PS102 Lecture Notes - Solomon Asch, Fundamental Attribution Error, Social Influence

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Published on 4 Mar 2013
Chapter 8: Social Psychology
- How actual, imagined or implied presence of others influences our feelings, thoughts and
So what is New with Social Psychology?
- We are introducing others
Being in a Social World Impacts Our Thinking
Social Cognition
- What we use to interpret and understand social events
- Differs from other cognitive acts because of the social content
Cognition in a Social World
What do we learn from others?
- We use language to communicate feelings and social information to others
- Pass social information along through generations
Social Cognition
- Some say our notion of what is real --- physical reality--- is a construction of social knowledge
Can our Reality be Changed just by being in a social context?
- Yes!
Solomon Asch: Conformity Study
- 7 people, 6th is the only participant
- Agree on first 2 lines--- then disagree on 11 out of 15 thereafter
- - 5% conform all the time, 70% some of the time, 25% never
Social Conformity
- Uncomfortable when we have an understanding but social world contradicts out understanding
- Start to wonder about ourselves--- doubt
- Easier to conform in Ambiguous situations--- Social Comparison (
Cognitive consistency
- What happens when there is incongruity across internal events, experiences of beliefs?
- Cognitive Consistency--- minimize inconsistencies
Cognitive Dissonance
- End of the world story
- Reinterpret the situation--- to achieve consistency
- Beliefs
- Beliefs + emotion (e.g. Afghanistan)
- Beliefs no emotion (e.g., triangles)
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- Attitudes = Social views/ beliefs + emotion
- Overall, attitudes- stables, resilient
- Can be change
Changing Attitudes
- Persuasive communications
- Obvious, open communications
- Goal is to change attitudes
- When are persuasive communications effective?
Effective Persuasive Communications
- Source of message
- Content of the message
- Credibility- expert
- Trustworthiness : who has something to gain
- Central route to persuasionreasoned thought
- Peripheral route to persuasiondistracted, inattention, or unimportant issue-
- Explanations about what causes our own and other people’s behaviour and outcomes
- Answers questions like:
- “Why did she do that?”
- “That happens because…?”
Dispositional (Internal) Attributions
- People’s behaviour is caused by their personal characteristics
Situational (External) Attributions
- Aspects of situation cause behaviour
Fundamental Attribution Error
When explaining others’ behaviour, tend to:
- Underestimate impact of situational factors
- Overestimate role of personal factor
Actor- Observer Bias
- Under-rating situational factors only counts when we are assessing others
- Situational favored for self
Others= clumsy
We= slippery floor
Why situational for ourselves?
Cognitive explanation:
- Have more information about ourselves
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