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PSYC 3310
Dan Meegan

Chapter 5 Automatic Thinking: a type of decision-making process that occurs at an unconscious or automatic level and is entirely effortless and unintentional. Heuristics: mental shortcuts that are often used to form judgments and make decisions. They are used in automatic thinking. Controlled (Effortful) Thinking: thinking that is effortful, conscious, and intentional. Can lead to more accurate judgments. Is used when we have the time and motivation to put forth the effort involved. (i.e. Choosing which university to go to) Social Cognition: how people think about the social world and in particular how people select, interpret, and use information to make judgments about the world. Heuristics: Intuition: a decision-making shortcut in which we rely on our instinct instead of relying on more objective information. i.e. Relying on job interviews to pick new employees because they believe in their ability to accurately judge someone rather then relying on test scores, education or prior experience. Availability: availability heuristic refers to the tendency to estimate the likelihood of an event based on how easily instances of it are “available” in memory, with events that come to mind more easily being seen as more likely or prevalent. i.e. Parents are more worried about their kids catching a well known virus like SARS or West Nile Virus and getting abducted by strangers rather then not reminding them to wear a helmet, not wearing a seatbelt, or drowning in a bathtub or pool. - This heuristic indicates that people are biased by information that is easy to recall, vivid, well publicized and recent. IMPACT OF PAST EXPERIENCES Schemas: mental structures that organize our knowledge about the world and influence how we interpret people and events. Past experiences activate these schemas. Person Schemas: are beliefs about other people, their traits, and goals. i.e. your best friend -> generous, fun, and honest. Self-Schemas: refer to our memory, inferences, and information about ourselves. Role Schemas: refer to behaviours that are expected of people in particular occupations or social positions. i.e. musician -> create or play music Event Schemas: refer to scripts that we have for well-known situations and are also known as scripts. i.e.Attending a Lecture -> finding a seat, take laptop out, take notes etc - These scripts enable you to expect a certain sequence of events and guide you how to behave. Content Free Schemas: are rules about processing information. i.e. if A is greater then B, and B is greater then C, then A must be greater the C. “Greater” is without content and could mean taller, happier, richer etc. THE ROLE OF UNCONSCIOUS PRIMING Priming: increase accessibility to a given concept or schema due to a prior experience. - Can even occur at an unconscious or subliminal level. i.e. participants in a study are exposed to words flashed subliminally on a screen related to high performance (compete, win, achieve, succeed) and in others to neutral concepts (shampoo, carpet, rock, river). People who were exposed to words of high performance found more words in a word search puzzle then the others. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ­ The amount of information we can bring to mind about a given event contributes to the availability effect. ­ i.e. People buy lottery tickets due to the massive publicity the jackpot winners receive but fait to take into account the many examples of people who play the lottery and never win. Representativeness: the tendency to perceive someone or something based on its similarity to a typical case. i.e. If I ask you whether an ostrich is a bird, you might take much more time to respond then if I’d asked whether a robin is a bird. Why? Because an ostrich doesn’t fit our stereotype of a bird (small, can fly, lives in a nest) but a robin does. Base-Rate Fallacy: an error in which people ignore the numerical frequency, or base-rate of an event in estimating how likely it is to occur. i.e. People are more nervous to die in a plane crash but are rarely concerned about dying in a car accident. Plane crashes are highly publicized in the media and are more available to our minds.Annually way more people die in car crashes then plane crashes. Anchoring and Adjustment: a mental shortcut in which people rely on an initial starting point in making an estimate but then fail to adequately adjust from this anchor. i.e. when buying a house, the asking price (initial anchor) is probably relevant b/c it is based on a realistic appraisal for the selling prices of similar homes. However people rely on anchors to make their judgments even when the anchor should clearly have no impact on their decision. Counterfactual Thinking/Simulation: refers to the tendency to imagine alternative outcomes to various events, which in turn can influence how people experience both positive and negative outcomes. ­ When it’s easy to imagine a different outcome, you experience a stronger emotional reaction to the outcome. i.e. will be mad if you get an 89 in a course but were expecting a 90, on the other hand if you just wanted to get an 80 you’d be happy with an 87. ­ Explains why we feel worse then usual when a person dies who really shouldn’t have i.e. murder. FACTORS INFLUENCING THE USE OF COUNTERFACTUAL THINKING ­ The desire to avoid the regret caused by the counterfactual thinking can also influence our behaviour, and in fact make us less likely to act at all. THE BENEFITS OF COUNTER FACTUALTHINKING ­ People can use counterfactual thinking to make they feel better when they narrowly missed experiencing a negative outcome. i.e. If you narrowly missed an A- in a class, you may feel some regret but you could also remind yourself that with a little more effort in the future you could get anA. - Simply asking someone to imagine how a negative event could turn out differently in the future reduces negative feelings. Presentation Factors Contrast Effect: the relative difference in intensity between two stimuli and their effect on each other. i.e. Grey box seems darker in front of a white background but seems lighter in front of a black background. i.e.Aheavy object seems lighter when you lifted an even heavier object beforehand. - The information or target remains the same but the way we perceive the info is different depending on how we are presented it. - i.e. people eat more when eating from a big plate b/c they don’t believe that they’ve eaten enough yet. The same portion of food is viewed differently depending on the size of the plate. - Explains why media images influence how we judge each other’s attractiveness. Framing: refers to the tendency to be influenced by the way an issue is presented. i.e. 90 % success rate sounds better then a 10 % failure rate even though they are the same rate. How Do We Form Impressions Of People? Implicit Personality Theory: the theory that certain traits and behaviours go together. Knowing that a person has a certain trait so you assume that he or she also has other certain traits. ­ This is one way we form impressions of others (sometimes wrongly) The Ease of Impression Formation ­ we form impressions of people very quickly based on very little information such as facial expression, appearance, or even a single action. THE POWER OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS ­ Primacy: refers to the phenomenon of the traits that you hear about first having an influence on your interpretation of other traits. ­ The first trait we hear about exerts a particularly strong impact on the impressions we form. ACCURACY OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS ­ In many cases people’s first impressions of others are remarkably correct. THE POWER OF NEGATIVE TRAITS Trait Negativity Bias: the tendency for people to be more influenced by negative traits then by positive ones. i.e. One bad trait can destroy someone’s reputation much more than one positive trait can impress people. ­ Really effects political candidates. ­ The answer for why we pay more attention to negative traits then positive ones is based on evolution – we need to react to negative info such as potential threats to our safety for which it is key to our survival. More important then learning that someone is going to help us. Beliefs About How Traits Fit Together i.e. highly attractive people also possess other traits such as social skills, intelligence and extraversion. The Impact of Mood i.e. A person just learned that they have gotten a summer job that they have really wanted for a long time. They then attend a class where there is a guest lecturer. They are more likely to have a more positive view towards this person. How Do Beliefs Create Reality? ­ People’s beliefs can create reality through perceptual confirmation, belief perseverance, and self-fulfilling prophecy. People See What They Expect To See SEEING EVENTS IN LINE WITH OUR BELIEFS ­ Perceptual Confirmation: the tendency for people to see things in line with their own beliefs and preconceptions. i.e. when 4 healthy people without a mental illness, went to a mental hospital and told them they were hearing voices. When they got inside they started to act like their normal selves. The doctors still treated them as mental and all of their behaviours were seen as mental behaviours. Once the staff believed that these people were patients, they interpreted the persons behaviour according to their beliefs. i.e. 2) The placebo effect SEEING UNCORRELATED EVENTS AS CORRELATED Illusory Correlation: the tendency to see a correlation between two events when in reality there is no athociation between them. i.e. On Friday the 13 you’ll pay particular attention to such events that day and see bad things as happening with greater frequency than normal (stub your toe, forget homework, get in arguments w/ friends) If these events happened on another day you wouldn’t attribute them to the calendar day. SEEING A POSITIVE OUTCOME AS MORE LIKELY Unrealistic Optimism: the tendency for people to see themselves as less likely than others to suffer bad events in the future. (i.e. people never think it will be them to get cancer) Illusory Superiority: an unrealistically positive view of ones self. SEEINGA GIVEN OUTCOMEAS INEVITABLE Hindsight Bias: the tendency of people to see a given outcome as having been inevitable once they know the actual outcome. (I knew it all along phenomenon) People Maintain Beliefs Over Time EXPLAINING BELIEF PRESEVERANCE Belief Perseverance: the tendency to maintain, and even strengthen, beliefs in the face of disconfirming evidence. i.e. if someone tells you that swimming right after you eat will lead to a bad cramp, you will most likely still believe this information when your given evidence to refute it. FACTORS LEADING TO BELIEF PERSEVERANCE ­ People create their own causal reasons to explain the evidence given to us. ­ i.e. When told they did well on the students recalled their good intuition they had in a similar situation in the past. People’s Behaviour Elicits What They Expect Behavioral Confirmation/Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: the process by which people’s expectations about a person lead them to elicit behaviour that confirms those expectations. i.e. You are told that the woman your brother is dating is rude so when you meet her you behave in an aloof way toward her. As a result of your behaviour she acts very standoffish, and you see that as proof that your initial belief was correct, while completely ignoring the role your behaviour played. EXPLAINING THE PROCESS OF SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY ­ 1 , People form first opinions of a person based on small or even meaningless indormation. (person’s name) ­ 2rd People act towards a person according to the expectations they have for them. ­ 3 , This behaviour leads the person to act in ways that are consistent with the perceivers expectations. - Self-Fulfilling Prophecy can be broken if: -The perceiver’s goal is to be liked by the target person. They will try harder to get to know the person. - The targets are aware of the perceiver’s expectations. - The perceiver’s assumptions are highly inaccurate and the target therefore doesn’t act in the expected way. THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY ­ Were better at judging friends and acquaintances than at judging strangers. ­ We can form more accurate impressions when were motivated to be accurate and open minded as well as when were aware of the biases described in this chapter (psych grad students) ­ These negative effects might lead to positive ones ( a boyfriend living up to his girlfriends expectations of him) How Does Culture Influence Social Cognition ­ People from different cultures think about the social world in different ways. Cognitive Errors ­ Culture influences the availability of different events/concepts. ­ One’s country of origin influences what is known and therefore what is easily brought to mind. i.e. if you ask people from different countries what there favourite movie is or food they will give different answers. ­ Collectivistic and interdependent societies have different views on different situations. Beliefs About Traits ­ Collectivist cultures (Canada) place more emphasis on a person’s internal traits resulting in certain behaviour where someone from Venezuela says that behaviour is based on situational factors. SELF-CONSTRUAL & FIELD DEPENDENCE ­ People whose sense of self is interdependent construe themselves in terms of contexts and relationships with others. ­ People who construe their identity in independent terms perceive their self as autonomous and separate from others. Field Dependent: having more difficulty in identifying an embedded figure in a larger background but greater ability to perceive an image as one holistic figure. Field Independent: having the ability to identify an embedded figure and separate it from a larger background. Chapter 10 (pg. 320-332) Intergroup Relations Intergroup relations: way in which people in groups perceive, think about, feel about, and act toward people in other groups How Do Different Theories Explain Intergroup Relations? (How do you explain crowd behaviour?) Early Research and Theories of Crowd Behaviour - Gustav Le Bon: riots in France; when people become part of a crowd they “descend several rungs on the ladder of civilization” - 3 Characteristics o Anonymity: less responsible for actions o Suggestibility: social constraints loosened; copy others acting instinctively o Contagion: irrationality and violence contagious; may sweep through crowd - People “go mad” in crowds - Crowds posses groupmind - Have to be controlled and managed - Allport: rejected groupmind; thinks individuals simply exaggerate what they would normally do; crowds allow people to be bad Deindividuation - Sherif,Asch, Zimbardo: crowds cannot be understood by studying individuals - Deindividuation: when in large groups, people are less likely to follow rules of behaviour= roots in anonymity; when one loses awareness of oneself as distinct individual - Anonymity: o Each individual less distinguishable o Enhanced when people wear uniforms o Social circumstance precursor to deindividuation o Zimbardo Prison Experiment  Participants: male, no history of crime or drug abuse; healthy and intelligent  Two groups: 9 guards and 9 prisoners: random sampling  All instructions were to increase deindividuation (prisoners blindfolded, handcuffed at home; guards wore uniform)  Guards became abusive, prisoners became passive, depressed  Participants identified with roles given  Study lasted 6 days instead of 2 weeks o Zimbardo studied University girls: electric shocks given to others  Girls who wore white coats and hoods(similar to KKK), gave longer shocks than those who wore their own clothes and had a large nametag  Anonymity of white clothing gave way to aggression o Cues in social environment important in increasing/decreasing aggressive behaviour o Johnson and Downing (1979): shock when student made error  4 conditions: • Individuation: nametag • Deindividuation: no identifying information • Prosocial cue: white coat “old nurse uniform” • Antisocial: something that looked similar to KKK • Nurse= less shocks, KKK= more shocks • Deindividuation+ Nurse= less shocks • When anonymous, one becomes responsive to situational cues - Accountability o Lack of accountability contributes to deindividuation o When one does not expect to be held responsible they are not accountable o As groups size goes up, so does violence o Zimbardo: left one car in the Bronx, and one in PaloAlto, CA  Car in Bronx vandalized within 10 minutes, then stripped for parts: the anonymity in the Bronx makes people less accountable  Car in CAnever touched - Decrease in Self-Awareness o Less sense of self as a distinct individuals; makes them less focused on normal behaviour standards o Engage in less moral behaviour when self-awareness low Social Identity Theory - Intergroup Dimension - Reicher: at least 2 groups in crowds (e.g. demonstrators and police) o Each group acts in response to behaviour of other group o People in crowds adopt a stronger sense of social identity o Group goal and identity regulate behaviour - Social Identity Theory: a theory that posits that each person strives to enhance his/her self-esteem, which is composed of two parts: personal and social identity - We’re motivated to affiliate with successful groups to increase feelings of self- worth - If status being threatened, in-group favouritism and out-group derogation may occur - Status of the In-Group o Groups threatened with inferiority take pleasure in other groups’failure - Status within the group o People who have marginal status in the group more likely to derogate out- group members o If one’s self-worth is threatened, they are more likely to act hostile to people outside their group - Group Size o Small group= members more loyal - Research Focus on Gender o More women in organizations once dominated by men o Kanter:  4 types of proportions for group composition • Uniform groups: all one gender • Skewed groups: predominantly one gender with a few token members of other gender • Titled groups: majority one gender • Balanced: genders equally represented  3 perceptual phenomena influenced group dynamic in a token situation • Visibility: often only one in category therefore greater degree of attention in comparison to men • Polarization: exaggeration of differences • Assimilation: more stereotypes; mostly in token situations o Gender and group size can moderate perceived variability of other group members Model of Social Identity Theory Chapter 11: Stereotype, Prejudice, and Discrimination • Stereotype: a belief that associates a whole group of people with a certain group o Ex.Agroup that drives BMW, Jeep, blondes have more fun, and left handed individuals are more creative. • Stereotypes can lead to: o Prejudice: hostile or negative feelings about people based on their membership in a certain group o Discrimination: behavior directed against people solely because of their membership in a particular group • If children get punished for using derogatory stereotypical or discrimination they are less likely to use language like that again • Form opinions of people from parents • People who are surrounded by racism have views that express weaker anti-racist positions • People easily stereotype child molesters, rapists, KKK, drug addicts, etc. but they are not comfortable expressing prejudice against people in stigmatized groups • Social Categorization: the practice of classifying people into in-groups or out- groups based on attributes that the person has in common with in-group or out- group o Can be done in terms of people like us, same eye colour, shoe size, etc. • Out-group Homogeneity Effect : people’s tendency to underestimate the variability of out-group members compared to the variability of in- group members o Ex. Students who attend a different high school as a single group of similar people, but divided people in your own school into musicians, athletes, etc. o We learn this at a very young age, but are not born with it • More familiar with in-group than out- group • Cross Ethnic Identification Bias: the tendency to see out-group members as looking very similar to one another, and showing greater accuracy for recognizing in- group members than out-group members ( or cross- racial bias) o Deeper processing when someone from the same ethnicity o Familiarity- more time together you can tell them apart more easily o This is a problem with eye witness testimonies (Psychologists are saying to not rely on this in court as it is not reliable) • In Group Favouritism: the tendency to evaluate one’s in- group more positively that out- groups o Ex. Jurors give shorter sentences to those of the same ethnic background as them o Favour their own kind, and stand up for them more o More common when people heavily identify with their group  Social Dominance Orientation: a personality trait that indicates preference to maintain hierarchy within and between groups • Those who want to maintain the superior position of their own in- group are particularly motivated to derogate out- group members and reward in- group members as a way of maintaining that superiority • Cognitive Biases o Illusory Correlation: the tendency to overestimate the association between variables that are only slightly or not correlated at all  People who are more interesting are salient, therefore they stick out more  Behaviours by small groups or particular groups are more memorable  Ex. Homosexuality and child molestation are rare occurring acts and therefore people pair them together even though there is no reason for them to be (its because they are rare) even though heterosexual men are the most likely to abuse children not homosexual o Ultimate Attribution Error: an error in which people make dispositional attributes for negative behavior and situational attributions for positive behavior by out group members, yet show the reverse attributions for successes and failures for their own group members o Contrast Effect:  Shifting Standards Model: a model that posits that people within a group are more often compared to others within that group rather than to people in other groups • Ex.Awoman may be called an amazing athlete because she is better than other women even though her skills are only moderate to men athletes • Minority group members must work harder to prove themselves, also if a minority group member does a simple task others make a “big” deal about it  Perceptual Confirmation: the tendency to see things in line with one’s expectations • Ex. Someone does not likeAboriginal Canadians as much as other ethnicities even if they have the same grades they will favour to a different culture o Confirmation Bias: describes the tendency to search for information that supports one’s initial view  Ex. If you are meeting people from Sweden you might ask them about their love for hockey, saunas, and cold weather or if you are meeting someone from Brazil you might ask them about their love for spicy foods, festive music, and lastly carnivals • Assessing Prejudice o Self- Report Measures  Ex. The Modern Racism Scale, The HomosexualityAttitudes Scale, and the Modern Sexism Scale  Can be problematic because they are such sensitive subjects such as prejudice and discrimination  Therefore they may not express themselves truthfully because they are scared of judgment o Covert Measures  Researchers have developed methods that can assess the truth, because people will often not be honest when it comes to their beliefs on discrimination, etc  The Bogus Pipeline is: a fake lie detector test that tells people they will be caught if they lie, therefore they tell the truth because they want to avoid being caught in a lie  Implicit Association Test: based on assumption that is easier and therefore easier • Has to do with word association (Ex. Fat and bad are paired closely together in our minds rather than thin and bad) • Self-fulfilling Prophecy: the process by which people’s expectations about a person lead them to elicit behavior that confirms these expectations • Stereotype Threat: the fear that one’s behavior may confirm an existing cultural stereotype, which then disrupts one’s performance o Ex. If a woman is told that she is going to do a special reasoning test that woman normally do poorly on, that will likely make her nervous o Stereotypes take place a great deal in the form of academic tasks  Ex. Girls and woman in math related subjects  White males in math, compared toAsian males  Children from low socioeconomic compared to the upper class  If you are the only one of a gender or ethnicity in a given group can activate stereotype threat  Stereo type threat leads to lower working memory capacity • Reduced Psychological Well-Being o Rejection- Identification Model: a model which proposes that people in disadvantaged groups experience a negative impact on their well-being when they perceive prejudice and discrimination against themselves  Ex. Receive a speeding ticket, failing to get a desired job, or an apartment that they would like to rent is unavailable  Can lead to sadness, depression, etc  Experiencing discrimination can lead to negative effects of physical health  Minority groups report more discrimination than majority • Reverse Discrimination: preferential treatment of people in stereotyped groups o Prefer candidates of less privileged groups o Can benefit members of stereotyped groups, but not in all cases • The Hazards of Positive Stereotypes o Stereotypes consist of two dimensions:  Competence and Warmth • People who belong to high status groups are seen as highly competent but not warm • People who belong to low status groups are seen as incompetent but warm • People who are of very low status have low competence and low warmth  We act differently to those in diff groups • Ex. Pity ones who are in a low groups and have low competence, etc  Our perceptions of disgust dehumanize members of certain groups which cab explain hate crimes, genocide, etc • Hostile Sexism: feelings of hostility toward women based on their threat to men’s power o People who have this believe that men are smarter than woman and inherently less intelligent • Benevolent Sexism: having positive, but patronizing, views of women o Believes that woman are more kind, and better listeners o Men and woman can both be benevolently sexist • Aversive Prejudice: conscious endorsement of unprejudiced beliefs about a group while at the same time holding unconscious negative attitudes toward the group • Sterotypes areActivated Automatically o They are activated automatically without conscious awareness, even amoung people who deem themselves as not prejudice • Content of Stereotypes o Auto-stereotype: a stereotype that one holds about one’s own group  Canadians know that they are polite o Hetero- stereotypes: stereotypes about other groups  Italians are emotional  Japanese are quiet • Both of these types of stereotypes overlap when people are talking either or themselves or another culture of people o Meta- stereotype: a person’s beliefs about the stereotype that outgroup members hold about the person’s own group  Ex. Whiter heterosexual man viewed as submissive and polite by Americans, rude and aggressive by First Nations and uptight and conservative by homosexual Canadians Chapter 12 Key Terms Aggression: physical or verbal behaviour that is intended to harm another individual who is motivated to avoid such treatment Emotional/Hostile aggression: aggression in which one inflicts harm for its own sake on another Instrumental aggression: aggression in which one inflicts harm in order to obtain something of value Catharsis: release of suppressed energy or emotion Instinct theory of aggression: theory that describes aggression as innate biological drive (develops because only aggressive animals can ensure that they and their offspring will survive) Social learning theory: theory that describes behaviour as learned by observing or modeling others’behaviour as well as by the presence of punishments and rewards, or reinforcements Frustration-aggression theory: theory that frustration always leads to the desire to behave aggressively, and that aggression is caused by frustration Displacement: people’s tendency to aggress against others when the source of frustration is unavailable Cognitive-neoassociation theory: theory that describes aggression as caused by experiencing negative affect of any kind, which in turn evokes aggression-related thoughts, memories, feelings, and ideas Arousal-effect/Excitation transfer model: model describing aggression as influenced by both the intensity of the arousal and the type of emotion produced by the stimulus General aggression model: model proposing that both individual differences and situational factors lead to aggression-related thoughts, feelings, and/or physiological arousal Desensitization/Disinhibition: the reduction of physiological reactions to a stimuli (e.g. violence) due to repeated exposure to the stimuli Punishment: provision of unpleasant consequences to try to reduce a negative behaviour Basic definition of aggression 1) aggression is behaviour that harms others, 2) harming others is intentional rather than accidental, and 3) the victim of the aggressive behaviour is motivated to avoid the harm (harm is unwanted rather than sought out) Biological factors influencing aggression • In prison study, revealed that men who had committed violent crimes, such as rape and assault, had higher levels of testosterone than men who had committed property crimes. Suggests that test. levels are associated with aggressive behaviour Instinct and Evolutionary Theories Something within a person is responsible for aggressive tendencies Freud’s Death Wish • Believed that people possess a powerful death wish or drive, and to cope with this unconscious desire, people need to channel this energy in some direction. Turning this energy inward, people will engage in self-destructive behaviour, turning it outward, they engage in aggression against others • Energy released through catharsis • It is often advised to “blow off some steam” in order to release this energy, or “get it off your chest” • Scientific evidence suggests, however, that catharsis may not actually be an effective way of dealing with aggression Lorenz’s Instinct Theory of Aggression • Aggression is natural and instinctively motivated behaviour, used as a tool for survival. • Drive for aggression is evolutionarily adaptive because those who are aggressive have a greater likelihood of living • This explains why men are more aggressive than women (aggression is how men obtain status and hence the best females) • Women are at substantial risk of experiencing aggression at the hands of a loved one, including spousal homicide (rates much higher for women than men) Genetics • One meta-analysis suggests that up to 50% of the variance in aggression may be due to genetic factors • Other longitudinal research suggests that children who are highly aggressive early in life are more likely to be aggressive later • Research on stability of rates of aggression over time can be interpreted as providing support for the genetic view of the causes of aggression, environmental factors are also a likely cause. Hormones • Theory that the presences of the male sex hormone testosterone is a cause of gender differences in aggression • Among inmates convicted of homicide, those with higher levels of testosterone more often knew their victim and planned their crimes ahead of time • Same patterns hold true in female prison inmates, higher testosterone levels = more aggressive behaviour. Gender Differences • Higher levels of physical aggression expressed by males may be due in part to genetic and evolutionary factors, including testosterone levels and their historical role in protecting women • Social learning theory argues that males and females are taught different things about the costs and benefits of aggression. Boys who use their fists to fight may receive social rewards, whereas girls who engage in this behaviour may be punished. • Physical aggression much higher in males, verbal aggression only slightly higher, but lower rates of relational aggression (intended to interrupt relationships) • Women more likely than men to engage in aggression producing psychological or social harm (likely caused by social roles and learning) • High testosterone leads to an increased readiness to respond assertively to provocation and threats, and makes people more impatient and irritable, which can lead to aggression • Some research suggests that testosterone levels can increase levels of aggression, but aggression, or aggressive cues, can also lead to an increase in testosterone levels • Low serotonin levels also related to higher rates of aggression, portion of brain that regulates this may be damaged Social Psychological factors influencing aggression Frustration-Aggression Theory • Incorporates the Freudian idea of aggression as a basic impulse • Frustration is caused when people are prevented from having something they want • Low initial expectations of outcomes lead to lower levels of aggression when outcomes are poor. Displacement • The transfer of anger onto whatever target is available • Displaced aggression is particularly likely to target particular people- notably those who are weak- such as immigrants, the unemployed, welfare recipients, and so on. • Particularly common when a person is provoked and then given the opportunity to think about this provocation- which maintains, and could even intensify, the persons negative mood. Impact of Relative Deprivation • Discontent caused by the belief that one fares poorly compared to people in other groups. Perceived injustice that arises from a situation of relative deprivation could lead individuals to experience frustration • E.g. professional athletes who make millions of dollars a year may feel angry about their salary- they’re not comparing what they make to what most people make, but rather to what many of their teammates may be making. • Aggressive behaviour increases when people are in difficult financial situations Critiques of F-ATheory • One limitation is that frustration doesn’t have to lead to aggression, but could lead to other emotions, such as disappointment, sadness, and depression • Also, not all aggression stems from frustration, it is more likely to lead to emotional or hostile aggression, than instrumental aggression Cognitive-neoassociation theory • Proposes that any event that leads to negative affect, such as heat, pain, unpleasant noises and odours, crowding, and so on, can lead to aggression • Hot temperatures o As the temperature increases, so does the incidence of aggressive acts, including murder, rape, domestic violence, and assault o Hotter summers associated with more violent crimes o Participants are more hostile to confederates when they’re in hot rooms versus a more comfortable temperature o Research suggests that high temperatures lead to physiological arousal and increased hostile feelings and thoughts, which may increase likelihood of aggression • Other unpleasant conditions o Aggression is also produced when people experience other bad conditions, such as pollution, threatened self-esteem, crowding, pain, noise, and poverty. o Also feeling personally rejected or ostracized can lead to aggression • Cues to aggression o The mere presence of an object associated with aggression can trigger aggressive behaviour o Participants in one study behaved more aggressively when guns were present, as compared to the presence of sports equipment (weapons effect) Excitation Transfer Theory • Any type of arousal can be interpreted as aggression if a person is in a situation that cues aggression • If we’re physiologically aroused and if our environment tells us we’re angry, we’ll act aggressively • If there are cues to aggression in the situation, they interpret their arousal as aggression Social Learning Theory • Behaviour is learned by observing or modeling others’behaviour as well as by the presence of punishments and rewards, or reinforcements • Modelling o Children can learn to engage in aggressive behaviour through simply observing, either in real life or through television and movies • Reinforcement o Children may also receive positive reinforcement for being aggressive o E.g. the elementary school bully takes other children’s lunch money, and has been rewarded (he has the lunch money) for being aggressive o Child who learns that aggression leads to a good outcome is more likely to engage in such behaviour in the future than a child who sees aggression as having negative consequences GeneralAggression Model • Describes the role of both individual differences (such as traits, beliefs, and skills) and situational factors (such as pain, frustration, and the presence of guns) in leading to aggression-related thoughts, mood, and arousal. In turn this can lead to aggressive behaviour, depending on how people appraise or interpret the situation • People do vary in their general tendency towards aggression, and exposure to cues to aggression can trigger aggressive thoughts and feelings • The activation of aggressive thoughts and feelings can lead to aggressive behaviour How Do the Media InfluenceAggression? • Lab studies and longitudinal field research suggest that exposure to violence on television contributes to aggression, in fact, the relationship between the two is as strong as the link between smoking and cancer Primes Aggressive Models • People who are exposed to media violence learn aggressive ways to act and that such behaviour can get them rewards • One study found that the parental supervision of media use and family discussion of media uses have significant effects on kids opinion regarding media violence • Media violence leads to aggression in real life because television shows and movies portray the world as full of people who are evil and violent. This, in turn, creates a suspicious and cynical worldview, which can increase the likelihood of aggressive behaviour. These people may be more mistrustful of others and take steps to protect themselves (buy a gun) Primes Aggressive Thoughts • Participants in one study, who played a violent video game, behaved more aggressively than those who played the nonviolent game by giving their partner louder blasts of sound in scenarios where they used punishment • Seeing aggressive behaviours in the media does not mean people will do something they wouldn’t ordinarily have done (commit homicide), but rather this exposure prompted or triggered pre-existing aggressive impulses Creates PhysiologicalArousal • Watching highly violent television leads to physiological arousal for most people • Leads to an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and the skins conductance of electricity, which in turn can increase aggression • Arousal can energize, or heighten, whatever a person is already feeling, and thus increase the likelihood that a person will act on those feelings • Additionally, arousal can lead someone to misattribute the cause of this arousal, and thus react more strongly if provoked by another person Reduces Reactions toAggression • Repeated exposure to violence over time can reduce people’s psychological and physiological reactions to aggressive images (desensitization) • People become accustomed to such images, which decreases their impact The Impact of Violent Media on the Brain • In one study it was found that a circuit consisting of the orbital frontal cortex, amygdala, and anterior cingulated cortex varies in activity level in such a way as to suggest a neural correlate of aggression • Support for the hypothesis comes from studies in forensic psychology demonstrating that individuals with tendencies towards criminal and aggressive behaviour show reduced activity in the neural circuitry of emotion regulation • People who are repeatedly exposed to violence in the media show lower levels of arousal in response to images of aggression • Watching violent pornography, meaning materials that portray women as “enjoying” being victimized, can lead to aggression towards women How Can We ReduceAggression? PunishingAggressive Behaviour • One of the most common ways of trying to reduce aggression • One problem is that it also models the use of aggression • Parents who use more harsh discipline techniques during their children’s early years have more aggressive children, in part because children are more likely themselves to use aggressive responses in future interactions Modelling Non-Aggressive Responses • Although children can learn aggressive responses from watching various models, they can also learn and model non-aggressive responses • Emphasizes the use of “time-outs” for children instead of spanking, and exposing children to compelling pro-social television programs can also help reduce aggression • Parents can further help their children by discussing the problems of television modeling and the unrealistic and unacceptable nature of television violence Training in Communication and Problem-Solving Skills • Because much of what we see in the media shows destructive and violent ways of handling aggression, one way to reduce aggression is to show people how to respond constructively to frustrating situations • E.g. the Peaceful Conflict Resolution and Violence prevention Programs implemented in the U.S., among other strategies, provides students with strategies for effective management of anger without fighting, and conflict resolution. Schools with these programs had less violence between students • One of the most effective communication strategies for reducing aggressive behaviour is an apology. People are considerably less angry when someone apologizes for making an error • However, letting someone know you’re angry can also be an effective way of opening up to someone in order to reduce anger Increasing Empathy • If we feel empathy towards others, we feel guilty if we hurt them, and therefore find it much harder to behave aggressively toward them • In studies, for example, people give less severe shocks to a person who has just self- disclosed to them, indicating that feeling empathy reduces the need to be aggressive • Our desire for aggression is also reduced when we learn information that shows us that a person should not be held fully responsible for his or her actions, in part because such information helps us understand and empathize with the person How Does Culture Relate to Aggression? • Not all cultures value nonviolent behaviour to the same degree, and the prevalence of aggression differs across cultures • Furthermore, cultural norms and values towards aggression may change over time • In a study looking at the acceptability of corporal punishment across cultures, the literature indicates that people are more likely to approve if they are male, less educated, and older • Otherwise, what influences a person’s view of corporal punishment for a child is how acceptable it is in the person’s culture and the person’s experience of violence as a child • Peoples attitudes are guided by their socialization, which consists of an individuals social learning in a particular cultural context Prevalence of Aggression • Rates of aggression differ substantially across different cultures • Canada is among the countries with a relatively low level of homicide, while U.S. ranks somewhere in the middle, with Russia, Mexico, and Colombia among the highest • Studies conflict on whether aggression levels are higher in individualistic or collectivistic cultures • Influence of culture on the development of aggressive behaviour appears early in life (in one study it was demonstrated in 4 years olds) • American children live in a society that has a rate of violence 10 to 20 times higher than that of other industrialized countries, and aggression is often tolerated and viewed as standing up for oneself Prevalence of Domestic Violence • Rates of domestic violence strongly indicate that this type of behaviour is substantially higher in collectivistic cultures • These cultures are lower on gender equality, which is related to attitudes regarding aggression toward women • E.g. in Egypt, 70% of the population believes that a man is justified in beating his wife if she refuses to have sex. In New Zealand, only 1% believe this
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