social psychology

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

Chapter 16: Social Behaviour Introduction Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms establishes equality before and under the law and equal protection and benefits of the law o Provides the standard for treatment of persons in Canada o Of critical important when considering racism, stereotyping, and prejudice which occurs at all levels in Canada 1/6 Canadians reported being victims of racism Race and ethnicity emerge as the most common cause of reported hate crimes Blacks are the most common target of racially oriented hate crimes Jews are the most frequent victims of religion based hate crimes Aboriginals often been targets of racism and stereotyping Ethnic composition of Canada is changing but there is also an increase in the visible minorities o Increase in visible minorities resulted from immigration o Members of visible minorities are often targets of racism Emigrating from another country may challenge immigrants to weigh traditional values against the new values they find Social Psychology: branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by others Social psychologists study how people are affected by actual, imagined, or implied presence of others Social psychologists often study individual behaviour in a social context Six broad topics of social psychology: Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Others Our impressions of others are affected by variety of factors including physical appearance Solomon Asch demonstrated the importance that central traits can have on impressions we form of others Person perception: process of forming impression of others Impressions are often inaccurate because of many biases and fallacies that occur in person perception Effects of Physical Appearance studies have shown that judgments of others personality are often swayed by their appearance, specially their physical attractiveness people tend to ascribe desirable personality characteristics (more sociable, friendly, warm and well adjusted) to those who are good looking in reality, research shows that there is little correlation between attractiveness and personality traits one reason that people inaccurately correlate good looks with personality is that extremely attractive people are vastly overrepresented in media where they are mostly portrayed in highly favourable ways people have surprisingly strong tendency to view good looking people are more competent that less attractive people o this bias works in the favour of good looking people as they tend to get better jobs and earn higher salaries than those who are less good looking baby faced features (large eyes, smooth skin) viewed as being more honest and trustworthy, relatively warm, submissive, helpless and nave o however, no association has been found between baby-faced features and these traits studies indicate that social perception based on facial appearance are formed in a blink of an eye ; studies show that it takes a tenth of a second to draw inferences about people based on facial features Cognitive Schemas people end to categorize one another such labels reflect use of cognitive schemas in person perception schemas: cognitive structures that guide information processing social schemas: organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people depend on social schemas because the schemas help them to efficiently process and store the wealth of information that they take in about others in their interactions people routinely place one another in categories, and these categories influence the process of person perception Stereotypes special types of schemas defn: widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group most common stereotypes in our society are based on sex, age, and membership in ethnic/occupational groups stereotyping is a cognitive process that is frequently automatic and that saves time and effort required to get to know people individually conservation of energy often comes at cost in terms of accuracy broad overgeneralizations that ignore diversity among members of group and imply inaccurate perception of people Example: Group of girls stereotyped to be fashion conscious. This is not necessarily true, but it is more likely for them than others to be fashion conscious Stereotypes make people think in terms of slanted probabilities, so they are more likely to imply their expectations (the stereotype that they hold) when they meet people o Perception is subjective and people see what they want to see our perception of others is subject to self-fulfilling prophecy o This was clearly demonstrated in a classic study by Word, Zanna, & Cooper (1974). (Mark Zanna, a professor of psychology at the University of Waterloo, received the CPAs Donald O. Hebb Award in 1993.) The research had two studies. In the first study, researchers had white undergraduate males interview either a black or white job applicant. The applicant was, in fact, an experimental accomplice or confederate. It was found that when the job applicant was black, the interviewers tended to sit farther away, end the interview more quickly, and make more speech errors (e.g., stuttering, stammering). Clearly, then, the white interviewers changed how they acted depending on the race of the interviewee. In interviewing a white accomplice, they adopted what was referred to as an immediate style (i.e., sitting closer, more eye contact), but when they interviewed a black accomplice they used a nonimmediate style (i.e., sitting farther away, making more speech errors, looking away). In the second study, Word, Zanna, and Cooper attempted to find out how it would feel to have someone behave toward you in a nonimmediate style. In the study, white experimental accomplices interviewed other white students while adopting either the immediate or nonimmediate style. Students who had been interviewed in the nonimmediate style seemed more anxious and did not perform as well in the interview. The study was designed to show the operation of self-fulfilling prophecy. If you hold strong beliefs about the characteristics of another group, you may behave in such a way so as to bring about these characteristics. If you believe, for example, that all professors do is read books, the next time you sit next to a professor on a bus, all you might ask her about is the books she has read. If she is like most people, she can report back to you on the latest book of fiction she has read. If things go like this, then you may leave the situation believing that, yes indeed, professors only read books. However, because of your stereotypes, you may have failed to find out how much she likes rap music. Subjectivity and Bias in Person Perception Stereotypes and other schemas create biases in person perception that lead to confirmation of peoples expectations about others People not only see what they expect to see, but overestimate how often they see it Illusory correlation: occurs when people estimate that they have encountered more confirmations of an association between social traits than they have actually see Tend to underestimate number of disconfirmations that they encountered; ex. I have never met an honest lawyer Takes only instance of unusual/memorable behaviour of a stranger to create illusory correlation between that behaviour that the group the stranger belongs to Illusory correlations contribute to stereotyping Memory processes can contribute to confirmatory biases in person perception People selectively recall facts that fit their schemas/ stereotypes o Ex. Cohen Experiment: People showed a video. In on video, the group was told that the actress was a librarian and the other was told that she was a waitress. The actress was listening to classical music, drinking beer and watching TV. When participants were asked to recall the video, people remembered activities that were consistent with the stereotypes of librarians and waitresses. Subjects who thought that she was a waitress recalled her drinking beer and those who thought she was a librarian recalled her listening to classical music plenty evidence that our perceptions of other might be characterized by bias o one explanation- evolutionary principles human tendency to automatically categorize others o ancestors felt the need to quickly separate friends from enemies o evolutionary theorists argue that humans are programmed by evolution to immediately classify people as members of either: ingroup: group that one belongs to and ident
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