Introductory Psychology PSY 101
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This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by Newton Cormier on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to PSY 101 at Michigan State University taught by Lori Jackson in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see /class/207560/psy-101-michigan-state-university in Psychlogy at Michigan State University.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
CHAPTER 18 SUMMARY SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Overview Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about influence and relate to one another In thinking about others behavior and its possible causes we tend to underestimate the influence ofthe situation thus committing the fundamental attribution error Our attitudes predict behavior when other influences are minimized when the attitude is specifically relevant to the behavior and when we are aware of our attitudes Our actions can also modify our attitudes especially when we feel responsible for those actions Research on social influence indicates that when we are unsure about ourjudgments we are likely to adjust them toward the group standard Sometimes social influences are even strong enough to make people conform to falsehoods or capitulate to cruelty The presence of others can arouse individuals boosting their performance on easy tasks but hindering it on difficult ones When people pool their efforts toward a group goal individuals may freeride on others efforts Sometimes group experiences arouse people and make them anonymous and thus less selfaware and selfrestrained Within groups discussions can enhance members prevailing attitudes and produce groupthink A minority committed to a position can however influence a majority Prejudice still often arises from social inequalities social divisions and emotional scapegoating Research shows that stereotypes are a byproduct of our natural ways of simplifying the world Aggression is a product of nature and nurture In addition to genetic neural and biochemical influences aversive events heighten people s hostility Aggressive behavior is also learned through rewards and by observing role models and media violence Conflicts are fueled by social traps and mirrorimage perceptions Geographical proximity physical attractiveness and similarity of attitudes and interests influence our liking for one another Passionate love is an aroused state we cognitively label as love Companionate love often emerges as a relationship matures and is enhanced by equity and selfdisclosure The presence of others at an emergency can inhibit helping Many factors also influence our willingness to aid someone in distress including costbenefit analysis and social expectations Enemies become friends when they work toward superordinate goals communicate clearly and reciprocate conciliatory gestures Social Thinking The importance of attribution in social behavior Dangers of the fundamental attribution error Attribution theory states that we tend to give a causal explanation for someone s behavior Our attributions either to the person or to the situation play an important role in shaping our social attitudes Underestimating situational influences the fundamental attribution error can lead us to unwarranted conclusions about others personality traits For example we may blame the poor and the unemployed for their own misfortune When attitudes have a strong impact on actions Attitudes have a strong impact on actions when 1 outside influences on what we say and do are minimal 2 the attitude is specifically relevant to the behavior and 3 we are keenly aware of our attitudes The footinthedoor phenomenon The effect of role playing on attitudes in terms of cognitive dissonance theory The footinthedoor phenomenon is the tendency for people who agree to a small request to comply later with a larger one Although the behaviors associated with a new role may initially feel artificial they soon seem to reflect our true self Both the footinthedoor phenomenon and role playing show how actions can modify attitudes especially when we feel responsible for those actions Cognitive dissonance theory argues that people feel discomfort when their actions conflict with their feelings and beliefs they reduce the discomfort by bringing their attitudes more in line with their actions Social In uence Experiments on conformity normative versus informational social in uence Suggestibility studies demonstrate that when we are unsure about ourjudgments we are likely to adjust them toward the group standard Solomon Asch found that under certain conditions people will conform to a group s judgment even when it is clearly incorrect We are sensitive to social norms and so we sometimes conform to gain social approval normative social influence At other times we accept information about reality provided by the group informational social influence Milgram s quot 39 on39 quot 39 quot 39 for 39 influence 39 a susceptibility to social In the Milgram studies the experimenter ordered subjects to deliver shocks to a learner for wrong answers Torn between obeying the experimenter and responding to the learner s pleas the subjects usually chose to obey orders even though it supposedly meant harming the learner The experiments demonstrate that social influences can be strong enough to make people conform to falsehoods or capitulate to cruelty The studies because of their design also illustrate how great evil sometimes grows out of people s compliance with lesser evils Conditions in which the presence of others is likely to result in social facilitation social loafing or deindividuation Experiments on social facilitation reveal that the presence of observers can arouse individuals boosting their performance on welllearned tasks but hindering it on difficult ones When people pool their efforts toward a group goal social loafing may occur as individuals freeride on others efforts When a group experience arouses people and makes them anonymous they become less selfaware and selfrestrained a psychological state known as deindividuation How group interaction can facilitate group polarization and groupthink How minority in uence illustrates the power of individuals Within groups discussions among likeminded members often produce group polarization an enhancement ofthe group s prevailing attitudes This is one cause of groupthink the tendency for harmonyseeking groups to make unrealistic decisions after suppressing unwelcome information The power ofthe group is great but so is the power of the individual When feeling pressured we may react by doing the opposite ofwhat is expected thereby reasserting our freedom The power of committed individuals also appears in their influence on their groups Even a small minority sometimes sways a group especially when expressing its views consistently and confidently Social Relations Social emotional and cognitive factors that contribute to the persistence of cultural ethnic and gender prejudice and discrimination Prejudice is a mixture of beliefs often overgeneralized and called stereotypes emotions and predispositions to action It often arises as those who enjoy social and economic superiority attempt to justify the status quo Even the temporary assignment of people to groups defining us the ingroup versus them the outgroup can cause an ingroup bias Once established the inertia of social influence can help maintain prejudice Scapegoat theory suggests that outgroups provide a handy emotional outlet for anger caused by frustration Despised outgroups can also boost ingroup members selfesteem Stereotyped beliefs are a byproduct of how we cognitively simplify the world Vivid cases being readily available to memory also influence ourjudgments of a group Finally impartial observers may blame victims by assuming the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get called the justworld phenomenon The impact of biological factors aversive events and learning experiences on aggressive behavior Although psychologists dismiss the idea that aggression is instinctual there is ample evidence that it is genetically and biochemically influenced Furthermore certain areas of the brain when stimulated activate or inhibit aggression A variety of aversive events including physical pain and personal insults evoke hostility The frustrationaggression principle states that the blocking of an attempt to reach some goal creates anger which can generate aggression Aversive stimuli are especially likely to trigger aggression in those who have been rewarded for aggression in the past or who have observed role models acting aggressively Different cultures model reinforce and evoke differing tendencies toward violence The effects of pornography and violent video games on social attitudes and behavior Violent pornographic films and violent video games present numerous aggressive models Research suggests that repeated viewing of Xrated films even if nonviolent can make one s own partner seem less attractive women s friendliness seem more sexual and sexual aggression seem less serious However it is depictions of sexual violence that most affect men s acceptance and performance of aggression against women Exposure to violent pornography increases punitive behaviortoward women Social psychologists attribute the media s influence partly to the social scripts they provide When we find ourselves in new situations uncertain how to act we rely on social scripts provided by our culture
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