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PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Social Comparison Theory, Reference Group

Course Code
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

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PSYCH 215 Lecture Nov 23
Social Roles (PART 2)
Role Change
o Changing role of women and men because if women change men
impacted immediately
o One way role changes is from within a group- slow process and
eventually a role can change, if the role of student changes so does
professor, role surrounding must change to adjust
o Role change is thus not easy or frequent, for example one group that
talks frequently about role change- nurses, we are health
professionals part of a team, don’t just want to be a counterpart of
o Difficult change- can’t just talk to doctors about no autonomy, doctor
would cling to script, especially part that does well for them, won’t
change role to suit yours- true of society
Whether inside a family or inside big institution, not easy to change-
o Ex. Prof did psycho therapy in drug addiction centre, struck by
whenever client changed dramatically, off drugs no relapse, problems
within family- spouse would come in saying its getting desperate, my
husband needs help
o 2 months later he’s dry- spouse is a mess, that family is a role system,
the guy has played the role of the drunk, created bad vibrations and
uncertainty, embarrassment- when he gets better, she is not rejoicing,
she is uptight and stressed- doesn’t know where she fits in- “I’m not
needed anymore” no identity, role has been changed
o Can’t do therapy with one person, playing with small role system-
affects everyone
o Ex. Wife goes on jenny Craig, goes from 24 to a 6- guy will not be
happy, role changes
o Ex. People who win the lotto- someone wins 5 million dollars, not
happy because role changes, can’t even figure out who real friends
are, 100s of new friends, long lost brothers ect. All the usual ways you
operate with people are gone, why keep job? Role is shot.
o Roles dictate our every move, powerful influence on behavior, difficult
to change
o Role systems there for a purpose, fit and give us scripts, can’t just
simply change
Reference Groups
o Groups that we refer to: tennis club, academic club
o Groups you belong to also reference group, membership as well
o Doesn’t necessarily have to be that way
o I might belong to this group but reference group is a different group:
whenever I want to seek information I look only at reference group
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