PSY 1102 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Ingroups And Outgroups, Groupthink, Deindividuation

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18 Oct 2014

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PSY1102- Chapter 14- Social Psychology:
Social Thinking:
- Social Psychology: The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and
related to one another
- Social psychologists study the social influences that explain why the same person
acts differently in different situations
The Fundamental Attribution Error:
- Social behavior arises from social cognition
- Fritz Heider proposed an attribution theory
- Attribution Theory: The theory that we explain someone’s behavior by crediting
either the situation or the persons disposition
oWe can attribute behavior based on disposition or situation
- Some attributions are valid because people have enduring personality traits
- Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency for observers, when analyzing
another’s behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to
overestimate the impact of person disposition
- Study proved that people attribute someones behavior to personal disposition
even when told that their behavior was situational
- Fundamental attribution error appears more often in some cultures than in others
oIndividualistic Westerners more often attribute behavior to peoples
personal traits
oEast Asian cultures are somewhat more sensitive to the power of the
- We all commit the fundamental attribution error
- When we explain our own behavior, we’re sensitive to how behavior changes
with the situation
- We’re sensitive to the power of the situation when we explain the behavior of
people we know well
- We’re most likely to commit the fundamental attribution error when a stranger
acts badly
- When taking another persons point of view into consideration, people become
more aware of their behaviors and the causes
- The way we explain others actions can have real-life effects.
oPeople must decide whether to attribute traits to certain things
- Our attributions have real consequences
Attitudes and Actions:
- Attitudes: Feelings, often influenced by our beliefs that predispose us to respond
in a particular way to objects, people, and events
- If we believe someone is threatening us, we may feel fear and anger towards a
person and act defensively
- Attitudes affect our actions, and actions affect our attitudes
- Public policies affect public policies
- Persuasion efforts generally take two forms:
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oPeripheral Route Persuasion: Doesn’t’ engage systematic thinking,
produces fast results as people respond to incidental cues and make snap
oCentral Route Persuasion: offers evidence and arguments aimed to trigger
favorable thoughts
Occurs mostly when people are naturally analytical or involved in
the issue
- People who try to persuade us are trying to influence our behavior by changing
our attitudes
- Attitudes are more likely to affect behavior when external influences are minimal,
and when the attitude is stable, specific to the behavior, and easily recalled.
- Many studies show that attitudes follow behavior
- Foot-in-the-door-phenomenon: The tendency for people who have first agreed to
a small request to comply later with a larger request
- Many cases have shown that people can convince people into act against their
- The attitude-follows-behavior principle works with good deeds as well
- Racial attitudes also follow behavior
- Role: A set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the
position ought to behave
- When people adopt a new role, they strive to follow the social prescriptions
- What began as play acting can easily become you
- Famous example: Zimbardo study
- Role playing can train torturers
- When we become aware that our attitudes and actions don’t coincide, we
experience tension, or cognitive dissonance
- Cognitive Dissonance Theory: The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort
(dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent. For example,
when we become aware that our attitudes and our actions clash, we can reduce the
resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes
oCreated by Leon Festinger
- Cognitive dissonance theory says that we often bring our attitudes into line with
our actions
- The pressure to resist dissonance helps explain the evolution of American
attitudes towards the US invasion of Iraq
- Some people revise their memories in order to reduce dissonance
- The attitudes-follow-behavior principle has a heartening implication- we can’t
directly control all our feelings but we can influence them by altering our
- Cruel acts shape the self. But so do acts of good will. Act as though you like
someone, and you soon may.
- Changing our behavior can change how we think about others and how we feel
about ourselves
Social Influence:
- The power of social influence is the major lesson in social psychology
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- The social influence can be seen in our conformity, obedience to authority, and
our group behavior.
- Advertisers, fund raisers, and campaign workers use social influence to their
Conformity- Complying with Social Pressures:
- Behaviour is contagious
- We’re natural mimics who unconsciously imitate others expressions, postures,
and voice tones
- Chameleon Effect:
oChartrand and Bargh
oPeople tended to copy what others were doing
- Automatic mimicry helps us to empathize and explains why studies of groups of
British nurses/accountants have revealed mood linkage
- Suggestibility and mimicry and lead to tragedy:
oCopycat threats immediately after the Columbine shooting
- Social psychologists have conducted experiments on group pressure and
- Conformity: Adjusting our behaviour or thinking to coincide with a group
- Suggestibility and mimicry are subtle types of conformity
- Asch devised a test to study conformity:
oPeople conforming to other people’s visual perceptions- people answering
alone had a variety of answers whereas people answering in a group
tended to have similar answers
- Studies have shown that there are certain times when we are more likely to
conform. We
oAre made to feel incompetent or insecure
oAre in a group of at least 3 people
oAre in a group where everyone else disagrees
oAdmire the group’s status and attractiveness
oHave not made a prior commitment to any response
oKnow that others in the group will observe our behavior
oAre from a culture that encourages respect for social standards
- We frequently conform to avoid rejection and gain approval
- Normative Social Influence: Influence resulting from a persons desire to gain
approval or avoid disapproval
- We’re sensitive to social norms because there can be a high price for being
- Sometimes we conform because we want to be right
- Informational Social Influence: Influence resulting from ones willingness to
accept others opinions about reality
- Whether conformity is good or bad depends on our culturally influenced values
Obedience- Following Orders:
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