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Jason Plaks

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Psy220 May 16 Social psychologyThe scientific study of the reciprocal influence of the individual and his or her social environment The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social PsychologyBeliefs Feelings behavior other people and their thoughts feelings Attitudes attitudes and emotions Emotions Beliefs feelings attitudes and emotions funnel into behavior behavior is easier to see than the previous thingsthese go on to being seen by other people Social psychologyA foothold in abstract theory and concrete practicegreat concern in helping people in their daily lives Social psychology is not like chemistry or physics we traffic in probabilities likelihood and correlations rather than absolute lawsway more complicated no concrete rules in human behaviornot true for all people all the time true to a degree that is statistically reliable Despite the enormous variability of human behavior it is possible to extract some basic patterns of human behavior What does social psychology have to say that my grandmother couldnt tell meIntuitions must be tested against empirical data the need to verify common sensemany findings are actually counterintuitive catharsis idea is usually wrongmay lead to increase in aggressive behavior counterintuitive Sometimes people cannot be relied upon for giving sincere answersneed indirect more behavioral methods to get at ways people are thinking Plus sometimes two opposing clichs may seem equally intuitive oyou are working on a task rolling cigars in a Cuban cigar factory with 20 other peopleothe 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 oOn the one hand you might thinkmore people more competition more impetus to perform betteroOn the other hand you might thinkmore people more anonymity easier for me to coast perform worseoOn the third handit doesnt make a differenceEach of these options seems plausible to peopleSOCIAL FACILITATIONWhat is the difference between working in the presence of others an audience vs working aloneOpposing thoughts oThe crowd brings out the best in meThe bigger the crowd the better I play vs choking under intense scrutiny of large audience Rick AnkielTriplett 1897Tried his own experimentoGot 40 children to wind up fishing reels sometimes alone sometimes sidebyside with othersdependent variablecm of fishing line oWhich group reeled faster alone vs with othersSide by sideZajoncThe presence of others increases arousal which is something that is physiologically measurable ie heartrate sweating palms etcoArousal energizes you and facilitates the dominant response the behavior that comes most quickly and easily given a particular stimulusArousal activates the thoughts and motor responses that are the most practicedoOn a welllearned task reciting the alphabetyour birthday the dominant response is the correct responseOn a poorlylearned task naming state capitolsyour motherinlaws birthday the dominant response is likely to be incorrect THEREFOREoan audience should improve your performance on tasks that are easy for you and hamper your performance on tasks that are more difficultTHE COCKROACH EXPERIMENTThe easy mazeThe hard mazeoZajonc also argued that social facilitation is present on nonhumansoHad to go down an easy vs hard maze to get food oThe wall of the maze was transparent windowsother cockroaches were placed outside the walls for half the cockroaches oThe presence of other cockroaches lead to better performance on the easy maze but a decrease in the hard maze Cottrell evaluation apprehension oArgued that performance is enhancedimpaired by others only if they are in a position to evaluate your performancepotential for evaluation is necessary mere exposure isnt sufficient Schmit 1986 ohad subjects type their names easily or backwards hard oDid it either alone or with mere exposure person blindfoldeddeafened headphonesnot in a position to evaluate your typing oPerformance times were faster for the simple task in the mere presence conditionhaving a blinddeaf person lead to social facilitationevidence against Cottrell and for Zajonc Barondistraction conflict theory
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