Chapter 13: Social Psychology

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYA02H3
Professor
Steve Joordens
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 13 – Social Psychology - SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - the study of the causes and consequences of sociality - social behavior – how people interact with each other and how social behavior solves a problem that every living being faces - social influence – how people change each other and people have 3 basic motivations that make them susceptible to influence - social cognition – how people understand each other and how people use info about another person’s affiliations and actions to make judgments and to make mistakes Social Behavior – Interacting with People - we (humans) are the only ultra – social species whose societies consist of genetically unrelated individuals - much of our social behavior revolves around 2 basic goals Survival: The Struggle for Resources Aggression - AGGRESSION => is behavior whose purpose is to harm another - FRUSTRATION – AGGRESSION HYPOTHESIS => suggests that animals aggress when and only when their goals are frustrated - psychologists argue that the real cause of aggressive behavior is negative affect and that the inability to reach a goal is just one of the many things that brings about the negative affect - both biology and culture play a role in determining if and when people will aggress Biology and Aggression - best predictor of aggression is gender - males are more aggressive than females - studies suggest that aggression is strongly correlated w/ the presence of testosterone - it seems to promote aggression y making people feel concerned w/ their status, powerful and confident in their ability to prevail - one of the reliable ways to elicit aggression in males is to challenge their status or dominance - men with high self – esteem are most prone to aggression because such men are likely to perceive others actions as a challenge to their inflated sense of their own status - women’s aggression tends to be more premeditated than impulsive and is more likely to be focused on attaining or protecting a resource than their status Culture and Aggression - violent crime in the U.S is much more prevalent in the South where men are taught to react aggressively when they feel their status has been challenged - variation over time and geography shows that culture can play an important role in determining whether our innate capacity for aggression will result in aggressive behavior Cooperation - COOPERATION => behavior by 2 or more individuals that leads to mutual benefit Risk and Trust - cooperation is risky – example- a game called “the prisoner’s dilemma” - to minimize the risks you can do 2 things 1. learn how to spot a cheater 2 you can react strongly when you detect someone cheating Groups and Favoritism - GROUP => a collection of people who have something in common that distinguishes them from others - PREJUDICE => a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their group membership - DISCRIMINATION => a positive or negative behavior toward another person based on their group membership - one of the defining characteristics of the groups is that their members are positively prejudiced toward other members and tend to discriminate in their favor - simply knowing that “I’m one of us and not one of them” is sufficient to produce favoritism - because group members favor other group members, cooperation within the group is less risky - groups often give too little weight to the opinions of members who are experts and too much weight to the opinions of members who happen to be high in status - because of that groups underperform individuals in a wide variety of tasks - costs of groups go beyond bad decisions because people in groups sometimes do terrible things that none of their members would do alone - DE-INDIVIDUATION => occurs when immersion in a group causes people to become less concerned with their personal values - people are most likely to consider their personal values when their attention is focused on themselves and being assembled in groups draws our attention to others and away from ourselves - DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY => occurs when individuals feel diminished responsibility for their actions because they are surrounded by others who are acting the same way - one of the best predictors of a person’s general well being is the quality and extent of their social relationships and group memberships - people who are excluded from groups are typically anxious, lonely, depressed and at increased risk for illness and premature death - being excluded from a group activates areas of the brain that are normally activated by physical pain Altruism - ALTRUISM => is behavior that benefits another w/o benefiting oneself - KIN SELECTION => the process by which evolution selects for individuals who cooperate their relatives - RECIPROCAL ALTRUISM => behavior that benefits another w/ the expectation that those benefits will be returned in the future Reproduction: The Quest for Immortality - all animals have 2 goals: to survive and to reproduce Selectivity - people select their sexual partners – women tend to be more selective than men - one reason why women are more choosier than men is that sex is potentially more costly for women than for men - men produce billions of sperms and their ability to conceive a child is not affected where as women if got pregnant will have to borne the costs of pregnancy - biology may push women to be choosier than men but culture can push just as hard - when cultures lower the costs of sex for women by providing access to effective birth control, by promoting the financial independence of women, or by adopting communal styles of child – rearing, women would become less selective - the higher the risk, the more selective people tend to be Attraction - how do we decide to have our children w/ or have sex w/ - attraction is caused by a range of factors that can be divided in to the below categories Situational Factors - one of the best predictors of any kind of interpersonal relationship is the physical proximity of the people involved - the likelihood of meeting a potential partner increases w/ proximity - MERE EXPOSURE EFFECT => the tendency for the frequency of exposure to a stimulus to increase liking - people can misinterpret physiological arousal as a sign of attraction Physical Factors - the first quality people learn about other people is their physical appearance - appearance influences attraction - different cultures have different standards of beauty. For example => Body Shape: male bodies are considered most attractive when they approximate an inverted triangle (broad shoulders w/ a narrow waist and hips) and female bodies are attractive when they approximate an hourglass (broad shoulders and hips w/ a narrow waist) => Symmetry: human faces and bodies are generally considered more attractive when they are bilaterally symmetrical – when the left half is a mirror image of the right => Age: female faces are considered more attractive when they have immature features but male faces are considered more attractive when they have mature features - psychologists argue that nature has designed us to be attracted to people who have good genes and will be good parents - the features we find attractive just so happen to be reliable indicators of these 2 things. For example: => Body Shape: testosterone causes male bodies to become “inverted triangles” just as estrogen causes female bodies to become “hourglass” -body shape is an indicator of male dominance and female fertility => Symmetry: both symmetry and averageness are signs of genetic health => Age: younger women are generally more fertile than older women whereas older men generally have more resources than younger men Psychological Factors - once people begin interacting they quickly move beyond appearances - people’s inner qualities – their personalities, points of view, attitudes and beliefs, values, ambitions and abilities play an important role in determining their sustained interest in each other - we are most attracted to people who are generally similar to us on most psychological dimensions - similarity is attractive because -> its easy to interact w/ people who are similar to us because we can instantly agree on a wide range of issues -> when someone shares our attitudes and beliefs, we feel a bit more confident that those attitudes and beliefs are correct -> if we like people who share our attitudes and beliefs, then we can reasonably expect them to like us Relationships - human infants are born before they are fully developed and thus need a great deal of care - they are helpless creatures that require years of intense care before they can fend for themselves – i.e why adults need to be in long – term, committed relationships - PASSIONATE LOVE => an experience involving feelings of euphoria, intimacy, and intense sexual attraction - COMPANIONATE LOVE => an experience involving affection, trust, and concern for a partner’s well – being - passionate love is what brings people together; it has a rapid onset, reaches its peak quickly and begins to diminish within just a few months - companionate love is what keeps people together; it takes some time to get started, grows slowly and need never stop growing - although feelings of love, happiness and satisfaction may lead us to marriage, the lack of those feelings doesn’t seem to lead us to divorce - relationships along with benefits also offer costs such as increased responsibility, increased conflict and loss of freedom - SOCIAL EXCHANGE => the hypothesis that people remain in relationships only as long as they perceive a favorable ratio of costs to benefits - research suggests that this hypothesis is true w/ 3 important caveats: 1. a person’s COMPARISON LEVEL => refers to the cost – benefit ratio that people believe they deserve or could attain in another relationship - people compare their cost-benefit ratios to the alternatives - a cost-benefit ratio seems favorable when we feel that it is the best we can or should do 2. people may want their cost-benefit ratios to be high, but they also want them to be about the same as their partner’s - most people prefer EQUITY => a state of affairs in which the cost-benefit ratios of 2 partners are roughly equal 3. relationships can be thought of as investments into which people pour resources such as time, money and affection and research suggests that after people have poured significant resources into their relationships, they are more willing to settle for less favorable cost – benefit ratios Social Influence: Controlling People - SOCIAL INFLUENCE => the ability to control another person’s behavior - people have 3 basic motivations that make them susceptible to social influence 1. hedonic motive – people are motivated to experience pleasure and to avoid experiencing pain 2. approval motive – people are motivated to be accepted and to avoid being rejected 3. accuracy motive – people are motivated to believe what is right and to avoid believing what is wrong The Hedonic Motive: Pleasure Is Better Than Pain - pleasure seeking is the most basic of all motives and social influence often involves creating situations in which others can achieve more pleasure by doing what we want them to do than by doing something else - our behavior in influenced by offered rewards and threatening punishments The Approval Motive: Acceptance Is Better Than Rejection - we depend on others for safety, sustenance and solidarity and thus we are powerfully motivated to have others like us, accept us, and approve of us Normative Influence - unwritten rules that govern social behavior are called NORMS => customary standards for behavior that are widely shared by members of a culture - NORMATIVE INFLUENCE => occurs when another person’s behavior provides in
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