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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 – Behaviour in a Social Context.docx

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Western University
Psychology 1000

CHAPTER 13 // BEHAVIOUR IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT SOCIAL THINKING AND PERCEPTION 1) Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behaviour  In everyday life, we often make attributions, judgements about the causes of our own and other people’s behaviour o Situational infer that the situation affects how we behave  Ex: I did awful this semester because I had difficult courses o Personal infers that our behaviour affects our characteristics  Ex: I did awful this semester because I didn’t work hard enough  How we decide whether our behaviour is situational or personal is based on the following factors: o Consistency Do you consistently respond the same time? o Distinctiveness Is the response the same to other situations or is it distinct? o Consensus Do other people agree? o If all are high, then it can be attributed to situational attribution. If consistency is high, but the other 2 are low, then it’s personal  Fundamental Attribution Error is that we underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the influence of personal factors when explaining other people’s behaviours o It applies to how we perceive other people’s behaviour rather than our own o Ex: The slow driver ahead of us is the moron and the fast driver who cuts us is the maniac. But we do not think of ourselves as either one; we do not attribute ourselves to the maniac who drives by the moron or the moron who causes the maniac to cut us. o This occurs because we are part of the background and the situation we are in stands out. The people in are merely figures in the backgrounds that we observe.  Self-serving bias is the tendency to tie success to personal attributions and failures to situational attributions  Attribution can also be influenced by culture in which individualistic cultures are more likely to make personal attributions and collectivistic cultures are more likely to make situational attributions to their success 2) Forming and Maintaining Impressions  Primacy Effect is our tendency to attach our impressions on people based on our initial information about that person  Recency Effect is when we try to avoid snap judgments from the primacy effect and try to consider the evidence  Schemas and mental sets can also influence our impressions of people. Stereotypes are generalized beliefs about a group or category of people based on a certain schema or mental set.  Another way of forming impressions on people is from self-fulfilling prophecies. When we expect people to behave a certain way, we unconsciously adjust our behaviour that causes them to behave the way we expect them to be. o Ex: George is told that Bob is unfriendly (when in reality he is nice and very shy). George starts acting guarded around Bob that causes Bob to be unfriendly towards him, ultimately meeting his expectations. 3) Attitude  Attitude is how one perceives a stimuli, either positively or negatively  Attitude can somewhat influence how we behave towards others o Attitudes influence behaviours more strongly when situational factors are weak. The theory of planed behaviour states that our intention to behave a certain way is stronger when we have a positive attitude toward that behaviour and subjective norms support our attitudes. o Attitudes have a greater influence on behaviour when we are aware of them and when they are strongly held o General attitudes are better at predicting general classes of behaviour and specific attitudes are better at predicting specific behaviours  Our behaviour can influence our attitude as well  We can justify our behaviour as explained by cognitive dissonance. People want consistency in their cognitions, so if they have opposing views, they will adjust their thinking to have this consistency o Ex: You know smoking is bad but you do it anyway. You tell yourself that your grandma is a smoker and is still alive at 98 y/o. o A better predictor of our behaviour when counter attitudinal affects one’s self worth  Self-perception theory states that we make conclusions about our attitudes by observing how we behave o Ex: If you hear a lot of rock music and do not particularly dislike it, you will probably conclude that you do like it. o A better predictor of behaviour when counter attitudinal does not affect one’s self worth  Communicator Credibility is how the credibility of the communicator affects the persuasion and is composed of two components: expertise and trustworthiness.  When trying to persuade someone, it’s often best to argue and acknowledge both sides of opinions (moderately) to gain credibility amongst the audience  The way a message is conveyed can also affect its credibility based on its audience o Central route of persuasion occurs when people who like deep cognitive thinking are more influenced by compelling arguments  People are more uncertainty-oriented tend to follow this route when issues are more relevant o Peripheral route of persuasion is when shallow thinkers are more likely to not scrutinize the message, but are rather influenced by other factors such as the emotional appeal of the speech and the attractiveness of the speaker.  People who are more certainty-oriented avoid central routes (scared that it’ll change their perception) and are more likely to follow the peripheral route if it’s self-relevant, and the speaker is attractive and/or an expert. SOCIAL INFLUENCE 1) The Mere Presence of Others and Social Norms: The Rules of the Game  The presence of others can either improve or decrease our performance  Social Facilitation is the increased tendency to perform one’s dominant response in the presence of others o If the task is easy and well learned, the performance increases o If the task is complex, the performance decreases  Social norms are shared expectations of how one should behave, think and act. Some are formal laws (killing someone), whereas others are unwritten (sit on your own seat if there’s plenty of room in the bus).  Social Role is a set of norms based on our role. Since we take on multiple roles in our life, they can normally conflict with one another. o Ex: Spouses working together need to know when to draw the line between their professional and married life. o Ex: The classic Stanford University prison experiment saw well- adjusted students taking on the role of guards and the concepts of crime and punishment overpowering their values  Social norms are essential to ensure the social organizations and groups to function normally and to create structure o Ex: The auto kinetic effect saw that students made their own perceptions differently at first, but when placed in a group, made their own rules and abided to this rule after being tested individually again later on. 2) Conformity and Obedience  People conform to norms for two reasons o Informational Social Influence Based on factual-knowledge and what is right o Normative Social Influence Based on being accepted by a group or fear of rejection  An experiment by Asch (1956) revealed that people changed their judgment after informational social influence  Conformity is affected by various factors as well o Group size does not affect conformity dramatically at larger numbers o Presence of dissenter if someone disagrees, they are more likely to agree because someone else had not conformed  A minority influence can cause someone who is off majority to change their opinion on a personal level, only if the minority influence is being reasonable and not negative or deviant  Obedience to an authority can produce positive or negative results o Positive: If a co-pilot doesn’t follow the pilot’s rules, you’re going to die o Negative: If a soldier follows a tyrant’s order, you’re going to die  Factors that affect destructive obedience: o Remoteness of the victim When the victim was out of sight, obedience is higher o Closeness and legitimacy of the authority figure Obedience is higher o Cog in a wheel Obedience increases when someone else does the dirty work o Personal Characteristics No relation  These factors can explain why horrible incidents such as the Holocaust occurred. Arranging a situation so ordinary people can follow a legitimate leader, even if it’ll end up harming innocent people, is the reason why horrible things happen.  Several techniques are used to make people comply with things. These techniques are often used by telemarketers and sales people: o Norm of reciprocity If you do something nice, people expect to do something nice in return o Door-In-The-Face Technique When someone asks a smaller request after asking you for a larger request. This usually works because you feel guilty for declining the first larger request o Foot-in-the-Door Technique Asking for a smaller request, then a larger request. o Lowballing you are persuaded to do an action, and before you actually perform the behaviour, the persuader increases the cost of the same behaviour 3) Crowd Behaviour and Deindividuation  Groups of people are more likely to ask someone to jump off a building if it’s presented to them  Deindividuation is the loss of individuality that leads to disinhibited behaviour o Ex: sports riots, cheating and stealing, antisocial behaviour, etc.  This can explain why the guards were beating the prisoners in the Stanford Prison Study. The students were not called by their names, but rather “Mr. Correctional Officer.” o Key factor to cruelty  Reducing anonymity and increasing public accountability is a way to counteracting deindividuation, and ultimately destructive behaviour 4) Group Influences on Performance and Decision Making  Social Loafing is when people work less when working in a group than alone o A way to prevent this is to tell people that their colleagues don’t have enough ability or will slack off  Group Polarization is when a group of like-minded people discusses an issue and the average opinion of the group is something extreme o Caused by both normative and informational social influence. o People who are attracted to the group are more motivated to adapt an extreme position, and hearing other people having the same opinions as them cause them to feel that their opinion is more valid  Group Think is the tendency for group members to suspend critical thinking because they are striving to seek agreement. This usually results in devastating results o Ex: The failure launch of The Challenger was the result of
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