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Chapter 12

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100H1
Professor
Dan Dolderman
Semester
Fall

Description
Social Psychology [Chapter 12]  Why do people beat, rape, torture, and murder others? (eg. Canadian soldier holding prisoners of war)  They are normal people caught up in overwhelming situations that shape their actions  Absence of any real authority in the prison and therefore a weakening of responsibility  A mock prisoner of war research was done; but what happened was the guards became brutal and sadistic  Many behaviours become more understandable within particular contexts  Our regular interactions with others shape who we are and how we understand the world  Social context is powerful How do attitudes guide behaviour?  Attitudes: the evaluation of objects, events, or ideas  Shaped by social context an play an important role in how we evaluate and interact with people We form attitudes through experience and socialization  Direct experience of or exposure o things provides info that shapes attitudes  People develop negative attitudes about new objects more quickly than they develop positive attitudes  The more a person is exposed to something, the more he or she tends to like it  Mere exposure effect: greater exposure to the item, and therefore greater familiarity with it, caused people to have more positive attitudes about them  Attitudes can be conditioned (advertising uses classical conditioning)  Operant conditioning also shapes attitudes (if rewarded for good grades each time, you will develop more positive attitude about studying)  Attitudes also shape through socialization Behaviours are consistent with strong attitudes  To the extent that attitudes are adaptive, they should guide behaviour  The stronger and more personally relevant the attitude, the more likely it will predict behaviour, be consistent over time, and be resistant to change  Attitude accessibility: the ease with which a person can retrieve memories related to an attitude predicts behaviour consistent with the attitude  Easily activated attitudes are more stable, predictive of behaviour, and resistant to change  Attitudes can be explicit or implicit: o Explicit attitude: attitudes that people can report and know about; if you say you like bowling eg o Implicit attitude: influence our feelings and behaviour at an unconscious level; we access these attitudes from memory quickly, with little conscious effort or control  eg. riding a bike  IAT: a reaction time test that can identify implicit attitudes o Good indicator of behaviour because socially sensitive situations allow them to admit their real attitudes through IAT Discrepancies lead to dissonance  Cognitive dissonance: an uncomfortable mental state due to conflicts between attitudes or between attitudes and behaviour o Causes anxiety and tension and therefore motivates people to reduce the dissonance and relieve displeasure o Reduce by changing their attitudes or behaviours; sometimes rationalize or trivialize the discrepancies Postdecisional dissonance  Holding positive attitudes about two options but having to choose one of them causes dissonance  Postdecisonal dissonance motivates the person to focus on the decision’s positive aspects and the other choice’s negative aspects  This effect occurs automatically with minimal cognitive processing, and apparently without awareness Attitude change  Experiment done with participants given $1-20 to do a boring task and tell others that it was really fun and educational  Those that were given $1 actually rated the task to be enjoyable because they had insufficient monetary justification for lying therefore to justify why they went along with the lie, they changed their attitudes about performing the full task  Those paid $20 had plenty justification for lying, since $20 was a large amount of money so they didn’t experience dissonance and did not have to change their attitudes about the task  This shows that one way to get people to change their attitudes is to change their behaviour first, using as few incentives as possible Justifying effort  Eg. initiation to join a frat or sorority  Research done with women reading dirty/explicit messages to a male experimenter, and another group of women reading milder words  Then listened to a presentation about mating rituals in lower animals, and those who read the embarrassing explicit words reported that the presentation was much more interesting, an important than did the women who read the milder words  This shows people who put themselves through pain, embarrassment, or discomfort to join a group, experience a great deal of dissonance  They resolve the dissonance by inflating the importance of the group and their commitment to it  helps explain why people are willing to subject themselves to humiliating experiences like initiation  If they have sacrificed so much to join a group, people believe the group must be extraordinarily important Attitudes can be changed through persuasion  Persuasion: the active and conscious effort to change attitudes through the transmission of a message  Persuasion works when it is memorable so the impact lasts over time  Persuasion leads to attitude change in 2 fundamental ways: o Elaboration likelihood model: a theory of how persuasive messages lead to attitude changes o Works via two routes: the central route (In which people pay attention to arguments, consider all the info, and use rational cognitive processes which leads to strong attitudes that last over time and are resistant to change) o People are motivated to consider info carefully and process it through the central route, and their attitude changes reflect cognitive elaboration o Peripheral route: people minimally process the message which leads to more impulsive action, as when a person decides to purchase a product because a celebrity has endorsed it o Not motivated so process info via the peripheral route and their attitude changes reflect the presence r absence of shallow peripheral cues  The cues that influence a message’s persuasiveness include the source, the content, and the receiver o Attractive and credible sources are the most persuasive (eg. hot doctor) o Effective because of peripheral processing o May also be effective when the receiver perceives the source as similar to themselves o The arguments in message are also important; strong messages that appeal to our emotions are the most effective o One sided arguments work best when the audience is on the speakers side or is gullible o With more skeptical crowds, the speaker who acknowledges both sides but argues the superior one is more persuasive than ignoring the opposing view How do we form our impressions of others?  As social animals, we live in groups they produce us security from predators from competing groups, mating opportunities, and assistance in hunting food and gathering it  We automatically classify people into social categories, and doing so can have major implications for how we treat them Nonverbal actins and expressions affect our impressions  Importance of first impressions on long term evaluations of people  Nonverbal behaviour = body language (gestures, walking style, facial expressions etc)  Many factors influence this from the observers expectations and attitude to what the observed person says, as well as their nonverbal gestures and physical appearance Facial expressions  First thing we notice about someone  Communicates a great deal; emotional state, interest ad distrust  Eye contact: initiates different things like flirting, lying, or anger  means different things in different cultures (someone seen as disrespect) Body language  People can make accurate judgments based on only a few seconds of observation, referred to as thin slices of behaviour  One important nonverbal cue is how people walk, known as gait  The extent to which body shape and motion differed from those of the typical male or female was the primary cue used by perceivers  Such thin slices of behaviour are powerful cues for impression formation We make attributions about others  Attributions: peoples casual explanations for why events or actions occur  People are motivated to draw inferences in part by a basic need for both order and predictability  Can anticipate future events  Just world hypothesis: this perspective says that victims must have done something to justify what happened to them  Such attributions make the mistreatment of others seem more understandable and more justified and make the world seem safer and saner (eg. the POW situation) Attritional dimensions  Attribution theory draws distinction between personal and situation attributions  Personal attributions: explanations that refer to internal characteristics, such as abilities, traits, moods, and effort o Known as internal or dispositional attributions  Situational attributions: explanations that refer to external events, such as the weather, luck, accidents, or the actions of other people o Also known as external attributions  Also depends on whether stable or not, controllable or not, etc  Eg. weather is situational, unstable, and uncontrollable  Non depressed people tend to attribute their failures to temporary aspects of situations, as in blaming a failing test on not getting enough sleep o They attribute success to personal, permanent factors Attributional bias  Fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overemphasize personal factors and underestimate situational factors in explaining behaviour  People make self serving attributions consistent with their pre existing beliefs, and they generally fail to take into account that other people are influenced by social circumstances  Correspondence bias: people expect others’ behaviours to correspond with their own beliefs and personalities  In contrast, when we make attributions about ourselves, we tend to focus on situations rather than on personal dispositions which leads to actor/observer discrepancy o Most observed in negative events to outside forces, and positive events to our dispositions  Eg. when we are late me blame traffic, when others are late we say they are lazy  The variation within all cultures is also important; average evidence shows that people from eastern cultures use much more info when making attribution than do people in western cultures, and more likely to believe hat human behaviour is the outcome of both personal and situational factors o Tend to favour persona info over situational info  The fundamental attribution error are found across cultures, though there is a difference in the extent to which people in diff cultures attribute others’ behaviours to personality traits rather than to the situations Stereotypes are based on automatic categorization  Stereotypes: cognitive schemas that allow for easy, fast processing of info about people based on their membership in certain groups  Heuristic processing allows us to make quick decisions  Occurs automatically and outside of our awareness  People use these categorize to streamline their impression formation and to deal with limitations inherent in mental processing o This is due to limited mental resources  Stereotypes affect impression formation  Guide attention toward info that confirms the stereotypes and away from disconfirming evidence  Subtyping: when someone does not fit into your stereotype category, you put them in a special category whereas just altering your stereotype Self-fulfilling prophecy  Self-fulfilling prophecy: peoples tendency to behave in ways that confirm their own or others’ expectations  Research done where teachers were told some students will get much higher on IQ test, and they did, obviously through the extra attention that the teacher gave them since she had this expectation (works same way when teacher thinks a student is a failure)  Eg. Guys talking to a hot girl on the phone found her more interesting and funny, whereas talking to an Olga  This shows that our thoughts and behaviours are influenced by events about which we are not consciously aware  Stereotype threat: applies to any group for which there is a negative stereotype  Mechanisms responsible for decreased performances b/c of threat: o Physiological stress affecting prefrontal functioning o A tendency for people to think about their performances, which can distract them from the tasks o Attempts to suppress negative thoughts and emotions which require a great deal of effort  Stereotype threat undermines cognitive processes by raising performance anxiety  People beliefs about how others view them altered their behaviours in ways that confirmed the stereotypes, even though they had no conscious knowledge of these influences Stereotypes can lead to prejudice  Negative stereotypes lead to prejudice and discrimination  Prejudice: occurs when the attitude associated with a stereotype is negative  Discrimination: the inappropriate and unjustified treatment of people based solely on their group membership  People do this to relieve the tensions of daily living and protect their own self esteem  Evolution has lead to processes the produce prejudice and discrimination: o We tend to favour our own groups over other groups o We tend to stigmatize those who pose threats to our groups In group/out-group bias  Ingroups: groups we belong to (outgroups the opposite)  People are predisposed to be wary of others who do not belong to their own groups, since presumably outgroup members have been more dangerous over the course of human evolution  Once people categorize people as either in or out group, they treat them accordingly  Babies could recognize all races at first, but then as time went on they could only recognize their own race  Outgroup homogeneity effect: people tend to view outgroup members as less varied than ingroup members o We think everyone is different at uoft, but at Ryerson everyone is the same  Consequence of categorizing is ingroup favoritism: the tendency for people to evaluate favorably and privilege members of the ingroup more than members of the outgroup o People are more likely to do favours and forgive people in their ingroups  Why? Personal survival has depended on group survival Stereotypes and perception  Implicit social attitudes can influence basic perceptual processes  Guns were more associated to black faces than whites and easily mistook tools for guns  Lead to greater attention to black faces than white  In studies, black were more likely to get incorrectly shot, because the objects they held were more identified as weapons (in a computer stimulation)  Research found that police officers were much less likely to shoot unarmed people and were equally more likely to shoot blacks and white (their training helps them avoid biases) Inhibiting stereotypes  Categorization and stereotyping occur automatically, without peoples awareness or intent  People low in prejudice override this automatic activation and act in a nondiscriminatory fashion  We can consciously alter our automatic stereotyping  The worse people feel about their attitudes the harder they try not to be biased  This is difficult and requires self regulation b/c of the brain activity involved  When a white person saw a picture of a black, their immediate response was negative because their amygdala was involved (which is responsible for detecting threat), however the longer they stared at the picture, the amygdala response decreased which shows that the frontal lobes have overridden this immediate reaction Co-operation can reduce prejudice  It is difficult to change cultural and religious beliefs and attitudes towards ethnic groups because they are embedded deeply  People working together in Haiti, shows that in doing so they overcome intergroup hostilities if they have a greater purpose, such as dealing with this  An experiment where a summer camp was divided into 2 groups of boys and forced them to compete against each other for prizes showed that o It is easy to get people to hate each other- simply divide them and have them compete, and prejudice and mistreatment would result o The hostility could be undone through cooperation  Forced them all to work together to get certain goals achieved and among strangers competition and isolation created enemies, but among enemies cooperation created friends  Shared superordinate goals that require people to work together reduce hostility between groups Jigsaw classroom  Programs that most successful bring groups together involved person to person interaction  Every student using their specific skill to solve jigsaw (eg)  Leads to more positive attitudes towards other ethnicities and that students learn the material better and perform at higher levels  These kids grow to like each other more and develop higher self esteem  Communal work toward superordinate goals can reduce prejudice How do others influence us?  Desire to fit into groups leads to us willingly engaging in behaviours we otherwise would not do  It is difficult to remain a cucumber while those around you become pickles Groups influence individual behaviour  Social facilitation: the presence of other enhances performance o All animals are genetically predisposed to become aroused b the presence of others of their own species o Lead to animals to emit a dominant response, the response most likely to be performed o The presence of others improves the performance of a simple tsk for which the dominant response s well learned o But if people need concentration to fulfill a more challenging task, they might work best tin private since awareness of how others are performing is irrelevant to their task at hand Social loafing  Social loafing: the tendency for people to work less hard in a group than when working alone  Eg. Participants did not shout as loudly when they believed that others were shouting as well  Making it clear that individual efforts can be monitored eliminates social loafing  If everyone working on a project, then everyone needs to have a part they are personally responsible for so everyone exerts maximum effort Deindividuation  A phenomenon of low self awareness, in which people lose their individuality and fail to attend to personal standards  When self awareness disappears, so do restraints  These people often do things they would not do if they were alone or self aware  Eg. rioting by fans, mob behaviours  Eg. the prisoner study, where they had to stop after 6 days because the guards got too involved in the role  The situation was powerful enough to alter peoples behaviours Group decision making  Groups are known for making bad decisions  Groups often make riskier decisions that individuals do (risky shift effect)  Group polarization: groups are sometimes riskier than individuals and sometimes more cautious, as groups ted to enhance the initial attitudes of members who already agree  Groupthink: occurs when a group is under intense pressure, is facing external threats, and is biased in a particular direction o Do not process all info and people ensure themselves they are doing the right thing  To prevent this leaders must refrain fro expressing their opinions too strongly at the beginning  Groups should be encouraged to consider alternative ideas  Weighing the pros and cons of each can help people avoid groupthink We Conform to Social Norms  Social Norms: expected standards of conduct, which influence behaviour (standing in line)  Conformity: the altering of one’s opinions or behaviours to match those of others or to match social norms  Autokinetic Effect Experiment: stationery point of ligh
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