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Lecture 3

PSY435H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Superorganism, Overfishing, Social Capital

Course Code
Dan Dolderman

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Env Psych – Lec 3
- Today’s topic: depressing as hell!!!!!
o Setting the stage, building the frame for the realistic problems for sustainability
o If you don’t grasp this frame, you’re basically wasting your time
- Recall last class: social marketing
o Things are getting really bad, people don’t like bad things, the badder the stuff the more people won’t engage
- One of the things that’s going on is helping env advocates to address the psychological resistance
o First we are going to talk about the challenges associated with this
- Nicholas Christakis: The Hidden Influence
o 15yo ago, speaker was a doctor
o Widower effect
Dying with a broken heart
If speaker dies, women has higher chance of dying
o Speaker was taking care of a patient with “memory loss”
Those that were taking care of the patient were drained, exhausted and depressed
o One of the kin of the patient called doctor and how he was suffering from the pain caused by friend
Tells you that the widower effect is not restricted to husbands/wives
It was not restricted to pairs of people
o Pairs of people
These people are connected with other relationships and pairings
These connections were vast, we are embedded in these social networks and they are related to us in
some sort of way
o Social networks
Intricate things of beauty
Why are we embedded in social networks? How do they form?
o Obesity
Was it epidemic?
Every dot = person, bigger dots = bigger people
If BMI = 30 (obese) = yellow
There is clusters of people that are obese
How much clustering is there? How big/how far do they reach? What causes the clusters?
If your friends are obese, your chances of obesity is higher
Friends > friends > friends... there is a relationship between their body size and YOUR body size
o This is induction (if your friends are obese, your chances of obesity is higher)
o Homofoly: Birds flock together, fly together (e.g. same body size)
o Confounding: we share a common environment together
o Can we visualize the spread of obesity?
The network structure is always changing all the time (obesity is not a static cause, it is not a one-point
event)… friending/defriending, marrying/divorce…..
o This things that change within time
It has a memory
It grows/dies
It has a resilience that can maintain to occur across time
o When we have emotions, you show them. Why do we show our emotions?
People read them and copy them
This function of emotions, they are the primitive form of communication
Someone smiles at you > you smile back
o If you imagine social network as endless connection fabric, it has patches (happy/sad) depends on whether you get
on the happy patch
It is encoded in our genes
o Transitivity of Networks
Involves different number of friends even though you have the same number of friends
Friends can be similar or different
46% of the variation in your friends is explained by genes
Some born shy, other extroverted
Whether friends know each other is dependent on your genes (you introduce your friends to your friends)
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