Social Psychology Midterm Study. 30/01/2014
“ Man (human) is by nature a social animal” – Aristotle c.328 B.C.
Social Psychology is the study of
1. Social Thinking
2. Social Influence – being included in the group, the affect of it.
3. Social Relatedness There are some we don’t like, wee connect them on a deeper
What is Social Psychology?
The scientific study of human behavior.
The real or imagined influence on us of others,
What is Science?
Accuracy – Can accurately measure or study what they are measuring. (accurately
Objectivity – Personal Bias does not weigh on the result.
Skepticism you are willing to let go of beliefs or findings to follow others.
Scientific method is systematic, observation … ETC
Social Psychology developed at the end of the 19 century
Cyclists perform or cycle faster when around others rather than On their own.
Floyd Allport wrote an important book on the interaction of individuals in their social
World War II spiked an increase in the study of psychology,
NORMAN TRIPLETT ( BIKE) PIONEER OF PSYCH
“Know Thyself: Solon the Greek thinker,
Duology – Selfconcept or selfknowledge.
Self – Awareness
Three features of self (Baumeister, 1986)
1. Self includes the body
2. Self includes the social Identity
3. Self is the active agent.
This comes from What we are told by others
Self is a blank slate when we are born?
We have temperaments as a child / personality traits.
Perceived Self Knowledge
Is obtained from others opinion on you and is heavily filtered through biases from others
Politeness of others
Our lack of tendency to hear and process criticism.
Is it possible to have accurate understanding of self knowledge?
YES – autobiography writers.
(self concept is the most complete form of knowledge imaginable.
NO – psychoanalysts
• Introspection is one way of developing selfknowledge.
• The process of looking inward examining out thoughts and feelings
• Introspection has its limits
1. People don’t engage in introspection often
According to Taylor and brown
Good mental health includes several systematic distortions
1. We exaggerate on positive selfevaluation
2. We exaggerate perception of control
3. We have unrealistic optimism ( Someone else …not me)
* Caution: there is an optimal margin of illusion for health adjustment.
Self Across Culture
All rationality that is considered to make sense is limited by our knowledge.
We need to be aware of the relativist approach when it comes to studying the human
mind in regards to culture.
“Culture compromises the human made part of the environment and the social
institutions of the society such as rules, norms, expectations and laws.
(Herskovits, 1955) “
o Expectations as a student, daughter, child, adult, friend.
o The materialistic items within our society ex. The cars we drive, the
clothes we wear, the electronics we buy.
o You don’t see the influence of your culture on you until you leave it. (The
fish was the last to discover water) Culture is inside the head of its
o The values and norms that change from generation to generation are what
affect and influence culture to transform as well.
o Culture shapes our experiences. “ In some cultures I would be considered
normal” o From culture to culture norms and expectations change. In one you will be
normal. While in the next you are too feminine, Too intelligent etc..
o Ecology shapes culture.
o If in your culture you ‘ have to grow rice, you need the village to grow
rice. In a group mentality you cannot be courageous and single minded.
You need to look at ecological aspects (environment) of the cultures
foreground. As well as the needs of each member.
o Ecology > Culture > Social Behavior
o If we have such a vast ecology on our planet we must have varied cultures.
o There are universal behaviors and experiences…
o There are cultural differences in practicing social behaviors and
interpreting experiences. These ‘ common’ social behaviors such as
communication, varies from culture to culture. Ex Religion, food
o Survey: Do you think it is wrong to have a baby before you are marriage?
India (highest conservative belief ‘no’). U.S and Canada are in the middle
percentile. Iceland ( Lowest conservative belief/ most acceptance)
Humans are more similar to one another than we are different ( brown, 1991). We make
sure these differences are not just exterior. Our biases or our preferences.3
Which is wrong
a) Culture is the complex patterns of beliefs that are shared by people
b) ****Culture change happens rapidly ****
c) Culture is in the minds of people
d) Culture reflects itself in the institutions people have built.
Who Am I?
If we go from culture to culture what are the typical but different answers we would find?
Ex North American ( not personal) student
I like dogs
I believe in peace
I smoke stuff
I am a dreamer
I play guitar
Independent self / Interdependent self
In America “ The squeaky wheel gets the grease” (Standing out and being unique is a
In Japan “ The nail that stands out gets pounded down” (standing out and being unique
are discouraged. They must join the fold)
It is good to know the truth, but better to speak to the palm trees (Arab proverb)
Say what you mean and mean what you say ( American proverb) In some cultures (India) the cast system controls all interpersonal relationships. It is very
important to marry within your own cast. .
Self is autonomous vs. self is connected with others Self behaves primarily as a
consequence of internal attributes vs. behavior of an interdepenant self is contingent on
what the actor perceives to be the thoughts, feelings and actions of others
The independent selfgives rise to selfactualization vs. the interdependent self that gives
rise t fulfilling and creating obligations
Triandis (1989) Distinguished between three aspects of self…
Private (how one would think “I am romantic”)
Public (how people see you “ My parents say I am forgiving”)
Collective (social identity “ I am a musician”
Cultures vary in the emphasis they place on these aspects of the self.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Individualism and collectivism are two cultural orientations. (Hofstede, 2001)
We can define countries from their values and categorize them together.
U.S is the most individualistic society
Britain, Australia followed by Canada and Netherlands.
Guatemala is the most collectivist society we know.
Followed by; Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela.
Individualistic societies tend to describe themselves in terms of internal characteristics,
which make them unique
Collectivists are more likely to think of themselves in terms of their affiliation with
Cultures and nations are two different concepts.
Cultures influence each other
Cultures are heterogeneous
Cultures are in constant change, but the change happens gradually.
According to Hofstede 2001 at the top of two collectivistic societies are
a) Colombia and Iraq
b) Panama and Japan
c) ***Guatemala and Ecuador***
d) China and Indonesia
• A group referred to as the SLA kidnaps a girl by the name of Patricia Hearst from
her home. • The SLA promises to give her back to her family but Patricia writes a letter to her
family saying that although she had the option to be released, she chooses to stay
with the SLA as a “freedom fighter”
• Later, in San Francisco, she is caught on tape robbing a large bank with a machine
gun in hand
Is “Tanya” Patricia Hearst responsible for her actions?
• Her behaviour is primarily a function of situation ▯would she have committed the
crime if she was not abducted?
• Her behaviour is primarily a function of personal disposition ▯if she had a
stronger sense of personality, would she have stayed as part of the SLA?
• The jury gave her 35 years of prison, which was later reduced to 7 years, then 22
month ▯comes from a very wealthy family
• Today, she has a husband and two children
“No man [human] really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is suppose
that they are like himself.” –John Steinbeck “Of Mice and Men”
• We do not know what Patricia Hearst was going through
• We can only imagine what is like being kidnapped at 19 years old and taken to a
• We simply make attributions but other people’s behaviour
Logic of Attribution
• The attributional equation of the Lewinian equation: B= S+D
• Situation: we need to know something about the situation
• Disposition: personality
• So, did Patty Hearst have a disposition to rob the bank? ▯rearrange the equation:
• This model is how we make attribution
• Discounting principle: the observer should not conclude that a person has a
unique disposition to behave when the person does exactly what the situation
pushes him or her to do
• (i.e. the professor cannot tell much about your personality when you are in class
taking notes and focusing, just as you are “supposed” to do)
• A person has unique disposition when:
1) The person does the opposite of what the situation pushes him or her to
do (i.e. when somebody tries to pick a fight with you, and instead of fighting
back, you walk away ▯this suggests that you are a calm individual)
2) There is no situational push at all (i.e. no matter where you are, you are
chatty ▯this suggests that you are extremely extroverted)
Jones and Harris (1967) experiment: students were given a paper about
Castro (either for or against), and later were given the choice to write a paper about him. Another group of students were told to write a for/against paper
Both in free choice and no choice, the majority chose to write a pro Castro
This suggests that people still have the ability to look beyond what they are
given and make their own decisions based on their opinion
The Correspondence Bias
• Correspondence bias of fundamental attribution error:
• Tendency to correspond a person’s behavior to personal disposition when the
behavior can be attributed to the situation
• (i.e. when a waitress comes by and says, “What do you want?!”, you immediately
think that she is rude. Not many people think that her boss is a difficult person/