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Social Psych - Test 1 - Book Notes.docx

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Hilary B Bergsieker

1. Introduction to Social Psychology What Is Social Psychology Social Psychology: Scientific study of how people think about, influence and relate to one another. - Focus on individual with methods more often focused on experimentation. - Focuses less on differences among individuals, more on how individuals view and affect one another. - Studies our thinking, influence and relationships by asking intriguing questions as follows: How much of our social world is just in our heads? - Social behavior varies not just with objective situations but also how we construe the reality... - Ex. Of happily married (mad husband = bad day) vs. unhappily married couple (mad husband = hostile person) Would you be cruel if ordered? - Complying to high officials (Nazi Germany) - Exp. by Stanley Milgram (1974)  administering shock to people in a different room  shocking result; 2/3 of participants fully complied. To help others or to help yourself? - $2 mil scattered the streets of Toronto, $100000 returned by some people, rest was pocketed by others All questions deal with how people view and effect on another. Social Psychologists study; attitudes and beliefs, conformity and independence, love and hate. 1 Major Themes in Social Psychology Kurt Lewin (1952) – one of the funders of Social Psychology.  ―behavior is a function of the person and the situation‖ - We Construct Our Social Reality - When someone‘s behavior is consistent and distinctive, we attribute their behavior to their personality. - Our beliefs about ourselves matter (optimism, control, superior/inferior)  influence our emotions and actions Our social intuitions are often powerful but sometimes perilous - Much of what happens in our mind is unconscious and happens offstage (automatic processing, heuristics, implicit memory, spontaneous trait influence, instant emotions, nonverbal communication  our intuitive capacities). - Intuition can be perilous  we misperceive others - We fail to appreciate how our expectations shape our evaluations - We sometimes even trust our memories more then we should - Social intuitions are therefore powerful and perilous Social Influences shape our Behavior - Relationships are a large part of being human. - Aristotle  observed that we are social animals. - We respond to our immediate contexts;  Nazi influence  normal people became bad  After 2011 tsunami in Japan  normal people become good (helpful) - Regardless of history and how other people in different countries judge war, your situation matters. - culture helps define us in many situations 2 - Hazel Markus (2005)  ―people are, above all, malleable‖ - We adapt to social context, behavior shaped by external forces Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape behavior - Inner attitudes effect behavior (attitude toward smoking influences our susceptibility to peer pressure) - Personality dispositions also effect behavior  In same situation, different people may react differently  Nelson Mandela  seeks reconciliation and unity with onetime enemies, Most would seek revenge. - Social behavior is biologically rooted - Nature and nurture work together - Evolutionary psychologist may question about how natural selection might predispose our actions and reactions when dating/mating, hating/hurting, caring/sharing. - Enormous capacity to learn and to adapt to varied environments - Social Neuroscience – an integration of biological and social perspectives that explores the neural and psychological basis of social and emotional behaviors. - We are bio-psycho-social organisms; we reflect the interplay of our biological, psychological and social influences  Stress hormones effect how we feel and act  Social ostracism elevates blood pressure  Social support strengthens immune system. Relating to Others is a Basic Need - We feel pain when we are not included by others in activities - We feel joy and comfort when others help us or when we form relationships with others 3 - Mark Leary and Roy Baumeister (2000)  ―our relationship with others forms the basis of our self-esteem.‖ - Feeling of self-esteem is based on how accepted we feel by others - Relating to others is a basic need that shapes all our social actions Social Psychology’s principles are applicable in everyday life - ―Social Psychology is all about life – your life, your beliefs, your attitudes, your relationships.‖ - Principles of social thinking, social influences and social relations have implications for human health and well-being. Social Psychology and Human Values - Social Psychologists‘ values penetrate their work in ways both obvious and subtle. Obvious ways in which values enter social psychology - values differ across time and culture - Values influence the types of people attracted to various disciples - Social psychologists investigate how values form, why they change, and how they influence attitudes and actions - Major theory of ―social identity‖ from Europe  where pride in groups exists - North America social psychologists focus more on individualism Not-so-obvious ways in which values enter social psychology - The Subjective aspects of Science - Tendency to prejudge reality based on our experiences - Culture  the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, traditions, products and institutions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next. 4 - Social Representations  socially shared beliefs; widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world - Marxist and Feminist critics  also make their own assumptions - The hidden values in psychological concepts - Value judgments are usually stated like facts by psychologists - Defining the good life – values influence our idea of the best way to live our lives - Professional Advice – Psychologists expressing personal value when they tell you for example how to raise your child or to live free of other people‘s concerns (Western culture)  Science does not and cannot answer questions of ultimate moral obligation, of purpose and direction and of life‘s meaning. - Forming concepts - Hidden values seep into psychology‘s research based concepts.  Difference. Labels for some concepts / use of based on psychologists own values and beliefs. - Labeling – Value judgments are often hidden within our social- psychological language.  Also true of everyday language  Quiet child  ―bashful‖ / ―cautious‖ or ―observer‖ / ―holding back‖  Remarks about ―ambitious‖ men and ―aggressive‖ women convey a hidden message. - Naturalistic Fallacy – distinction between what is and what ought to be  Naturalistic Fallacy – the error of defining what is good in terms of what is observable. Ex. What‘s typical is normal; what‘s normal is good. - Natural that prior beliefs and values of a psychologist will influence what they think and write. - By constantly checking our beliefs against the facts, we check and retrain our biases. 5 I Knew It All Along - Social psychology: trivial since it documents the obvious, dangerous because it‘s findings could be used to manipulate people - Are things truly as obvious as we feel them to be in social psychology? - Events seem obvious after they occur, also more predictable, hindsight. - Hindsight bias – ―I knew it all along,‖ the tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one‘s ability to have foreseen how some things turned out. - Due to hindsight bias, results from experiments can seem obvious but are actually quite surprising and easy to get wrong an a multiple choice test. - We deceive ourselves into thinking that we know and knew more then we do an did. - ―Absence makes heart grow fonder‖ or ―Out of sight, out of mind‖ Research Methods Forming and Testing Hypotheses - Theory – an integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events. - To scientists, theories are ideas that summarize and explain facts. - Hypothesis – a testable proposition that describes a relationship that may exist between events.  Allow us to test theories  Predictions give direction to research, send investigators looking for things they might never have thought of.  Predictive features of good theories can also make them practical.  Operationalization – taking something in the real work and translating it into a testable variable - A good theory does the following: 6  Effectively summarizes many observations and  Makes clear predictions that we can use to o Confirm or modify the theory, o Generate new exploration, ,and o Suggest practical applications. - Correlational Research: Detecting Natural Associations - Social Psychology research can take place in the laboratory (controlled situations) or in the field (everyday situations) - Methods for research are either correlational (asking whether 2 or more factors are naturally associated) and experimental (manipulating some factor to see its effect on another). - Advantage of correlational research is that it often involves variables in a natural setting - Disadvantages of correlational research is that it can have ambiguous interpretation of cause and effect.) Correlation vs. Causation - Correlational research allows us to predict, but it cannot tell us whether changing one variable (such as social status) will cause changes in another (such as health). - Intelligent students have high self-esteem or is it students with high-self esteem are intelligent. Both are correlations but does one cause the other? - Correlation coefficients  -1  as one factor goes up, the other goes down  0  no correlation between two factors  +1  as one factor goes up, the other goes up as well - Knowing the two variables change together (correlate) enables us to predict one when we know the other, but correlation does not specify cause and effect. 7 - Longitudinal research sorts out cause and effect because we know one happens before the other, therefore one is the cause and the other following is the effect. Survey Research - Random sample – survey procedure in which every person in the population being studied has an equal chance of being included - Unrepresentative samples – If people are selected for a research by pulling their names out from a list obtained from say an automobile registrations wouldn‘t be completely representative of the entire population. It would exclude those who cannot afford an automobile. - Order of the Questions – the order in which a question is asked can lead to bias results. - Response bias – When given multiple options for questions, responses will change form if just one question without options was given. - Social desirability – People have a tendency to say what they want others to hear or what they want to believe about themselves. Implicit measures are used when testing for things that may lead to results effected by social desirability by performing research without letting the participants know exactly what the researcher is experimenting about. - Wording of the questions – Even when people feel strongly about an issue, the question‘s form and wording may affect their answer. Knowledge about the issues being questioned upon also interacts with the wording. More knowledge about the issue, the less the wording will have an affect. Experimental Research: Searching for Cause and Effect Control: Manipulation Variables - Independent Variable  the experimental factor that a researcher manipulates. - Dependent Variable  the variable being measured, so called because it may depend on manipulations of the independent variable. 8 Random Assignment: The Great Equalizer - Random Assignment – the process of assigning participants to the conditions of an experiment such that all persons have the same chance of being given a condition. - Random assignment helps us infer cause and effect. - Random sampling helps us generalize to a population. The Ethics of Experimentation - Mundane realism – degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations - Experimental realism – degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participants - 1/3 of psychological research require deception (asking people to deliver shocks to someone in another room, the person in the other room is not truly receiving shocks but playacts as thought they are) - Demand characteristics – cues in an experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected; psychologists try to avoid this, it alters the participants‘ behavior. - Ethical research boards in Universities require investigators to follow the practices below: o Get informed consent. o Be truthful – deception to be used only when necessary o Do not cause harm and significant disorder o Maintain confidentiality between participant and researcher o Debrief participants – let them know exactly what happened in the experiment, only exception is if the results would make the participant feel bad about themselves. - Generalizing Laboratory to Life - Everyday experience inspire laboratory research - Need to be mindful of the fact that the laboratory is a simplified and controlled reality 9 - We can distinguish between the content of people‘s thinking and acting (attitudes) and the process by which they think and act (how attitudes affect actions and vice versa for ex). - People of different culture may hold different opinions - ―Although our behaviors may differ, the same social forces influence us.‖ 10 2. The Self in a Social World Social surroundings affect our self-awareness - When we are a minority in a group of people, we become more aware of ourselves - Like being the only girl in a meeting will make the girl more aware of her gender. Self-interest colors our social judgment - When problems happen, we attribute it to other people or external factors - When things go well, we take responsibility for it going well Self-concern motivates our social behavior - We are careful of our appearance because it determines the impression we make on others. - We also monitor the behavior of others and adjust our behavior accordingly. Social relationships help define the self - We change the way we act depending on who we‘re with - We act a particular way with family, a different way with friends and differently with teachers. - Self-Concept  Who am I? - Self-Esteem  My sense of self-worth - Self-Knowledge  How can I explain and predict myself? - Social Self  My roles as a student, family member, and friend; my group identity Self-Concept: Who am I? Self-concept – a person‘s answers to the question, ―Who am I?‖ Your Sense of Self - Some studies suggest that the right hemisphere plays an important role in defining self. 11 - The medial prefrontal cortex, located in a cleft between the hemispheres behind our eyes, becomes more active when we are thinking about ourselves. - Self-schema  beliefs about self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information. - Schemas are mental templates by which we organize our worlds; based on our perceiving ourselves as athletic, overweight, smart etc. - Will evaluate and view others based on the schema central to our self- concept (athletics is central, will notice other people‘s bodies and skills). - Self schemas that make up our self-concepts help us organize and retrieve our experiences Possible Selves - Possible selves  images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future. Development of the social self - The things that influence us and help determine our self-concept:  Our social identity  The comparisons we make with others  Our successes and failures  How other people judge us  The surrounding culture Social Identity - Social Identity  the ―we‖ aspect of our self-concept. The part of our answer to ―Who am I?‖ that comes from our group memberships. - Ex. are things like race, religion, sex, academic major etc. - We are more conscious of our social identity when we are the minority in a group; the only female in a room full of men. 12 Social Comparisons - Experiment with first-year and fourth-year students:  They both seemed to have the same self-evaluations in the beginning  After being shown articles about a ―super-star student,‖ first-year students‘ self-evaluations were higher and fourth-year students‘ self-evaluations were lower.  Experiment demonstrates the fundamental principle that our comparisons to others are a strong determinant of our self-view. - Social Comparisons  evaluating your abilities and opinions by comparing yourself to others. - We compare ourselves to others in order to determine our own self- identity / self-concepts - Social comparisons affect our self-feelings - Students tend to have a higher academic self-evaluation in a school with average students, but when in a academically selective university, they have a lower academic self-evaluation. - We feel caring when others seem callous, handsome when others seem homely, smart when others seem dull - Therefore, we may enjoy other people‘s failure, especially if it‘s someone we have always envied. - We tend to compare ourselves with others who are doing even better - When facing competition, we protect our shaky self-concept by perceiving the competitor as having an advantage Success and failure - Achieving something makes us feel confident - Student that is experiencing academic success believe they are better at school which stimulates them to work harder and achieve more. - Feelings follow reality; 13  University of Waterloo research found that repeating positive self- statements can actually backfire  People with high self-esteem may feel a bit better about themselves but those with lower self-esteem tend to feel worse - Low self-esteem does cause problems as well, more prone to insomnia, drug and alcohol addictions etc. Other people’s judgments - Children who are labeled as ―gifted‖ or ―hardworking‖ tend to incorporate these ideas into their self-concepts and behavior. - The looking-glass self  we perceive ourselves based on how we think others perceive us, or how we imagine that others see us. - We compliment others and restrain our criticism - Leads to self-inflation; more common in Western countries where self and individual achievements are more important then community achievements. - Self-esteem is a way in which we monitor and react to how others appraise us. - We recognize that superficial traits like appearance is what often attracts others. - Self-esteem therefore corresponds more closely with these superficial traits then it does with communal traits like kindness and understanding. - Also depends on communal traits when having those traits make us more attractive in society (kindness and caring in women) - Our self-esteem depends on whether or not we have traits that we believe are important others more then on the traits important to us. Self and Culture - Individualism  the concept of giving priority to one‘s own goals over group goals and defining one‘s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications  Most common in Western cultures. 14  Individualism flourishes when people experience affluence, mobility, urbanism and mass media. - Collectivism  giving priority to the goals of one‘s groups (often one‘s extended family or work group) and defining one‘s identity accordingly  Most common in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.  Interdependent self  construing one‘s identity in relation to others. - Possible to have collectivist American and individualistic Chinese. Culture and Cognition - Studies looking at children; Americans saw just the child they were asked to rate, Japanese saw the expressions of the other children around the child they were asked to rate. - East Asians think more holistically  perceiving and thinking about objects and people in relationships to one another and to their environment. - Asked about purpose of language;  American students more likely to say it allows for self-expression  Korean students more likely to say it helps communicate with others. - Interdependent self  greater sense of belonging with everyone around you such as family, friends and overall community - Collectivist goal of social life is to harmonize with and support one‘s communities - Individualists goal of social life is to enhance one‘s individual self. - Self-concepts adjust to situations: constantly moving then your self becomes most important whereas in the same place all the time, the familiar people are important to your self identity. Culture and Self-Esteem - Self-concept is malleable and changes based on context. 15 - Individualistic cultures; self-esteem is more personal and less relational - Collectivist cultures; self-esteem is related with ―what others think of me and my group‖ - Individualists make comparisons with others in ways to make self feel better while Collectivists make comparisons with others in ways to facilitate self-improvement - Collectivist cultures; conflict takes place between groups - Individualist cultures; breed more crime and divorce between individuals - East meets West  Japanese students after spending a long time in Canada had an increase in personal self-esteem Self-Knowledge - We dismiss factors that matter in our decisions and actions and inflate those that don‘t. - Study with people recording their mood and the weather every day, and most felt the weather didn‘t influence their mood even though it clearly did. - We are remarkably bad predictors of what will make us happy. Predicting Behavior - Friends and family of two people that are dating are better able to predict how long that relationship will last then the two people that are intimately involved in the relationship. - Common problem in behavior prediction is that we underestimate how long it will take us to complete something - Planning Fallacy  the tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task. - Study with Laurier students  asked to predict when they will most likely complete their papers  Most completed three weeks after their ―most realistic‖ estimate and a week later then their ―worst-case-scenario‖ 16 - Study with elections  90% said they would vote, when asked to evaluate if their peers would vote, about 70% said they would. The 70 % correlates more with how many people actually voted. Predicting Feelings - We tend to mispredict our feelings in many situations  Hungry shoppers do more impulse buying  Students were less upset after a breakup then they had originally predicted they would be.  During natural disasters, people predict that they would be sadder based on the number of people that died, but this seems to have no influence on the level of sadness.  Even winning a lottery effect long term happiness less then people assume it would. - Impact bias  overestimating the enduring impact of emotion-causing events.  Overestimating how happy something will make when in reality the happiness we get from an event will make us any more happier then we originally were.  We are more prone to this after negative events: we assume negative events would cause us way more distress then they actually do.  Important because our predictions of future emotions influence our decisions. - Immune neglect  the human tendency to underestimate the speed and the strength of the ―psychological immune system,‖ which enables emotional recovery and resilience after bad things happen.  Major negative events (which activate our psychological defenses) can be less enduringly distressing then minor irritations (which don‘t activate our defenses). The Wisdom and Illusions of Self-Analysis 17 - When the causes of behavior are obvious to an observer, they are obvious to us as well. - We are aware of the results of our thinking but we are unaware of the process that happens - Study with people in a relationship who were asked to predict the future of their relationships  Most were accurate  when asked to list all the good and bad things about their relationship before predicting the future  lead to results that didn‘t correlate with what actually happened in the future.  Verbalized factors that weren‘t as important to the relationship leading to bad predictions - Dual attitudes  differing implicit (automatic) and explicit (consciously controlled) attitudes toward the same object. Verbalized explicit attitudes may change with education and persuasion; implicit attitudes change slowly, with practice that forms new habits. - Implications of research on the limits of our self-knowledge:  Self-reports are often untrustworthy. Errors in self-understanding limit the scientific usefulness of subjective personal reports  Implications to our everyday lives as well  things like personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong. Self-Esteem: How am I? - Self-Esteem  a person‘s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth - Each individual‘s self esteem is based on what they value the most - Some researchers say that people have high self-esteem if they have they value and some say that people with high self-esteem come to value everything about themselves. - Whether or not you think you‘re good at something does predict performance  doing well in math, makes you feel like you‘re good at, therefore likely to do better next test. 18 - Feedback that is true and specific is the best and most useful  ―You‘re good at math‖ is better then ―you‘re great‖ - Poor students when told to feel good about themselves after a bad test ended up doing worse, maybe they thought, ―I‘m already great – why study?‖ Self-Esteem Motivation - Self esteem threats occur among siblings when one sibling is highly more capable then the other. (also occurs more among friends then with strangers) - We often react more positively to upward than downward comparisons to our romantic partners - Social rejection lowers our self-esteem  pain can motivate action – self- improvement and a search for acceptance and inclusion elsewhere. - We try to be greater then others in order to feel good about ourselves  Not everyone can achieve such recognition  that‘s the reason it‘s so valuable  therefore self-esteem can never be wholly unconditional. The “Dark Side” of Self-Esteem - Teen gang leaders, extreme ethnocentrists and terrorists tend to have higher than average self-esteem. - Those with high self-esteem react badly and sometimes violently to failure and social rejection  Wounded pride motivates retaliation (especially dangerous with those that are narcissistic and have high self-esteem) - People with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, and to talk at people rather than with them. - When feeling bad or threatened, low self-esteem people took on a negative view of everything. - Self-esteem, like attitudes, comes in two forms:  Explicit; consciously controlled 19  Implicit; automatic or intuitive  People who have explicitly positive views of themselves but low implicitly, tend to have fragile self-views and tend to become more defensive when uncertain or when facing failure. - Those with self-worth rooted in things like personal virtue had a more secure self-esteem - Focusing less on one‘s self-image and more on developing one‘s talents and relationships eventually leads to a greater well-being. The Self in Action Self-Control - Our self‘s capacity for action has limitations  People who had to exert self-control by eating radishes instead of chocolates were quicker to give up on unsolvable puzzles - Self-control is like a muscle  weaker after exertion, replenished with rest and strengthened by exercise - Energy can be depleted but our self-concepts do influence our behavior  Imagine yourself as being positive and capable and you become more likely to plan and enact a successful strategy. Learned Helplessness vs. Self-Determination - Learned Helplessness  the hopelessness and resignation learned when a human or animal perceives no control over repeated bad events. - On the other hand, if people develop self-discipline in one area of life, it is likely to spill over into other areas as well. - Nursing home experiment  elderly patients constantly treated well by caregivers rated themselves and were rated by others to be further debilitated. The other patients who were given opportunities for choice, and the responsibility to make own choices showed improved alertness, activity and happiness. 20 - Systems of governing/managing people that promote self-efficacy will promote health and happiness  Students who develop sense of control over school gain a greater sense of control over their lives  Prisoners given some control over their environments (switching lights on/off) have less stress, fewer health problems and commit less vandalism.  In all countries studied, people who perceive themselves as having free choice experience greater satisfaction with their lives. - If you try hard enough and keep appositive attitude, you can achieve whatever you dream  If our initial efforts for something succeed, like losing weight or improving grades, our self-efficacy also increases. Self-Serving Bias: Seeing the Self Positively - Self-Serving Bias  the tendency to perceive yourself favorably  We excuse our failures and accept credit for our successes Evaluating the Self - When evaluating ourselves, we view ourselves in a positive light Explanations for Positive and Negative Events - People attribute their success to their ability and effort but they attribute their failure to extern factors such as bad luck or the problem‘s inherent ―impossibility‖ - Self-serving attributions  most potent human biases  a form of self-serving bias; the tendency to attribute positive outcomes to yourself and negative outcomes to other factors. - We are biased against seeing our own bias  We see ourselves as objective and everyone else as biased 21 - In collectivist cultures  individuals are less likely to self-enhance by believing they are better than others Can we all be Better Than Average? - People normally see themselves as better than average in many situations - When men were asked about how often they do housework, they said around 42%, the wives said husbands did around 33%. In actuality men did about 39% of housework. - By defining ambiguous criteria in our own terms, each of us can see ourselves as relatively successful. Unrealistic Optimism - Most humans are more disposed to optimism than pessimism - Many of us have unrealistic optimism about future events partly because our relative pessimism about others‘ fates - Parents extend their unrealistic optimism onto their children - Illusionary optimism makes us more vulnerable  Believing ourselves immune to misfortune causes us to take fewer precautions. - Unrealistic optimism has been on the rise since the 1970s when half of American high school students saw themselves as great workers in the future and to 2006 where 2/3rds believed they would achieve stellar outcomes. - Success in school and beyond requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern False Consensus and Uniqueness - False Consensus Effect  the tendency to overestimate the commonality of one‘s opinions and one‘s undesirable or unsuccessful behaviors. - We overestimate how common our bad behavior is among others 22  As people‘s lives change, they see the world changing; new parents see the world as a more dangerous place, people who go on a diet see more food ads then before  People who have negative stereotypes of others think that many others have the same stereotypes - We‘re also more likely to associate with people who share our attitudes and behaviors - False Uniqueness Effect  the tendency to underestimate the commonality of one‘s abilities and one‘s desirable or successful behaviors  We may see our failings as relatively normal but our virtues as relatively exceptional Temporal Comparison - Temporal Comparison  a comparison between how the self is viewed now and how the self was viewed in the past or how the self is expected to be viewed in the future. - We tend to underrate our distant past self and compliment our recent past self in order to feel good about our present self - Students rated themselves at the beginning of term and at the end of term, rated how they remembered being at the beginning of term  students rated themselves as being much worse at the beginning of term when looking back at themselves. - We look at a positive past self as being closer to us in time and push the negative past self further back in time - People who were popular in high school felt that high school was recent in their past whereas those who weren‘t popular felt that high school is part of their distant past - German students felt that the Holocaust occurred in a more distant past than most American students did. - Tendencies toward self-serving attributions, self-congratulatory comparisons, illusory optimism, and false consensus for our failings are major sources of self-serving bias. 23 Explaining the Self-Serving Bias - One explanation sees the self-serving bias as a by-product of how we process and remember information about ourselves. - We can easily picture ourselves while doing something and are less aware of the times when we ignore something / don‘t do it. - Questing for self-knowledge  motivated to assess our competence - Questing for self-confirmation  motivated to verify our self-conceptions - Questing for self-affirmation  motivated to enhance our self-image - Self-esteem motivation helps power self-serving bias. Reflections on Self-Esteem and Self-serving Bias - Not everyone operates with a self-serving bias; some people do suffer from low self-esteem. - Positive self-esteem does have some benefits. The self-serving bias as adaptive - Self-serving bias helps protect people from depression and helps buffer stress - Positive self-esteem, viewing ourselves as good and secure, even protects us form feeling terror over our eventual death. - Belief in our superiority can motivate us to achieve thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and can sustain a sense of hope in difficult times. The self-serving bias as maladaptive - People who acknowledge their mistakes tend to be happier then those who blame others - Creates disharmony and envy among group members - Failure within a group may lead one person to attribute failure to other members rather then the group as a whole  leads to group falling apart - Group-serving bias  explaining away out-group members‘ positive behaviors; also attributing negative behaviors to their dispositions (while excusing such behavior by one‘s own group) 24  University sorority members perceive those in their sorority as far less likely to be conceited and snobby than those in other sororities. - Pride has long been first among the ―seven deadly sins‖ - False modesty can be a cover for pride in one‘s better-than-average humility - True humility is more like self-forgetfulness than false modestly. It leaves people free to rejoice in their special talents and, with the same honesty, to recognize the talents of others. Self-Presentation: Looking Good to Others - Do people put on a positive face while living with doubt? Self-Handicapping - People sabotage their chance of success deliberately  Partying the night before an interview  Playing video games instead of studying before a big exam - Gives people an excuse for doing bad without hurting their self-esteem - Gives people some sort of external factor to place the blame on when they do poorly - Self-Handicapping  protecting one‘s self-image with behaviors that create a handy excuse for later failure - Experiment where students guessed answers to difficult questions were told they had the best score to date  then offered a drug to either enhance or inhibit performance before answering more similar questions  most chose the inhibiting drug in order to provide them with a handy excuse for anticipated poorer performance Impression Management 25 - Self-presentation  the act of expressing yourself and behaving in ways designed to create a favorable impression or an impression that corresponds to your ideals. - People feel better then they thought they would after putting their best face forward - Social networking sites, like Facebook, provide intense venue‘s for self- presentation  Choosing images, posts, activities and even friends based on how we think they will affect the impression we make to others - Self-monitoring  being attuned to the way you present yourself in social situations and adjusting your performance to create the desired impression  people acting like social chameleons  The self they know differs from the self they show  People who score high in self-monitoring are also less committed to their relationships and more likely to be dissatisfied in their marriages. - Those who score low in self-monitoring are more honest in what they say regardless of their surroundings and may at times come off as an insensitive boor. - We display lower self-esteem then we truly feel  false modesty - Modesty is greater in cultures that value self-restraint such as China and Japan - Westerners tend to take credit for success and attribute failures to external factors - Collectivists tend to share credit for success and accept responsibility for failures. - Despite self-presentational concerns, people worldwide are privately self- enhancing and therefore display quite a bit of self-serving biases. 26 3. Social Beliefs and Judgments - We construct social perceptions and beliefs  We perceive and recall events through the filters of our own assumptions  We judge events, informed by our intuition, by implicit rules that guide our snap judgments, and by our moods.  We explain events, informed by our intuition, by implicit rules that guide our snap judgments, and by our moods.  We explain events by sometimes attributing them to situations, sometimes to the person.  We expect certain events, and our expectation sometimes helps bring them about. - How we perceive, judge, and explain our social worlds and how and to what extent our expectations matter  Main topics covered in this chapter Perceiving Our Social Worlds - Our preconceptions matter in how we perceive and interpret information Priming - Unintended stimuli subtly influencing how we interpret and recall events. - Priming  activating particular associations in memory - Priming experiment reveal how one thought can influence another thought or action without awareness.  Experiment in people shown / primed with age related words walked slower on their way out of the building  Students exposed to the scent of all-purpose cleaner were quicker in identifying cleaning-related words, also kept their desks cleaner while eating a crumbly cookie  Depressed moods prime negative associations 27  Watching a scary movie leads us to interpret furnace noises as possible intruder at home - Priming effects can also be seen when the stimuli are subliminal or too brief to be perceived consciously  like being flashed a word such as ―bread‖ will make us detect a related word such as ―butter‖ more quickly than unrelated words. - Much of our social information processing is automatic. It is unintentional, out of sight and happens without our conscious awareness. Perceiving and Interpreting Events - Our first impressions about others are often correct - Social perceptions are dependent on people, and even a simple stimuli might cause a different reaction in two different people. - Pro-Arab and pro-Israeli students shown killings of civilian refugees at two camps in Lebanon, both groups perceived the networks as hostile to its own side. - People everywhere perceive media and mediators as biased against their position. - Our assumptions about the world can make contradictory evidence seem supportive  After a debate, those who like a particular candidate tend to like them even more while those who disliked the same candidate dislike them even more  both people watched the same debate and were presented with same arguments.  People can perceive and interpret the identical arguments quite differently  Students shown an image of a man  told either he was responsible for barbaric experiments on those in the concentration camp or that he was the leader of the anti-Nazi underground that saved many lives  those told the first statement judged his 28 expression to be cruel while those told the later statement judged his expression as warm and kind. - Construal processes also color others perceptions of us  What we say about others will make people tend to associate traits of the things we say with us  spontaneous trait transference - There is an objective reality, but we view it through the spectacles of our own beliefs, attitudes, and values. Belief Perseverance - It is surprisingly difficult to demolish a falsehood once the person conjures up a rationale for it. - Belief Perseverance  persistence of your initial conceptions, as when the basis for your belief is discredited but an explanation of why the belief might be true survives - Experiment  People told risk-prone people make better or worse firefighters and asked write up an explanation on why  even when information was discredited, people still held their self-generated explanations in regard to firefighters being better if risk-prone or not. - Our explanations survive challenging evidence to the contrary - Explaining why an opposite theory might be true reduces or eliminates belief perseverance - Explaining any alternative outcome, not just the opposite, drives people to ponder various possibilities. Constructing Memories of Ourselves and Our Worlds - We reconstruct our distant past using our present feelings and expectations to combine fragments of information - When researchers told participants to vividly imagine a certain event from their childhood, most times events that didn‘t happen, 1/4 thwill recall the fake event as actually happening 29  The mind sometimes constructs falsehoods in its search for the truth - Misinformation effect  incorporating ‗misinformation‘ into one‘s memory of the event, after witnessing an event and then receiving misleading information about it.  Suggested misinformation may even produce false memories of supposed child sexual abuse Reconstructing Past Attitudes - People who‘s attitudes have changed report that they have had the same attitudes in the past as well - People often exhibit rosy retrospection  they recall mildly pleasant events as more favorably then they experienced them - With any positive experience, some of the pleasure resides in the anticipation, some in the actual experience and some in the rosy retrospection. - We also change the way we recollect other people as our relationships with them changes  people who had steady dating partners recall love at first sight and those who had broken up recall their partner as always being selfish / bad-tempered - Current feelings guide our past memories leading to a downward spiral  Those going through a bad marriage don‘t recall all the good times they had in the beginning, they remember the beginning as also have been bad. Reconstructing Past Behavior - Our memory reconstructs our past predictions (hindsight bias) - Students exposed to message about desirability of tooth brushing  two weeks later when surveyed for another experiment, those who were exposed to the message reported brushing their teeth much more often than those not exposed to the message. - We under-report bad behavior and over-report good behavior 30 - After having spent a lot of money, time and effort on things like self- improvement, many people report as having improved even if they haven‘t. And they do so by believing that they were worse off then they actually were in the past. Judging Our Social Worlds - Social psychologists research more and shed light on how we form judgments by drawing on advances in cognitive psychology in how people perceive, represent and remember events. Intuitive Judgments - Based on priming research, our unconscious controls much of our behavior The Powers of Intuition - Studies regarding our unconscious information processing confirm our limited access to what‘s going on in our minds. - Our thinking is partly controlled and partly automatic - Controlled processing  ―explicit‖ thinking that is deliberate, reflective, and conscious - Automatic processing  ―implicit‖ thinking that is effortless, habitual, and without awareness; roughly corresponds to ―intuition‖ - Automatic processing happens off-stage where reasoning does not go. - Examples of Automatic thinking  Schemas – mental templates that intuitively guide our perceptions and interpretations of our experience  Emotional reactions – happen nearly instantaneously and things reach our emotional control center (the amygdala) before the thinking cortex. 31  Expertise – When we‘re experts at something, we intuitively know the answer to a problem. Like how we recognize a friend‘s voice right after a the first spoken word of a phone convo.  When facing a tough decision, it often pays to take our time, even to sleep on it, and await the intuitive result of our out-of-sight information processing. - We remember some things explicitly (consciously), but some things we remember unconsciously or implicitly without knowing that we do.  Person with brain damage who cannot remember new information, their physician has to constantly reintroduce himself everyday with a handshake  during one such handshake, the physician delivers a shock to the patient‘s hand, even though the patient will not recognize the physician the next day, she will not shake hands with him again.  Blindsight – shown sticks in the part of the vision they cannot see and when asked later about the orientation of the sticks, they were able to remember correctly - Many of our cognitive functions occur automatically, unintentionally, without awareness  ―Our brain knows more than it tells us.‖ The Limits of Intuition - Experiment in patients whose brain hemispheres have been separated  experimenter flashes patient with word like ―walk‖ in their nonverbal right hemisphere, and the patient will get up and walk and their verbal left hemisphere will provide with a plausible explanation like ―I felt like getting a drink‖ - Social psychologists study illusory thinking for what it reveals about normal information processing. Overconfidence 32 - Even after failing in the past, we have more positive expectations for the future - Overconfidence phenomenon  the tendency to be more confident than correct – to overestimate the accuracy of one‘s beliefs - When guessing responses of a roommate, people were correct 68% of the time, but were 78% confident - The most confident people were most likely to be over confident. - We are overconfident in things like discerning if someone is telling the truth or in predicting the history of our dating partner or the activity preference of our roommate. - Incompetence feeds overconfidence - Ignorance of one‘s incompetence occurs mostly on relatively easy- seeming tasks. - Participants saw a person walk into a room, sit, read a newspaper and walk out  had to estimate the person‘s intelligence  estimates from participants correlated with the persons intelligence score (.30) about ask well as did the person‘s own self-estimate (.32) - When predicting long term goals, even people who were 100% confident erred 15% of the time. - We often put too much weight on our current intentions when predicting the future behavior  UW students predicted whether or not they would donate blood and many said they would based on their intentions, but most did not due to their hectic schedules, deadlines or simply forgetting - What causes overconfidence?  People tend to recall their mistaken judgments as times when they were almost right.  Among political experts, and stock market forecasters, mental health workers and sports prognosticators, overconfidence is hard to dislodge. Confirmation Bias 33 - People also tend not to seek info that might disprove what they believe. - Experiment with three numbers and people asked to figure out the rule that the experimenter (Watson) had in mind; 23 out of 29 people convinced themselves of the wrong rule  They then searched for confirming evidence rather than attempting to disconfirm their hunches - Confirmation Bias  a tendency to search for information that confirms one‘s preconceptions. - Our conformation bias is responsible for why our self images are so stable  We seek out friends and partners that we know will convey or increase or self-views of ourselves  A way of self-verification Remedies for Overconfidence - Confidence and competence do not always coincide - Three techniques to reduce overconfidence bias  Prompt feedback o Weather forecasters constantly receive clear, daily feedbacks and this helps them do well in estimating their probable accuracy  Break up a task and think about the different components of it and how long each component would take in order to reduce planning fallacy  When thinking of or making judgments, try to think of one good reason why our judgment of something may be wrong or why something might not work the way we hope for it to. Heuristics: Mental Shortcuts - Heuristics  a thinking strategy that enables quick, efficient judgments Representativeness Heuristics - Representativeness Heuristics  the tendency to presume, sometimes despite the contrary odds, that someone or something 34 belongs to a particular group if resembling (representing) a typical member - The example with 30 engineers and 70 layers and given a short passage of one person most people guessed it was a layer even if they were told that it was 30 lawyers and 70 engineers, they still guessed lawyer Availability Heuristics - Availability Heuristics  a cognitive rule that judges the likelihood of things n terms of their availability in memory. If instances of something come readily to mind, we presume it to be commonplace. - Not always right  example where we hear names of famous women and names of non-famous men, we remember hearing more names of women though we heard equal amount of male and female names. - Experiment where students asked to think about either 6 or 12 times they were assertive  people who were asked 6 rated themselves as being more assertive than those who were able to come up with 12 instances.  Easily thinking about the instances where they were assertive had more influence than the number of instances - Explains why perceived risks badly correlates with real risks - ―probability neglect‖  worrying more about remote possibilities while ignoring higher probabilities (afraid of airplanes even though more people are injured in car accidents  images of airplane crashes are more available than car crashes) Counterfactual Thinking - imagining worse outcomes makes us feel better and imagining better outcomes helps us improve in the future - Counterfactual Thinking  imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened but didn‘t  Olympic gold medal stand: bronze medalists who can more easily imagine not getting a medal are happy with their medal while silver 35 medalists who can
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