Evolution and Culture Notes
Evolution and Culture Notes
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Date Created: 03/16/16
Social Psychology 2/17 – 2/26 Evolution and Culture process of change – towards more complexity (not simplicity, evolution means change Evolution – natural selection – genetic diversity genetic tendencies, genetic programs for structure and behavior, it’s important to recognize that our actions have a genetic component, evolution takes place due to the variety of genes in a specific species, every one varies in their genetic makeup, all humans have very similar genes that make us human, natural selection is the match between the genetic patterns of the individuals in a particular environment, there is diversity, natural selection is based on a variety of genetic variations being available and the fitness to a particular environment, natural selection leads to an increasing match in that environment as long as it doesn’t change o Environmental fitness – impact of environmental change through natural selection taste buds (chemical sensors) take information to the pleasure sensors in the brain and make us think that we like things, species have evolved for feast or famine, but now we are killing ourselves due to the abundance of food we have access to, we don’t evolve from bad to good, from weak to strong, we evolve to fit the environment (we’re supposed to), but now we change the environment to fit us – not good, the long term is not part of the normal way we think, we want the immediate gratification of today, the brain and the way we analyze things is naturally selective, we are programed to respond in a particular way – based on living in “the jungle” o Instincts natural programs to respond, curiosity is a natural tendency for us, and instinctive response to new and different things, they automatically make us aware and we try to understand them, an example of a fixed action pattern or releaser stimuli, programs waiting to be activated o Fixed action patterns – releaser stimuli a pattern of action or behavior that is fixed genetically as a result of natural selection, patterns that are ready to be released, if you are in a familiar environment your curiosity dies, your environment is boring, nothing is new or different, if you are not stimulated there is a certain balance that becomes unpleasant, behavior patterns are activated when we are not in homeostasis o Homeostasis balance, we need balance, o Hindsight theory building – McDougal attack on his model that explains behavior after the fact, but his theory is supported by evidence, there are biological tendencies that define what a species is, having sharp teeth to eat meat and having molars to eat plants Cultural evolution – group choices X instincts culture is what humans create, like written language – we made that, it does not have a genetic program, we change the environment for our selves, example: fire became part of the culture because it changed the survival rate – warmth and cooking, cultural evolution is change to become more fit to the environment but it is due to choices that the groups make to aid in their survival, they are not transmitted genetically like plain old evolution, but instincts and the desire to survive do help to play a role in this, cultural patterns are not transmitted genetically, trying to make a more suitable response to our environment, does not lead to “better” just “different” o Greeting behavior – personal space greeting behavior – what you do when someone approaches you – can have similarities over different cultures, smiling and saying hello is a signal of peace, in most species there is conflict and combat, but in most species there are built in submission signals, “tapping out” behavior patterns, it is destructive to kill members of your own species, it is important 2 when you meet people to size them up, interpret their body language, and understand if they are or are not a threat, presenting an open right hand (that is the hand that you carry your weapon, no weapon = not a threat), shyness is an instinct – stranger anxiety, you see a person as a threat and go to safety (a parent), personal space is usually cultural based QUIZ 6 o Division of labor fight or flight instinct (genetic instinct shaped by culture) when confronted by a predator or emergency we freeze, then we decide to fight or flight – run away, division of labor happened because not everyone could do everything needed in order to survive, think hunter gather, men hunted while women stayed home and cooked and cared for the children, division of labor is also genetic, women carry children, men cannot, men are more naturally polygamous – they want to spread their genes as much as possible, marriage was created to prevent sleeping around, division of labor is partly based in genetics but mostly in cultural tendencies, growth in environmental change providing work for specialists Gender patterns (interaction of culture and genetics) roles are defined by culture and availability o Overlapping distributions by gender patterns, Hormonal effects – oxytocin, testosterone a lot of differences in gender patterns are because of hormones, oxytocin, the love drug, testosterone mostly in men o Relationships – empathy – social perception all based on the above interactions, empathy is an instinct, we will kill but we will also care, forming a relationship and care for others, also an instinct, empathy is biologically based, we are designed to be sensitive to the signals others are giving off, 3 there are survival qualities in that, it is a built in tendency that has to be released, empathy is feeling for another person, caring about them, recognizing what they are feeling, feeling for them o Aggression (physical, social, psychological) is a clear attempt to injure, we are built to do it, no matter what the group is, the conflict that is brought up can lead to aggression o Sexuality physiological releaser stimuli, sexual attraction is biologically based, we can measure them in terms of the change in the amount of hormones, and different stimulation in parts of the brain Breasts, muscles, fertility, resources why are we attracted to them? Triggers response, shows they are capable of bearing children o Marriage across cultures Selection (romance vs. group choice) romance is a recent reason why people chose each other, it is a major factor in collective systems like Catholicism, romance is when you decide who you want to marry, it is a consequence of individualism and the breakdown of norms, think of the old model where the bride’s father gives the bride away and the groom asks the father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, shift toward romance is a shift towards individualistic choice, romance is a fantasy based on emotion, breakdown in the structure of the culture so that there are fewer expectations, people want to do things based on their own personal needs, age and likely hood of marriage is rising – people are less likely to get married Social Power and Influence norms for behavior, used to be socially unacceptable for unmarried men and women 4 to live together, how do we respond to how people deal with this norm? Compliance vs. conformity vs. internalization compliance is when you comply, you let people tell you what to do, compliance is power based, that doesn’t mean you accept the norm but you go along with it because of force, you’re compelled to do it, implied corrosion, when you stop at a stop sign because there’s a police man watching you, conformity is based on social pressure to be a good member of the community, you don’t believe in the thing you are doing but you do it because you don’t want to get thrown out, you do something by the implied knowledge of the norm, internalization – you do it because you accept the norm as right, you have internalized it, you do the thing no matter what, not because of social pressure but because it is what you believe is the right thing to do, it is the most voluntary of the three Information social influence – War of the Worlds people believed the war of the worlds story was real, they were not set up with the idea that the media is something fictional, people were scared, the point is that information can have power, especially if it is from a credible source, think what channel you watch for the news, people are influenced from the information they consider to be a credible source and you only believe that source, credible sources become important when you are confused about what is going on, you turn to who/what you trust and that may not be true, not based on logic, also depends on how vulnerable people are to not trust their own judgment but to trust other people instead Sherif (auto kinetic effect study) perceptual illusion, auto kinetic = self moving, Sherif studied weather you can affect how much something moves and what way, think of a laser pointer pointing at a screen in a dark room, you will think that the laser is moving on it’s own, 5 if you are told ahead of time that the laser will be moving in a certain direction, you will most likely think that you see that happening, people believe it, it shows the impact of social influence on how you literally see the world at the physical level Normative behavior with or without acceptance (peer pressure/cohesiveness) it doesn’t have to be friends, it just has to be someone telling you what’s going to happen, we are far more influenced when a group we believe in and we’re tight with (cohesiveness) the group, we are willing to give up our freedom and see things the way they do, remember it is about normative behavior* o Influence from direct command vs. influence from group norm direct command is forced, immediate, compliance, influence from group you are reflecting on what the group wants because you want to be part of the group, internalization, the more you want to be like the group the more you will try to change yourself to be a part of the group, we do not want to be lonely we want to be part of the group, you do not want to be alone and defenseless, we are not born to be alone, we are naturally adaptive to be a part of a group for our own survival, also think of people with a low self esteem, they are willing to change themselves in order to not be alone Descriptive vs. injunctive (prescriptive/proscriptive) norms descriptive – describes what you do and injunctive – says how to, two kinds of norms (a description of proper and improper behavior, what you should and should not do) prescription, what you need to take, a description of what you should do (take these pills on a daily basis), these norms say what we 6 should do, they prescribe the behavior, proscriptive is things you should not do Social Psychology 3/7 - 3/14 o Normative focus theory (salience) vs. indoctrination (conversion) salience – importance, pointing outward, saying that people who are not concerned with the norm, you make the norm good (salient) and apply it personally to the person who is not being concerned with the norm or following the norm, putting it in the center of their mind so they are more likely to act on what you are trying to make them do, conversion – “converting” to blend in, changing people to be the way you want them to be or what you want them to believe in, example – converting young Indian children to be the way white children are, using English, having hair cuts, going to English/white schools, converts are often more active zealots than people who are just joining because they have to prove themselves Private conformity vs. public conformity private – acting entirely on your own choice because you want to, public – people do something because other people are watching o Anti-conformity vs. true independence (reactance vs. individuation) non-conformists (true independence) - a person who does not conform, make people nervous because they are not part of the group, they do not accept the group’s will, they are not doing what everyone else is doing, true non- conformists are independent, they are following their own path, they do what they choose to do, something they follow the group, sometimes they don’t, depending on how they feel, they have a set of internalized values by which they act upon, anti- 7 conformity – act completely against the norm, their behavior is controlled just as much as it is by the norms, but in the opposite way, by rejection of the norms, they are not independent Asch “line length studies” of conformity how do people respond when they see normal people respond to something differently than how you would, well you change your mind and go with the “norm” what seems to be the consensus, conformity increases, people go against what they know is right o Impact of objective reality with social pressure – group think group think – one strong person says something, what they want to do or what they think, everyone goes along since no one says anything to counter the strong person, they think everyone agrees, impact of objective reality with social pressure – if someone disagrees, others will follow, and it will grow o Example of fundamental attribution error underestimating how powerful the situation is going to be, what we think we would do in a given situation, but we underestimate how strong the power of social forces can be o Informational vs. normative influence (objective vs. social reality) normative – a social reality, if 10 people say something, it must be true, people begin to believe that they are wrong because of the power of social reality to define what is and isn’t, things that are considered people’s opinions, informational – objective reality is based on facts that you gather, things that are objectively true, things you can measure, using information from things that you personally gather, can be information from experts as well, think of scientific facts o Ambiguity of situation and level of self confidence how vulnerable we are, you have to depend on other pieces of information, the less clear is is, the more ambiguous it is, and the more vulnerable you 8 are to social influences, your own self-confidence is also a factor in this, the lower your self-confidence, the more you accept the will of others and accept the reality that conflicts with what you believe or the informational influences o Past experience/relevance of situation if you don’t have any past-experiences, you’re more open to ideas, if you have had past-experiences it can help you, relevance of the situation – maybe you just don’t care, the more relevant it is to your identity and your values, the more you resist social influences o Expectations of success/risks if you don’t think there is a risk and you expect to succeed by going against the group you are more likely to do it, if you know that the risks may be high than you might be more likely to conform o Status differential/social control the closer you are to the leaders, the less willing you are to accept them, (unless you have an ulterior motive), the lower you are in the hierarchy, the more likely you are to go along, the less social control you have, the more vulnerable you are to social pressure, you gain strength from the sense that there is solidarity in the group Impact of dissenter – role model/social learning people start to hand in their tests after the first person (the dissenter) hands in theirs, without the dissenter you get the conformity effect, you learn how to do something by observation (learn what does and doesn’t work) due to the success of the dissenter, the dissenter gets them to do what they want to do, you need to have a norm encouraging disagreement, is an essential part of any group or community, the dissenters by definition disagree, if you are in a group you want people to act together and if dissenters cannot be heard and voice their opinions, they won’t “buy in” or participate, people need to feel that they have been heard 9 o Implied freedom without danger (if similar other) it opens up the freedom of other people to speak, one role model gives the freedom to others to speak without feeling/fearing the danger, the more similar they are to you, the more likely you are to speak out, “if they can do it, so can I” o Social norms (agreeability norm/gender roles) there are inhibiting forces, in our culture being agreeable it what is normally accepted, this inhibits dissenters – it is tough to be the only one willing and motivated to speak out and go against the entire group, but once you do it, it’s easier, gender roles inhibit dissenters (women) o Need for “freedom of speech” hallmark for our society, very vulnerable and fragile, is fine as long as people say what you want them to say, hard to defend, controversial, the encouragement of dissent leads to better decisions/outcomes o Socially recognized dissenters – newspapers/comedians (jester/Koshari) newspapers serve an active role of brining out information, comedians use humor to make powerful points, jesters had an assigned role to say things to the king that they needed to hear in order to hopefully correct his mistakes and go back to the norms, Koshari – people designated to poke fun of the administrators of the society, dressed in costumes, were protected, in Native American communities, same idea as jesters, these roles show that we recognize the need for dissent to counter the direction of leadership o Minority influence effect (disproportionate impact) o Requires perceived qualities: investment, autonomy, consistency, fairness – depends on initial position (polarity/strength) of targets need to be willing to act, if they are there should be big impact, if they have a history of being a dissenter, they are viewed more seriously, whether their dissent seems 10 unselfish, if they have personal interest in the outcome, they are basically trying to help themselves, there will be little impact, if they are acting on something for “the better good” not for themselves, their impact will be larger, there is a complex mixture for dissenters, polarity is your willingness to do something, o Creates contrast effects (figure-ground) o Stimulates reconsideration (desire for conflict reduction) you want conflict to go away o Significant costs for dissenter death, unfavorable reputation Impact of “winning” – conversion effect once you win, you change, you become a zealot because people don’t trust you Milgram – “obedience/compliance study” was appalled by the Holocaust, one effect on him was to stereotype German people as more compliant, more willing to go along, to prove it, he had to show that Americans were not compliant, got volunteers to deliver electric shocks to people who made mistakes, found out that people were willing to deliver intense shocks – lethal doses, 65% of people, showed that we were just as willing to engage in this behavior, but the people were told they had to do it, so they did, even though in reality they didn’t really have to, they could have walked away, then he introduced a dissenter, the minute people saw someone else refuse, others followed, a lot of others followed, Nuremberg defense – UN and crimes against humanity, defense for people brought on trial for war crimes: they were just obeying orders o Willingness to cause pain to others – destructive obedience factors that matter: how close the person is to the subject, similarity to the victim, the less similar a person is to the victim, the more willing we are to injure them, they are not us, they are not our group, remember that “thou shall not 11 kill” did not apply to our enemies, in-group members only had the rules, one way to show people were not in our group was to dehumanize the enemy, those people are rats, wild animals, etc. we visualize and portray them as nonhuman so we can do whatever we want to them, we do this naturally, stereotype the out-group, define them in negative terms, and assume that they are all like that, based on the innate anxiety that we have of strangers, were naturally suspicious of people that we don’t know, second point: the level of interaction also depends on how literally close you are to the person, it is harder to dehumanize or avoid thinking that it is a real person when they are close, it is harder to view them as not real people, and that they are you o Similarity with victim – stigmatizing/dehumanizing – stranger anxiety o Contact with victim (distance/visibility) – social isolation (autistic hostility) autistic people do not like to be near others, there is not interaction when you don’t mix with other people which means no hostility, we avoid contact and think we are all right, until we are put in a situation where we are with different people than ourselves QUIZ 7 o Normative ambiguity – unconscious preferences vague norms, the more ambiguous the norm, the less clear and the less likely people will act, and the greater the impact of a powerful leader, when you have strong norms, it’s harder for someone to tell you to go against those norms, when it’s unclear you can be influenced easier o Diffusion of responsibility (Nuremberg Defense) “I was just following orders” 12 o Status/power of influence agent the higher the status, the more power they seem to have, the more willing you are to accept their influence, o Bystander effect vs. dissenter effect dissenter – the presence of some body who goes against the influence “frees” people bystander – when people need help, someone is getting attacked or harassed, people just stand by and watch, diffusion of responsibility allows them to distort their thinking by telling themselves that they don’t have to do anything, if you stand around and watch someone get harassed, you carry a message saying that you are okay with that behavior My-Lai & Abu Graib My-Lai – village in Vietnam where a bunch of innocent people just got annihilated, people came in and intervened to save the villagers, the intervention caused the re-activation of the norms, they realized what they were doing was wrong and they stopped Abu Graib – a prison where they were interrogating prisoners to get information about terrorist activities, Alternative styles of social influence (low-status agents) o Violence – coercive and unstable, causes escalation bad consequences for people doing the attack o Ingratiation (diminishes power of moral arguments) o Coalition formation – temporary and unstable (unbalanced) o Non-violent, passive resistance (fasts, self- immolation) MLK, Gandhi, only powerful when there is a powerful norm to appeal to, to cause shame or guilt towards the people you are trying to change o Blame the victim 13
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