PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Kin Selection, Amygdala, Subtyping

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17 Apr 2012
Abu Ghraib jail abuse
Standford Prison study
Attitudes: the evaluation of objects, events, or ideas. Central to social psychology. Shaped by social context and play imp. Role in how we evaluate and
interact w/ other ppl
We Form Attitudes through Experience and Socialization
o Direct experience of or exposure to things provides info that shapes attitudes.
In gral ppl develop negative attitudes about new objects > quickly than they develop + attitudes
Typically, the > a person is exposed to something, the more he or she tends to like it.
Mere exposure effect: process where greater exposure to the item and therefore > familiarity with it causes ppl to have
more + attitudes about the item
o Attitudes can be conditioned… advertisers often use classical conditioning
Can also be conditioned through operant conditioning
**check distinction b/w classical and operant conditioning
Also shaped through socialization
So attitudes can be shaped by classical and operant conditioning and socialization
Behaviors are Consistent w/ Strong Attitudes
In gral… the stronger and > personally relevant the attitude, the > likely it will predict behavior, be consistent over time and be
resistant to change
The > specific the attitude, the more predictive it is
Those formed through direct experience also tend to predict behavior better
Attitude accessibility: ease w/ which a person can retrieve memories related to an attitude. Predicts behavior consistent w/ the
Explicit attitudes: attitudes that ppl can report
Implicit attitudes: attitudes that influence our feelings and behavior @ an unconscious level. Also revealed in ppl’s behavior
Implicit Association Test: rxn time test that can identify implicit attitudes. Measures how quickly we associate concepts or objects
w/ + or words. ** measure of racism
Discrepancies Lead to Dissonance
o Cognitive dissonance: an uncomfortable mental state due to conflicts b/w attitudes or b/w attitudes and behavior. Theory proposed by Leon
Festinger. One of most important in experimental social psychology
Ex. Smoking when they know it might kill.
Assumption: that dissonance causes anxiety and tension and therofre motivates ppl to reduce the dissonance and relieve
Grally, ppl reduce dissonance by chanign their attitudes or behaviors; they sometimes also rationalize or trivialize the
o Post decisional dissonance:
= motivates the person to focus on one schoo’s – the chosen school’s - + aspects and the other schools’ negative aspects.
According to cognitive dissonance theory… holding + attitudes about 2 options but having to choose 1 of them causes dissonance
o Attitude change
1 way to get ppl to change their attitudes is to change their behaviors first, using as few incentives as possible
Exp. participants who were paid $1 rated the task > favorably than those who had been paid $20.
o Justifying Effort
*hazing… initiation rites
Research in pg. 540 shows that when ppl put themselves through pain, embarrassment, or discomfort to join a group, they
experience a .> deal of dissonance. they resolve the dissonance by inflating the importance of the group and their commitment
to it
Attitudes can be changed through persuasion
o Persuasion: the active and conscioius effort to change attitudes through the transmission of a message. Leads to attitude change in 2 ways
[according to the elaboration likelihood model by Petty and Cacioppos]
Elaboration likelihood model: a theory of how persuasive messages lead to attitude changes
1) central route: ppl pay attention to arguments, consider all the info, and use rational cog. Processes- leads to strong
attitudes that last over time and are resistant to change.
o Used when ppl are motivated to consider info carefully
2) peripheral route: ppl minimally process the message which leads to more-impulsive action, as when a person decides
to purchase a product b/c a celebrity has endorsed it
o Used when ppl aren’t motivated
Cues that influence a message’s persuasivenss:
Source: who delivers the message
Content: what the message says
Receiver: who processes the message
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Sources who are both attractive and credible are the most persuasive.
Effective b/c of peripheral processing
Social psychologists study attitudes b/c they influence so many of our actions
Nonverbal Actions and Expressions Affect our Impressions
o First impression feelings will most likely be determined by nonverbal behaviors facial expressions, getures, walking style, etc…
o Nonverbal behavior: the facial expressions, gestures, mannerisms, and mov’ts by which one communicates with others. AKA body language
o Facial Expressions: 1st thing we notice about a person is usually their face (which communicates emotional state, interest, distrust, etc..)
Eye contact is imp. In social situations, although how we perceive it depends on our culture
o Body Language:
Thin slices of behavior: ppl can make accurate judgments based on only a few seconds of observation
Gait: how ppl walk important nonverbal cue… provides info about affective state
Aspects of behavior gives cues to sexual orientation?
We Make Attributions about others
o Attributions : ppl’s causal explanations for why events or actions occur
o Just-world hypothesis: victims must have done something to justify what happened to them
o Attributional Dimensions
Personal attributions: explanations that refer to internal characteristics, such as abilities, traits, moods, and effort
Situational attributions: explanations that refer to external events , such as the weather, luck, accidents, or actions of other ppl.
o Attributional bias
Fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overemphasize personal factors and underestimate situational factors in explaining
behavior. Idea originated by Edward Jones… though he called it the correspondence bias
Actor/observer discrepancy: when ppl make attributions about themselves and focus on situations rather than on their personal
we tend to attribute + events to our dipositions and negative events to outside forces
influence of culture
easterners are more likely than Westernenrs to take situational forces into account… but they still tend to favor personal
info over situational info
Stereotypes are Based on Automatic Categorization
o Stereotypes: cog. Schemas that allow for easy, fast processing of info about ppl based on their membership in certain groups. Mostly occurs
automatically and outside of our awareness. *neutral category
Use this type of categorization b/c of limited mental resources.
Stereotypes are maintained by a number of processes
Ppl’s memories are biased to match stereotypes
Behavior might be perceived in diff. ways so its consistent w/ a stereotype
Subtyping: occurs when ppl encounter some1 whod doesn’t fit a stereotype… they put them in a special category rather
than altering the stereotype
o Self-Fulfilling Effects
Self fulfilling prophecy: ppls tendency to behave in ways that confirm their own or other’s expectations
Stereotype threat: applies to any group for which there is a negative stereotype
Ex. When asked what gender they aregirls perform worst in math tests b/c they’re reminded of a negative stereotype
of their sex
3 interrelated mechanisms as responsible for producing decreased performances following threat:
o 1) physiological stress affecting prefrontal functioning
o 2) tendency for ppl to think about their performances, which can distract them from the tasks
o 3) attempts to suppress negative thoughts and emotions, which require effort
Stereotype threat undermines cog. Processes byraising perfromcance anxiety
Stereotypes can Lead to Prejudice
o Prejudice: occurs when the attitude associated w/ a stereotype is negative
o Discrimination: the innapropraite and unjustified treatment of ppl base solely on their group membership
o Theory that evolution has led to 2 processes that produce prefudice and discrimination : We tend to favour our own groups over others, and
we tend to stigmatize those who pose threats on our groups
o Ingroup/Outgroup Bias
Ingroups: groups to which we belong to
Outgroups: groups to which we don’t belong to
Seems to be that ppl are predisposed to be wary of others who don’t belong to their own groups may be explained through
human evolution
Separation of ppl into ingroup and outgroup members appears to occur early in dev’t
Outgroup homogeneity effect: ppl tend to view outgroup members as less varied than ingroup members
Ingroup favourtisim: tendency 4 ppl to evaluate favourably and privilege members of theignroup > than membrs of the outgroup (
even if groups are determined randomly)
Why do ppl value members of their own groups? human evolution ~ personal survival depending on group survival
@ a psychological lever, group membership = imp. Part of our social identiy and contribute tour our self esteem
Women show > automatic ingroup bias toward oth er women than men
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