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University of Saskatchewan
CHEM 112
Neil Hibbert

Chapter 8 – behaviour in Social and Cultural Context Norms (social) – rules that regulate social life (how we are supposed to act). There are promises of reward if they are followed and punishment if violated. Some are laws (explicit laws) and some are unspoken regulations (implicit cultural conventions) Culture – defined as a program of shared rules that govern the behaviour of people in a community or society, and a set of values, beliefs and customs shared by most members of that community and passed from one generation to the next. Role – a given social position that is governed by a set of norms for proper behaviour The Milgram Obedience Experiment – Milgram wanted to know how many people would obey an authority figure when directly ordered to violate their ethical standards. Each person was assigned as “teacher” or “learner”. Whenever the learner, who was in another room, made a mistake in reciting a list of word pairs the teacher had to give him an electrical shock. Some were labelled, SLIGHT SHOCK to DANGER – SEVERE SHOCK etc. Every teacher gave the learner some shock and 2/3rds or the people when to the full extend because the experimenter told them to. However people were more likely to disobey if – the experimenter left the room, the victim was in the room, two experimenter gave conflicting demands, the person ordering them for an ordinary person, when the person could see that other people were stopping. Stanford Prison Experiment – they wanted to know what would happen to ordinary people if they were randomly assigned roles of prisoner or guard. Most prisoners became distressed and helpless while the guards enjoyed their new power. It became about power and the people started to act like those in a real prison, despite the fact that this was an experiment in the basement of Stanford. The experiment was supposed to go for 2 weeks but was stopped after 6 days because it got out of hand. The psychologist, Zimbardo, got caught up in the experiment and didn’t end it as soon as he should have. There were no known lasting effects. These people lost their names and were just a number in the experiment. Why do people obey – most follow orders because of obvious consequences of disobedience. They respect the authority’s legitimacy. People will want to justify the choice they made even if they knew it was wrong “I was following orders” Entrapment – a gradual process in which individuals escalate their commitment to a course of action to justify their investment of time, money or effort. The first step is to pose no difficult choice but one step leads to another and before you realize it you have become committed to a course of action that poses problems. Social Cognition – an area in social psychology concerned with social influences on through, memory, perception and beliefs. Attribution Theory – the theory that people are motivated to explain their own and other people’s behaviour by attributing causes of that behaviour to a situation or a disposition. When people try to explain someone else’s behaviour they tend to overestimate personality traits and underestimate the influence of the situation (fundamental attribution error). Situational Attribution – we are identifying the cause of an action as something in the situation or environment Dispositional attribution – we are identifying the cause of an action as something in the person, such as a trait or a motive. Fundamental attribution error – the tendency, in explaining other people’s behaviour, to overestimate personality factors and underestimate the influence of the situation.  Is especially prevalent in western nations where middle class people believe that individuals are responsible for their own actions, not the situation.  The primary reason for this is that people rely on different sources of information to judge their own behaviour and that of others. Self-serving Biases – habits of thinking that make is feel good about ourselves even when we shouldn’t. Group serving biases – group takes credit for success but makes excuses for failure. In-Group – a group that we see ourselves as belonging to Out –Group – any group other than the ones to which we see ourselves as a part of. Cognitive biases that are common to attributions and misattributions  The bias to choose the most flattering and forgiving attributions of our own behaviour. May more often blame the situation than themselves  The bias to believe that the world is fair – that good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. Also known as a just world hypothesis. o Victim Blaming – she person must not be that good and must have done something to deserve what happened or provoked it (rape victims) Attitude – is a belief about people, groups, ideas etc. They may change when you have new experiences and if you rationally decide you were wrong about something. They are formed through our thoughts, feelings and behavioural responses. Two kinds of attitudes:  Explicit – we are aware of them, they shape our conscious decision and actions and they can be measured on self-report questionnaires  Implicit – we are unaware of them, they may influence our behaviour in ways we don’t see and they are measured in indirect ways. Cognitive dissonance – the uncomfortable feeling, or state of tensions, that occurs when two attitudes, or when an attitude and a behaviour are in conflict. This is resolved by changing one.  Ex – someone who had done something bad but stills sees themselves as good. Familiarity effect – the tendency to hold positive attitudes to more familiar people, items, products etc. It is common across cultures Validity Effect – the tendency of people to believe that something is true or valid because it has been repeated many times.  “If you repeat something often enough, even the basest lie, and eventually the public will believe it” Hitler’s propaganda minister called the is Big Lie Heritability – twin studies. Beliefs are not hereditary but things like being open or certain attitudes are. “Brainwashing” – implies that a person had had a sudden change of mind without being aware of what is happening; it sound mysterious and strange. However the methods of persuasion involves persuasion. However it isn’t always negative but usually is.  The person is subjected to entrapment.  The persons problems are explained by one simple attribution which is repeatedly emphasized  The person is offered a new identity and is promised salvation – giving unrealistic reasons for what is wrong in the person life. Unhappy – stems from the pain of being born  The persons access to disconfirming information is severely controlled – the groups leader limits everything to the person. Conformity – taking action or adopting attitudes as a result of real or imagined group pressure. We look around us to see what the norms are and act accordingly. We don’t like to take social risks and act outside the group. Two influences of this:  Normative – acceptance, approval, peer pressure  Informational – correct and appropriate behaviour, watch people to see what it is. Groupthink – the tendency to think alike and suppress dissent. Occurs when the total agreement of the group overwhelms its need to make the wisest decision.  Symptoms of groupthink are: an illusion of invulnerability, self- censorship, pressure of dissenters to conform and an illusion of unanimity Group Polarization – the tendency for groups to make more extreme decision than members would make acting alone (protests, violence) Diffusion of Responsibility – responsibility for an outcome is diffused or spread among many people and reduces each individuals personal sense of accountability.  Bystander apathy or effect Deindividuation – you are more likely to feel like this in a large city where no one recognized you. This is when people lose awareness of their individuality and seem to hand themselves over to the mood and action of the crowd. Considered a cause of mob violence. Are no longer see as anything but the label you have. (ex cons) Schemas – a way of organizing our ideas, beliefs and feelings about some aspect of the world. Washing clothes video – it acts as a short cut to understanding and interpreting new information. Self – sense of who you are as a person. This may depend on who you are. Identity – formed through roles  Ascribed identity – given to you, how you were born and things you can’t change.  Achieved identity – things that you have worked for. Being a student, mother etc. Self-concept – the idea that we have about our self and it affects how we act in the world. Self-efficacy – beliefs about our ability to perform. Social identities – race, nationality, class, gender, religion etc. based on the persons identification with the nation, religion etc. Is ethnic identity the same as national identity – no. A national identity in Canada is freedom. While we have many ethnic identities. Acculturation – the process in which members of minority groups come to
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