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Western University
Psychology 1000

Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context Social Thinking and Perception Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behaviour - attributio: judgements about the causes of our own and other people’s behavior and outcomes - it will influence our subsequent behaviour and outcomes - eg. Did I get an A because it was hard work or an easy test? - if I believe it was hard work, I would feel prouder and continue to exert more effort Personal versus Situational Attributions - personal (internal) attributions infer that people’s behaviour is caused by their characteristics - Bill insulted Carol becasue he is a rude person - situational (external) attributions infer that aspects of the situation cause a behaviour - Bill was provoked to insult Carol - three types of information helps us determine the attribution we make: - consistency: is the information gain highly consistent - distinctiveness: is the person’s response distinctive - consensus: is there consensus on the acquired information - if the three are high we usually make a situational attribution - if consistency is high and the other two are low then we make a personal attribution - but sometimes people make snap judgements that bias their attributions Attribution Biases - fundamentalattributionerror: we underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the role of personal factors when explaning other people’s behaviour - eg. we expect actors to have the same personal traits as the characters they play - applies to how we perceive other peoples behaviour, not our own - eg. we think of the fast driver as a manic and the slow as a moron but we don’t think of ourselves as the moron or manic - because we are more aware of our situation when we make judgements - perceptual principle of figure ground relationship - when we see other people they are the figure that stands out from the background - when we behave we are not watching ourselves - when we watch ourselves we become figures - fundamental attribution error is reduced when people reflect on their judgement or is highly motivated to be careful - self-servingbias:making relatively mroe personal attributions for successes and more situational attributions for failures Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - when we explain our own behaviour - changes based on one’s psychology - eg. depressed people don’t take enough credit for success and too much for failures Culture and Attribution - culture influences how we see the social world - eg. fundamental attribution error is a western thing - also influences how we attribute our own behaviour - chinese less likely to take credit for successful social interactions than American students but accept failures more - also affects the type of attributions we make - east asians thinks the world is holistic so they make more complex view about the causes of behaviour Forming and Maintaining impressions Primacy versus Recency: Are First Impressions More Important? - primaryeffect: tendency to attach more importance to the initial information that we learn about a person - new information can change our opinion but it has to work harder to overcome the initial impression - we are more alert to the information we receive first - the information we first receive influences how we perceive the later pieces of information - primary effects can decrease and recency effects may occur - recency effects: gibing greater weight to the most recent information Mental Sets and Schemas: Seeing what we Expect to see - perceiving objects or people, the same stimulus can be “seen” in different ways based on our mental set - our readiness to perceive the world in a particular way can shape how we perceive a stimulus - mental sets are created by schemas - stereotype:generalized belief about a group or category of people - powerful type of schema - with premeditated beliefs it will affect how we see a person or situation Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Creating What We Expect to See - self-fulfillingproph: occurs when we see what we expect to see - usually unconscious - eg. if you expect someone to be cold and aloof, you may change your behaviour that encourages that kind of response Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - so our initial expectations can influence how we behave toward them, thereby shaping their behaviour in a way that ultimately confirms our expectations Attitudes and Attitude Change - attitudeis a positive or negative evaluative reaction toward a stimulus, like a person, action, object or concept Do Our Attitudes Influence our Behaviour - attitudes influence behaviour when counteracting situational factor are weak - eg. if there is financial incentives, conformity and obedience pressures, people may behave in ways that are at odds with their inner convictions - theoryofplannedbehaviour: our intention to engage in a behaviour is strongest when we have a positive attitude toward that behaviour, when subjective norms (what other people think we should do) support our attitudes and when we believe that is behaviour is under our control - attitudes have a stronger influence on behaviour when we are aware of them and when they are strongly held - eg. when we come up with the attitude through first hand experience instead of through other people - or we consciously think about our attitudes before we act - general attitudes are better at predicting general classes of behaviour and specific attitudes are better at predicting specific behaviours - eg general attitudes about religion does not predict specific religious behaviours like frequency of praying before meals Does Behaviour influence our Attitudes - we can develop attitudes that are consistent with our behaviour - self- justification - theoryofcognitivedissonance : people strive for consistency in their cognitions - when two or more cognitions contradict one another (I am a truthful person and I just old another person a lie) the person experiences an uncomfortable state of tension that’s known as cognitive dissonance - people were given 1 and $20 to lie about an experiement - the people who were given $20 were able to say that they had lied for money to justify their behaviour and so there was no reason to say the experiment was more fun - people who got paid only $1 can’t really justify lying for money so they rank the experiment a little more fun so they didn’t really lie - therefore they changed their attitude about the task to bring it more into line with how they had behaved - behaviour that is inconsistent with our attitude is counterattitudinal behaviour and it produces dissonance if we perceive that our actions were freely chosen rather than coerced - dissonance is maximized when it threatens our self worth Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - dissonance does not always lead to attitude change - they can reduce dissonance by rationalizing their attitude or behaviour wasn’t important with external justification or make excuses - eg. drinking is bad and so they justify it by saying “other people drink more” - people use counterattitudinal behaviours to try to change people’s attitudes - eg. telling university students to write a paper supporting increase in tuition - self-perception - self-perceptiontheory: we make inferences about our own attitudes by observing how we behave - eg. by telling the students the experiment was enjoyable for $1 deep down you must really think the experiment was enjoyable - therefore this theory says that attitude is not produced by cognitive dissonance but we simply observe our behaviour and infer how we must have felt to have behaved like that - both self-perception theory and cognitive dissonance theory predict that behaviour will produce attitude change - but dissonance theory assumes that we experience heightened physiological arousal (tension produced by dissonance) - it does appear that in some instances we do - and when people experienced dissonance from a placebo, they didn’t change their behaviour - therefore dissonance theory is the better explanation to why people behave in ways that contradict their attitudes - but when counterattitudinal behaviour does not threaten their self worth or they do not have strong attitudes to start with, the behaviour is less likely to create significant arousal - but people still may alter their attitudes - in this case the self-perception theory is the better theory - thus both theories are correct under different circumstances Persuasion - three components of persuation: 1. The Communicator - communicatorcredibility: how believable the communicator is - often the key to effective persuation - credibility measured through expertise and trustworthiness - most effect communicator is on that seems to be an expert but also unbiased and advocates a view that is contrary to their self interest - perceived expertise is very important - communicators who are good looking and similar to us persuade us more effectively Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context 2. The Message - two sided refutational approach is most effective - especially when audience initially disagrees - they will see it as being less biased - present a moderate degree of discrepancy from their viewpoint - under certain conditions messages that persuade by arousing fear is effective - best when evokes moderate fear and provides people with feasible ways to reduce the threat - if the message invokes too much fear, people may deny the message or the communicator’s credibility to reduce anxiety 3. The Audience • centralrouteofpersuasionhappens when peple think carefully about the message and are influenced because they find the arguments compelling • attitudes from this usually lasts longer, have a deeper foundation and predict future behaviour better • we process this way when it is personally relevant • not always the case • people differ in need for cognition • people who have a high need follow central route • uncertainty oriented people look for information so they follow central • peripheralroutetopersuasionis when people do not scrutinize the message but are influenced mostly by other factors, such as a speaker’s attractiveness or a message’s emotional appeal • people who prefer not to spend much mental effort will be affected by the peripheral route to persuasion • certainty oriented people avoid looking for information so they rely on the peripheral information Social Influence The Mere Presence of Others - socialfacilitation: an increased tendency to perform one’s dominant response in the presence of others - the presence of others increases our arousal - as the arousal increases, we become more likely to preform our dominant response - when the task is difficult and we are trying to learn it, our dominant response is to make errors - but when the task is easy our dominant response is to do it correctly - this is when doing it infront of others improves performance - social facilitation occurs in many species Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context Social Norms: The Rules of the Game - socialnorms: shared expectations about how people should think, feel, and behave and they are the cement that binds social systems together - some are laws but many are unspoken - socialrole: a set of norms that characterizes how people in a given social position ought to behave - eg. roles of students, professor an spouse have different behaviour expectations - role conflict is when the norms accompanying different roles clash - eg. students who are also mothers - norms and roles can influence behaviour so strongly that they can compel a person to act differently - standford students asked to play guards and prison innmate and the people playing the guards became very violent Culture and Norm Formation - when people are placed in a group, individual judgements combine and a group norm is formed - even when removed from the group after a period of time, each person reflected their group norm - when humans are placed together, they seem to develop common standards for behaviour and judgement Conformity and Obedience - norms only influence behaviour if people conform - without conformity there would be social chaos - therefore social systems exert overt and subtle pressures for conformity Why do People Conform? - informationalsocialinfluen: we believe that they have accurate knowledge and what they are doing is “right” so we follow the opinions or behaviour of these people - normativesocialinfluenc: when we conform to obtain rewards that come from being accepted by other people and to avoid their rejection Factors that Affect Conformity - group size - conformity increased as group size increased but only to a certain extent (up till 4 or 5) - presence of a dissenter - when one confederate disagreed with others this reduced conformity - even when it was incorrect - incentive - if it is an obvious answer, conformity decreases - if the task is hard, conformity increases as incentive gets higher Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - culture - collectivist cultures have higher conformity than individualistic cultures Minority Influence - majority influence is important but sometimes a minority of the group’s members can influence the majority’s behaviour - the minority must be highly committed, remain independent in the face of majority pressure and be consistent over time, but appear to have an open mind - but if they appear to unreasonable or negative, it will cause the majority to shit even further away Obedience to Authority - obedience can be good or bad - copilot obeying the pilot is good - the Nazi war criminals obeying their orders killed thousands so that was bad Factors that Influence Destructive Obedience - romoteness of the victim - obedience was greater when the learner was out of sight - when the teacher and learner were in the same room the obedience dropped - when the teacher had to force the learner the obedience dropped even lower - closeness and legitimacy of the authority figure - highest when authority figure was close and perceived as legitimate - Cog in a wheel - obedience increases when somebody else does all or part of the dirty work - less obedience if they were fully responsible for the outcome - Personal characteristics - differences were weak or nonexistent - eg. gender, education, military service history, occupations, religious affiliations The Dilemma of Obedience: When Conscience Confronts Malevolent Authority - most people obeyed even though their conscience was against it - especially when they were deemed to be not responsible Lesson Learned: From the Holocaust to Airline Safety - by arranging situations appropriately, most people can be induced to follow orders from an authority figure they perceive as legitimate, even when it harms innocent people - in holocaust it was easy because: - cogs in a wheel: they weren’t pull the switch that released the gas they performed other tasks - victims were romote Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - Hitler’s subordinate said he and Hitler would take responsibility - it is good for copilots to obey pilots but sometimes its better for them to speak up - lots of flight accidents could have been prevented if they did Detecting and Resisting Compliance Techniques - persuaders have compliance techniques: strategies that make you say yes - normofreciprocity: expectation that when others treat us well, we should respond in kind - so they do something nice hoping you would buy whatever they are selling - doorinthefacetechnique : makes a large request they believe you would reject, hence door in the face, and then makes a smaller one - refusing the first one may produce guilt so we agree to the second - also we feel the persuader compromised so we feel complied to agree - footinthedoortechnique : makes a small request to get their foot in the door, then asks for a larger one - lowballing: a persuader gets you to commit some action and then before you can perform it, they increase the cost of that same behaviour - eg, tries to sell a car for 8,000 then says manager says it has to be 400 more but its still good - since you already were ready to make the commitment it makes it easier to rationalize the added cost or you may feel obligated to the person you already made the commitment to Crowd Behaviour and Deindividuation - deindividuati: a loss of individuality that leads to disinhibited behaviour - a crowd of people encouraging a person to jump off a roof - genocides - anonymity to outsiders was the key of this - it make an individual less identifiable to people outside the group and so that reduces the feeling of accoutability - this enhances the individual’s tendency to focus on their identity within the group which makes them more responsive to group norms - therefore they would be more likely to encourage a person to jump especially if the group is large and it is dark outside - more anonymity, less accountability more deindividuation Group Influences on Performance and Decision Making Social Loafting: Failing to Pull Your Own Weight - socialloafting: tendency for people to expend less individual effort when working in a group than when working alone - happens in cognitive tasks too Chapter 13- Behaviour in a Social Context - may be because of a collective effort model: on a collective task people will put forth effort only to the ext that they expect their effort to contribute to obtaining a valued goal - happens when - person doesn’t feel they are being monitored - or goal has less value to the person - group is less important than the person - task is simple and the person’s input is redundant with that of other group members - fatigue - more common in all male than all female or mixed sex - people from individualistic cultures - social compensation is when people work harder in a group - happens when they expect their colleagues don’t have enough ability or will slack off Group Polarization: Going to Extremes - grouppolarization: when a group of like-minded people discuss an issue, the average opinion of the group members tends to become more extreme - reflect normative social influence: individuals motivated to be more extreme to gain approval - informational social influence: during group discussions people hear arguments supporting their positions that they didn’t think of before so it makes their original arguments seem even more valid Groupthink: Suspending Critical Thinking - groupthink: the tendency for group members to suspend critical thinking because they are striving to seek agreement - most likely to occur when group - is under high stress - is insulated from outside input - has a directive leader that promotes their personal agenda - has high cohesion, reflecting a spirit of closeness and ability to work well together - symptoms - illusion of invulnerability (overestimates itself)
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