cause us to fall into certain stereotypical roles?
Working in Groups: • You will undoubtedly work in groups throughout your entire life. • Social loafing – members of group realize that others will complete the task (combat this by offering individual evaluations)
Why Does Social Loafing Happen? • 1. People acting as a part of a group feel less accountable, so they worry less about what others think of them. • 2. They may not believe that their contribution makes a difference. • 3. Motivation matters! – those with lower motivational levels know that someone will pick up the slack (in a group)
Deindividuation: • Deindividuation: The process of losing ones’ “identity” while in a group. (usually occurs when there is a heightened sense of arousal) • Example: Gang members wear similar outfits and act in similar ways that are appropriate to their gang. • Where does this happen? • 1. Sporting contests - fighting • 2. Church • 3. Rock concerts • 4. Protests - chanting • 5. Riots and Looting after natural disasters (Haiti)
Bystander Intervention: • When in trouble, we’ve been taught to go to crowded places. • Kitty Genovese • Diffusion of Responsibility (bystander effect) – the sense of personal responsibility reduces when more people are present.
Altruism: • Bystanders don’t always diffuse responsibility • Altruism - a “hero” will emerge and fight off attackers or help a person in need. • Researchers debate whether there is an inborn trait of altruism or if it may be reward based.
Social Facilitation: • Social Facilitation: The presence of others sometimes helps or hurts performance. • We perform better when we are doing an already learned task in front of others. • We perform worse when we are doing a new task in front of others. (social impairment) • Point to remember: What you do well, you are likely to do even better in front of an audience. (especially a friendly audience)
Group Think: • Groupthink: When the desire for harmony replaces realistic judgment. • Example: When a group has to make a decision and no one stands up opposing the decision, then the group feels it is a unanimous decision. (even though it may not be) – Bay of Pigs • Group Polarization – When in a group of like minded people, decisions are often more extreme than if made individually. • Minority Influence – a lone dissenter holds on their opinion and ends up convincing others of their opinion.
Attribution Process: • Theorists believe that each of us is an amateur scientist engaged in trying to figure out why people act the way that they do. • Social Cognition – refers to the way people gather, use, and interpret information about their social aspects of the world around them.
Social Thinking • Attribution Theory • tendency to give an explanation for someone’s behavior, often by crediting either the situation or the person’s traits. • Dispositional attributions – hold an individual responsible for his or her behavior. • Situational attributions – look at factors in the environment to explain why someone acted the way that he/she does.
Evaluating Behavior: • Self serving bias – we attribute our achievements and successes to personal causes and our failures to situational factors. (group projects) • Fundamental Attribution Error • tendency for observers, when analyzing another’s behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal traits
Social Roots of Prejudice: • Some people have money, power, and prestige – others do not. • This creates a “have” and “have not” world. • The Just World Phenomenon: The tendency for people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get.
How Does This Work? • “Slave owners developed attitudes that “justified” slavery. They perceived the people they enslaved as innately lazy, ignorant, and irresponsible.” (Hoffman & Hurst, 1990) • Do you think that over time, the slaves bought into this? • So…Prejudice rationalizes inequalities.
Us and Them: • We have inherited our ancestors’ need to belong, to live and love in groups. • We cheer for them, kill for them, and die for them. • Ingroup • “Us”- people with whom one shares a common identity • Outgroup • “Them”- those perceived as different or apart from one’s ingroup
How Does This Work? • Facing fear and terror (such as from the 9/11 attacks), patriotism heightens and produces anger and aggression towards “them.” – those who threaten our world. • Scapegoat theory: When things go wrong, finding someone else to blame can provide an outlet for anger.
Prejudice and Stereotyping: • Prejudice: An unjustifiable, and usually negative attitude towards a group and it’s members. • Stereotype: a generalized (sometimes accurate, but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people
Causes of Conflict: • Ethnocentrism – belief that our culture is superior to others. • Out-group homogeneity – tendency to believe all members of another group are more similar than is true (Hitler and the Jews)
Increasing Cooperation: • Contact Theory – Equal status contact between opposing groups should lower tension and increase harmony. (Sherif study) • Sherif showed that teamwork increased because of a super ordinate goal (emergency situation that requires joint cooperation)
Ethnocentrism is the belief that: • Ethnic foods are all good • Human diversity is a positive force • One’s own culture is superior to others • Other people are all pretty much alike in their opinions • Cultural pluralism is a destructive goal that fosters conflict
You read in the newspaper that survivors in a plane accident in the Andes were discovered to have eaten other survivors during their 32-day ordeal. You will have committed the fundamental attribution error if you: • Attribute the behavior to dispositional (personal) factors • Attribute the behavior to situational factors • Think you would have done the same thing if you had been there • Consider the behavior as a signal for the moral degradation of our society • Decide never to fly in a plane again
Of the following, which would be a good example of a self-serving bias: • Carlos, who feels that everyone should strive to help themselves as well as others • Antoine, who says that he has bombed a test even though he always gets an A • Mai, who works harder for teachers who compliment her on her efforts • Lina, who overestimates the degree to which people agree with her opinions • Betty, who believes that she works harder than others and is under-appreciated
Key terms: • Normative Social Influence • influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval • Conformity • adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard
Other Terms: • Chameleon effect: People will naturally (unconsciously) mimic others’ expressions, postures, and movements. • Laughing • Coughing • Yawning • Why do we do this? • It helps us to feel what others feel (empathize) • The more we mimic, the more people like us (people like people like them) (conformity)
Solomon Asch: Conformity Experiment • In 1955 Asch conducted a simple experiment to assess conformity.
What this show us.. • Experimentation reveals that we are more likely to conform when: • 1. We are made to feel incompetent or insecure • 2. We are in a group of at least three people • 3. We are in a group in which everyone agrees. NOTE: If just ONE other person disagrees, the odds that we also will disagree greatly increase. • 4. We admire the group’s status and attractiveness • 5. We have not already committed ourselves to any response • 6. We know that others in the group will observe our behavior.
Discussion: Is conformity good? • What do you think? • Positive: If people conform to what we want we may consider them as being “open minded” • Negative: If they don’t conform to what we want we scorn their inability to “give in” • So….how do individualistic and collectivists cultures handle conformity differently?
Stanley Milgram: Obedience • Stanley Milgram (Yale) was a student of Solomon Asch’s and wanted to continue studying conformity and obedience. • In 1974 he set up a lab to assess how obedient subjects would be when asked to physically harm another human being. • Obedience: Adjusting our behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
What have we learned from the research on obedience? • Obedience is highest when: • 1. The person giving the orders was close at hand and was perceived as being a legitimate authority figure. • 2. The authority figure was supported by a respected, well known institution. • 3. The victim was at a distance (killing) • 4. There were no role models for defiance (no one stood up to the researcher)
Types of Power: • Coercive Power: The power to punish (parents placing their kids in time out) • Reward Power: The power to reward desirable behavior (boss giving bonuses) • Legitimate Power: The power granted by some authority. (police officer) • Expert Power: The power of knowledge (wise professor) • Referent Power: The power of respect or admiration (Looking up to certain people)
Lesson Four: Objectives • By the end of this lesson, I will be able to: • 1. Discuss attitude formation and change, including persuasion strategies and cognitive dissonance.
Attitudes: • Attitude – learned predispositions to respond in a favorable or unfavorable way to something • Many people claim to be honest citizens, yet lie, cheat, and steal • How do we change attitudes?
Social Thinking • Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon • tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request • Example: Sales • Reciprocity – your are more likely to help someone else out if they help you first.
Ways of Changing Attitudes: • The Elaboration Likelihood Model looks at two ways that attitudes can be changed. • 1. Central Route to Persuasion – person uses facts and figures to enable listeners to process information and think about their decisions. • 2. Peripheral Route to Persuasion – Superficial information is used to distract the audience to win favorable approval (pro athletes pitching a product)
Friendships and attitudes: • Proximity is the primary determinant of who will initially become friends. • We are also more likely to be attracted to somebody we see everyday • Mere-exposure effect – the more we come into contact with someone, the more likely we are to like that person.
Mixed Emotions: • Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Relief from tension (Leon Festinger) • we act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent • Example- when we become aware that our attitudes and our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes
Advertising and Attitudes • Advertising works well in changing attitudes and beliefs • People will often “trust” someone that is famous or even good looking more than someone who isn’t. • Millions of dollars a year are spent on advertising, especially to kids. • Some argue that advertising is a social issue (female portrayal of seduction and weakness)
Blaming the Victim • when the victim(s) of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive situation are held entirely or partially responsible for the actions committed against them (regardless of whether the victim actually had any responsibility for the incident).
Confirmation Bias • tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses