Class Notes (809,749)
Canada (493,782)
Psychology (3,457)
PSY220H1 (190)

PSY220 Lecture 2

20 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

Social psychology: “The scientific study of the reciprocal influence of the individual and his or her social environment.”  The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Psychology Beliefs Feelings Behaviour Other People Attitudes (and their thoughts Emotions feeling, attitudes and behavior are influenced) Social psychology: A foothold in abstract theory and concrete practice - Interested in abstract factors as well as influencing others lives Social psychology is not like chemistry or physics: We traffic in probabilities, likelihood, and correlations, rather than absolute laws. Despite the enormous variability of human behaviour, it is possible to extract some basic patterns of human behaviour. What does social psychology have to say that my grandmother couldn’t tell me? - value) psychology focuses on probabilities (something that is true to degree to statistical - Better understanding on how our minds work and how they fit into reality Intuitions must be tested against empirical data Sometimes even our grandma’s intuitions are wrong! (i.e. not supported by data) Plus…sometimes two opposing clichés may seem equally intuitive: You are working on a task (rolling cigars in a Cuban cigar factory) with 20 other people. The owners expand the factory so that now 100 people are all rolling cigars side-by-side. Will this make a difference in your individual cigar output? On the one hand, you might think…more people, more competition, more impetus to perform better. On the other hand, you might think…more people, more anonymity, easier for me to “coast” (perform worse). (On the third hand…it doesn’t make a difference.) Each of these options seems plausible to people. (For the “real” answer: stay tuned…coming later!) - Engaging in safe aggressive activities (sports) will reduce your level of aggression - Blowing off steam does nothing or in fact creates more aggression SOCIAL FACILITATION What is the difference between working in the presence of others (an audience) vs. working alone? “The crowd brings out the best in me. The bigger the crowd, the better I play.” vs. “choking” under intense scrutiny of large audience (Rick Ankiel?) Triplett (1897): Tried his own experiment: Got 40 children to wind up fishing reels, sometimes alone, sometimes side-by-side with others. Which group reeled faster (alone vs. with others)? - Those who were side by side were more efficient Zajonc: The presence of others increases arousal (which is something that is physiologically measurable, i.e. heart- - blending in new features of physiology Arousal energizes you and facilitates the dominant response (the behavior that comes most quickly and easily given a particular stimulus). Arousal activates the thoughts and motor responses that are the most practiced. On a well-learned task (reciting the alphabet/your birthday), the dominant response is the correct response. On a poorly-learned task (naming state capitols/your mother-in-law’s birthday), the dominant response is likely to be incorrect. - Arousal leads to a decrease in performance THEREFORE: an audience should improve your performance on tasks that are easy for you and hamper your performance on - facilitation: can mean improvement or a decline, refers to the enhancing properties of dominant response, which in turn can be correct or incorrect THE “COCKROACH” EXPERIMENT The easy maze The “hard” maze - Social element: glass walls, with other cockroaches or not cockroaches (audience or non) o Found the same effect, faster when there was a audience - The members of your own species leads to a facilitated response position judge your performancetrell, enhanced only if the presence of the people are in - social facilitation was stronger in the condition when the individual in position to judge you in not blind folded changes some arousal elementsl Baron: distraction removes some of our attention, which in turns - non human distracters: can impair performance on difficult tasks but improve performance on easy tasks COMPARISON OF SOCIAL FACILITATION THEORIES: Zajonc Cottrell Baron Is it social? YES YES NO Is mere presence YES NO NO sufficient? Like most social psych work, different theories work better in different conditions. Current, ongoing work looks at isolating these conditions. SOCIAL LOAFING Q: When does the presence of others cause us to relax, rather than get aroused? A: When efforts are pooled (assembly lines, juries, orchestras), and the performance of any one individual is difficult or impossible for observers to determine. Ringelmann: horses, machines, people # people pulling rope:32 8 amount of force equivalent to: 2 2.5 4 “The whole is less than the sum of the parts.” - according to Zajonc this should actually improve the amount of force How does social loafing occur? Initially, two possible explanations: (a) groups less coordinated (more interference – nothing to do with individual effort) (b) people try less hard in groups (motivational explanation) Latane: Told subject either that they were alone or that they were part of a team, but their teammates were all in separate rooms. (Why separate rooms?) There actually were no teammates. Their task: To scream and yell and make as much noise as possible! (Dependent variable: decibel level) Results: Alone – 100% (supposedly) 1 other person- 82% (supposedly) 5 other people- 74% - No way of interfering physically - Social loafing due to social motivations What reduces loafing? (Latane and colleagues over numerous experiments): 1. Identifiability: the extent to which each individuals output is identifiable 2. importance of task 3. own efforts necessary for successful outcome 4. threat of punishment for poor performance 5. small group : less social loafing in smaller groups compare to larger ones 6. group cohesiveness *sometimes doing a collective tasks in a group improves social tasks Karau & Williams-collective effort model: Big tradeoff: Effort is fatiguing, but success is desired. People seek to optimize the ratio between their input and the groups output (i.e. people not entirely lazy and not entirely concerned with top performance – seek optimal balance). - When performing a collective task as a group (knowing other group members will taskorm badly) you will excel in your part to balance out or try to improve the overall - Stereotyping: knowing your partner will do poorly you will enhance your own performance level (social compensation) GROUP DECISION MAKING Who makes riskier decisions: an individual or a group? - most peoples intuition are more conservative - group decisions are often riskier than individuals ones Stoner (1961): “risky shift”…BUT: later evidence suggested the opposite. Group polarization effect: Group discussion amplifies initial group inclination, whether risky or conservative. What creates group polarization (Moscovici)? 1. Greater number of arguments in favor of one position. 2. Informational influence may solidify ideas that used to be vague. - Other people validate the same idea of an individual making ir more solidified 3. Social categorization: Clear boundaries drawn between - “us versus them” situation Groupthink: an excessive tendency to seek agreement among group members. Need for agreement takes over the need for accuracy Janis (1982): Groupthink likely when: 1. members have similar backgrounds 2. isolated 3. strong leader 4. lacking systematic decision-making procedures 5. high stress Eight symptoms: 1.illusion of invulnerability :nothing bad can happen 2.collective efforts to rationalize 3. unquestioned belief in group’s inherent morality 4. stereotyped view of enemy leaders as weak or stupid 5. direct pressure on dissenters to comply with the group 6. self-censorship of deviations from group consensus 7. shared illusions of unanimity (“pluralistic ignorance”!) 8. emergence of self-appointed “mind guards” to screen the group from adverse information So… how should one combat groupthink? - Transparency, bringing in outsiders (experts), devils advocate (arguing the opposite), reality check, settin
More Less

Related notes for PSY220H1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.