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Lecture 10

PS102 Lecture 10, 11, 12, & 13 Chp 8

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Carolyn Ensley

Lecture 10, 11, 12 & 13 Chapter 8 2/12/2013 11:36:00 AM Chapter 8: behaviour is Social and Cultural Context Psychosocial?  Mohammed Atta was described as religion and concerned with social justice o Helped carry out 9/11  Hutu nuns helped with Tutsi genocide in Rwanda  Eichmann who was a high ranking Nazi claimed he was “not a monster:  All were likely influences b social factors.  Social and cultural psychology attempt to explain what social and cultural issues can influence behaviour. Roles and Rules:  Norms: o Rules that regulate social life, including explicit laws and implicit conventions.  Role: o A given social position that is governed by a set of norms for proper behaviour.  Social roles shaped by culture.  Norms can influence roles Norms:  Law: you cant beat up other people except in self defense. o Social understanding: self defense includes defending ones honor in some cases. o Implicit understanding: don’t sing in public.  People are more likely to break norms if they see other people doing so. o Broke rules in dirty street with graffiti.  People are more likely to follow rules if they see others doing it . o Towel recycling study; more people reused when they saw a sign that said “more than 50% of people reuse towels.” Culture and Roles:  Culture: o A program of shared rules that govern the behavior of people in a community or society. o A set of values, beliefs, and customs shared by most members of that community.  E.g. cultural differences in conversational distance. Norms of conformity:  People tend to conform o We NEED to obey rules, we couldn’t function as a group without them  People tend to use their cultural norms where ever they are.  What makes people conform and obey?  Stanley Milgram wanted to know and create a famous set of experiments to study it. The Obedience Study:  Milgram designed series of studies to test whether people would obey an authority figure when directly ordered to violate their ethical standards o Learner  Confederate o Teacher  Participant o Experimenter  Authority figure o Task involved teacher giving “electric shock” to learner when incorrectly answered word pair questions.  Milgram ground that most people were far more obedient than anyone expected. o Every single participant administered some shock to the learner when told to do so. o 2/3 of participants shocked the learner to the maximum level (labeled 450V or XXX)  Recent research has replicated these results even when easier for participants to disobey. Factors Leading to Disobedience:  When the experimenter left the room.  When the victim was right there in the room.  When two experimenters issued conflicting demands.  When the person ordering them to continue was an ordinary man.  When the participant worked with peers who refused to go further Evaluating the Obedience study:  Milgram concluded: o Obedience is a function of the situation.  Participants see themselves as instruments to effect the wishes of person in authority.  Critics question both the ethics and validity of Milgram’s study.  Raised the ethical questions regarding the use of deception in study.  Ethical concern over emotional pain experiences by participants.  Influence of the situation over personality traits questioned by some.  Linked to actions in Nazi Germany and prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib in Bagdad. The Prison Study:  Zimbardo and Haney designed classic Stanford Prison Study: o Male university students randomly assigned to be prisoners or guards. o Prisoner role—associated with distress, helplessness, apathy, rebellion, and panic. o Guard role—some were nice, others “tough but fair”, but a third of guards became punitive and harsh.  Powerful demonstration of how the social situation affects behaviour. Why people obey:  Allocating responsibility to the authority.  Routinizing the task  Wanting to be polite  Entrapment: o Gradual process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of actions to justify their investment of time, money or effort (used by cults) Entrapment:  First few steps are easy  Gradually get to a point where you have done something you didn’t want to  Continue to justify doing what you didn’t want to do! o Listen to torture, watch torture, do torture. o May not have “wanted” to do it to start but once you’ve done it you have to justify it. Social Influences on Beliefs:  Social cognition: o An area in social psychology concerned with social influences on though, memory, perception, and beliefs  Current approaches draw on evolutionary theory, neuroimaging, surveys and experiments. Attribution:  Attribution theory: o Argues that people are motivated to explain their own and other peoples behaviour by attribution causes of that behaviour to a situation or a disposition.  Situational attribution:  Something in the situation or environment caused the behaviour.  Dispositional attribution:  Something in the person (e.g., traits, or motive) caused the behaviour.  Fundamental Attribution Error: o The tendency, in explaining other people’s behaviour, to overestimate personality factors and underestimate the influence of the situation. o More prevalent in Western vs. Eastern cultures. Biases in explaining our behaviour:  Self-serving bias: o The tendency, in explaining ones own behaviour, to take credit for good actions and rationalize mistakes.  Group-serving bias: o The tendency to explain favourably the behaviours of members of groups to which we belong (few people think they were part of the “bad guys” in a war)  Just-world hypothesis: o Notion that people need to believe the world is fair and justice is served; bas people are punished and good people are rewarded. o When assumption called into question, people may engage in attributions involving blaming the victim. The Impact of Attributions:  What attribution you make to a situation has a big impact. o Happy couples attribute negative behaviour to the situation. o Unhappy couples attribute negative behaviour to the person.  The attribute that is made determines how well people get along. Attitude:  Attitudes are beliefs about people, groups, ideas or activities. o Explicit attitude:  An attitude that we are aware of, that shapes our conscious decisions and actions, and that can be measured on questionnaires. o Implicit attitude:  An attitude that we are unaware of, that may influence our behaviour in ways we do not recognize, and that is measured in various indirect ways. Implicit Association Test:  IAT  Tests show you some of your implicit beliefs o Not conscious of them o May be the result of conditioning o Associating some groups with negative words of images from the media.  Attitude Change:  Attitudes may change with new experiences and information, but also because of need for consistency. o Cognitive dissonance:  State of tension that occurs when a person simultaneously holds two cognitions that are inconsistent; or when beliefs are incongruent with behaviour. o Resolve by changing attitude or behaviour.  E.g. celebrity does something you find morally objectionable; you change your attitude about the celebrity or your attitude about morality. Shifting Opinions:  Attitudes and beliefs vulnerable to social influence: o Familiarity effect:  When people feel more positive toward a person, item, or produce the more familiar they are with it. o Validity effect:  When people believe a statement is true of valid simply because it has been repeated many times. Attitudes and Advertising:  Advertisers want you to shift your attitude towards wanting their products.  Think about commercials. o Get you familiar with a product. o Get you to associate products with positive things  Familiarity effect. o Repeat the commercial over and over.  Validity effect.  Think about court cases. o Lawyers try to shift the jury’s attitude about the defendant. Do Genes Influence Attitudes?:  Attitude are combination of learning, experience, and genetics. o Religion affiliation (the religion chosen) is not heritable; religiosity (the depth of religious feeling) has a genetic component. o Political affiliation is not heritable; political conservatism is highly heritable. What does that mean?  The variability in openness to new experience and conscientiousness is related to variability in genes. o This is linked to religion and politics. o Less open tend to be more fundamentalist. o More conscientious tend to be more conservative politically. What this does NOT mean:  Religious affiliation is not heritable. o People choose a religious affiliation because of their parents or social class etc. o Many people switch. o This isn’t heritable.  BUT twins reared apart are similar in their religiosity. Do genes influence attitudes?  Identical twin studies suggest that while genetics accounts for some attitudes, most result from “nonshared environment” o Unique life experiences. Persuasion or “Brainwashing”?  Brainwashing implies a person who is unaware of why they change their minds.  Is actually coercive persuasion: o Designed to suppress an individuals ability to reason, think critically, and make choices in his or her own best interests.  Coercive persuasion occurs when: o The person is subjected to entrapment  Criminal behaviour or money spent etc. o The persons problems are reduced to one simple attribution, which is repeatedly emphasized. o The person is offered a new identity and is promised salvation o The persons access to disconfirming (dissonant) information is severely controlled.  Key is to dispel peoples illusions of invulnerability to coercive persuasion tactics. Individuals in Groups:  Need to belong is a powerful motivation. o Social pain often worse than physical pain. o Solitary confinement is internationally considered torture.  Social rejection ensures group members cooperation o When in a group we often behave differently than we would on our own. Group behaviour and Conformity:  Decisions we make in groups depend more on group structure and dynamics compared to personal factors.  Conformity involved taking action or adopting attitudes as a result of real or imagines group pressure. o E.g. Asch’s line studies. o Related to both social normal and culture. Groupthink:  Groupthink is a tendency for all members of a group to think alike for the sake of harmony and to suppress disagreement  Symptoms of groupthink: o An illusion of invulnerability o Self-censorship o Pressure on dissenters to conform o An illusion of unanimity. Problems with Groupthink:  Probably responsible for both shuttle disasters o In 1986 NASA was warned Challenger was unsafe, launches, and seven lives were lost. o Same thing happened in 2002.  NASA was an agency with a lot of public respect (perhaps a false sense of “genius”) and where dissenters were ridiculed. Reducing Groupthink:  Do this yourself.  Leaders need to reward dissenters  Encourage a group to come up with alternate approaches to a problem  Create a group identity based around individuals  Get group members to believe in the greater good… more likely to dissent to protect the group. The Anonymous Crowd:  Diffusion of responsibility: o In groups, the tendency of members to avoid taking action because they assume others will. o Bystander apathy:  In crowds, individuals failure to take action or call for help because they assume someone else will do o. (e.g. Kitty Genovese) o Social loafing:  In work groups, here each member of a team slows down, letting others work harder. Deindividuation:  Deindividuation: o In groups or crowds, the loss of awareness of one’s own individuality  Factors of influencing deindividuation: o Size of the city or group; wearing uniforms or masks.  Influences conforming to the norm of the specific situation, not overall mindlessness o Implications for sense of responsibility for behaviour. Altruism and Dissent:  Altruism: o The willingness to take selfless or dangerous action of behalf of others o Includes disobeying orders believed to be wrong or going agains
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