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Chapter 13

PSYA02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Stanley Milgram, Stereotype Threat, Social Cognition

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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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
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 => 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
- 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
- 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
- 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

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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
- 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
- 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
- DEINDIVIDUATION => 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

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- being excluded from a group activates areas of the brain that are normally
activated by physical pain
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
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