PSY 300 Week 5 Individual Assignment Social Influences on Behavior Paper
PSY 300 Week 5 Individual Assignment Social Influences on Behavior Paper
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Social Influences on Behavior PSY300 Social Influences on Behavior We live within a social world; it is not surprising that many theorists and researchers have studied what effects the social environment has on the thoughts, emotions, and behavior of the individual. Social psychology is the study of what effects groups have on individuals and how being part of a group affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior. Most people like to think of themselves as independent however, a person’s behavior is influenced by the viewpoints and actions of the people around him or her, whether or not a person knows him or her. Conformity, obedience, and group process are the different types of influence. Conformity “Conformitymeans changing attitudes or behavior to accommodate the standards of peers orgroups. The pressure to conform can be immense, even if subtle. Wearing a thin tiewhen wide is in vogue makes many men uncomfortable, as does wearing the wrong brand of tennis shoes for many teenagers” (Kowalski &Westen, 2009, p. 653). Conformity occurs when the individual gives into the wants of the group, although the inclinations of the individual are to do otherwise. The individual is inclined to comply with the group to belong to the group. “Family influence can lead to children being excessively overweight because children and adolescents are expected to grow and gain weight during much of childhood and adolescence. This may be one of the reasons that few behavioral factors have been consistently identified in observational studies as predictors of excessive weight gain or obesity during childhood and adolescence” (Field &Kitos, 2009, p. 5976). Peer pressure can lead to a multitude of behaviors both positive and negative. “Peer group pressure is widely regarded as a crucial factor affecting young people's early experimentation with tobacco and their subsequent willingness to continue smoking. Indeed, the prevailing wisdom among health professionals and policy makers is that young people are victims of pressures to conformity exerted over them by their peer group” (Denscombe, 2001, p.1132). Obedience Many times obedience is important, and times when it can be detrimental. “Obedience to authority is, in large part, responsible for the high medication error rates seen daily in hospitals. An equally grisly example of misplaced obedience was the mass suicide of California cult members who believed salvation was just around the corner with the arrival of the Hale–Bopp comet” (Kowalski &Westen, 2009, p. 652653). However, if a mother tells a child to hold her hand and stop before crossing the street this is a very important type of obedience. Group processes “The behavior of people in groups is dictated in large part by the norms operating within particular groups and the roles that individual members of the group play within the group“(Kowalski &Westen, 2009, p. 655). The way people respond to a group depends on the individual’s attitude toward the group itself. One concept is groupthink that occurs when the group is very cohesive and close. Groups experiencing groupthink do not consider all alternatives or consider the quality of the decisions. Many of the problems associated with groupthink are not being critical of each other's ideas, not developing contingency plans, not seeking expert opinion, and highly selective in gathering information. An individual in a groupthink means an individual may not express his or her true feelings or an individual will exercise direct pressure on others. Groupthinklike behavior is found in many situations and across many types of groups and team settings. Groupthink can severely undermine the value of a group's work and at its worst; it can cost people their lives. Social concepts “Critical social psychology and a critical history of social psychology generally have overlapping purposes, although some of the methods in the different perspectives may be at odds. Advocates of either perspective assert the need for an inclusionary vision, and both seek means to highlight knowledge and practice from lost, forgotten, hidden, or excluded minority voices” (Lubeck, 2000, p. 324). People tend to overattribute the behaviors of others to internal factors and to overattribute his or her behaviors to external factors. People are faced daily with the dilemma of whether or not to help someone else in need. The bystander effect says that the reason people are less likely to help others when other people are around is diffusion of responsibility. Fishbein and Ajzen say that our behavior roughly equals our behavioral intentions. They go on to say that our behavioral intentions equal our weighted attitudes plus our weighted social norms. Social interactions are the acts, actions, or practices of two or more people mutually oriented toward each other's selves, that is, any behavior that tries to affect or take account of each other's subjective experiences or intentions. When caught in the throes of some group behavior some people may experience deindividuation and behave in ways uncharacteristic for him or her. One example is mob behavior where much of the destruction is that people believe he or she is anonymous in groups and therefore, less responsible for their actions (Hunt, 2007). Therapeutic intervention In some cases in which aggression and violence arise from a group influence therapy could be necessary. Aggression is the intentional infliction of some form of harm on others. Violence is a deliberate act to inflict physical harm on others. Besides frustration, there are three other unpleasant conditions that lead to aggressive behavior. The first unpleasant condition is pain, the second is attack, and the third is loss of control. Of course in the case of domestic violence therapy should be considered because it is on the rise and the circle of violence needs to be broken. Aggression is usually a reactive behavior whereas violence is a learned behavior. Neither is acceptable in society. Conclusion Social psychology is the application of theoretical and research aspects to everyday life. Social behavior and environmental factors, such as the work carried out on “personal space” and the effects of crowding, the social dynamics involved in doctorpatient interactions, and courtroom dynamics are areas of social psychology that need to be researched. It is complex interactions with family and peers that make most individuals reactors instead of actors. Only an individual with a strong personality and view of the world can overcome these influences. Culture is also an influence that places a role in the way a person interacts within a society. What people see as normal in one society may not be seen as normal in another. References Lubek, I. (2000, Fall). Understanding and using the history of social psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 36(4), 319.Retrieved November 5, 2010. Field, A., &Kitos, N. (2009). Social and interpersonal influences on obesity in youth: Family, peers, society. Obesity in youth: Causes, consequences, and cures (pp. 5976). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/11868003. Retrieved November 5, 2010. Denscombe, M. (2001). Peer Group Pressure, Young People and Smoking: new developments and policy implications. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 8(1), 732. doi:10.1080/09687630150200995. Retrieved November 5, 2010. EBOOK COLLECTION: Kowalski, R. &Westen, D. (2009) . Psyc (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Hunt, M. (2007). The story of Psychology.Retrieved November 5, 2010.
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