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SOC 201 Notes

by: Caroline Willadsen

SOC 201 Notes SOC 201

Caroline Willadsen

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Soc 201 Notes
Social Psychology
Katherine Rosier
Class Notes
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Caroline Willadsen on Sunday May 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 201 at Central Michigan University taught by Katherine Rosier in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Sociology at Central Michigan University.


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Date Created: 05/01/16
1) Several useful psychological social-psych theories:   Fritz Heider’s Balance Theory, and his work on Attributions; and Cognitive  Dissonance Theory. All concern issues of attitude consistency. 1. Balance Theory.   An “attitude” is composed of an “object” and our evaluation of that object.  We  feel psychological discomfort when we simultaneously hold attitudes that conflict.  Balance Theory helps us understand if and when this discomfort will arise, and if  and how we are likely to change our attitudes. You’ll need to understand and work with Balance Theory ‘triangles,’ which  involve two (or more) objects, their evaluations, and their connection by an  “event” or “belief.” Attitudinal consistency­ inconsistent attitudes can cause us to experience  psychological discomfort. If it is great enough we are going to be motivated to do  something to reduce that discomfort aka change feelings or attitudes towards  something or someone. Balance theory­ Fritz Heider. Balance theory triangles or referred to P.O.X.  Triangles. POX counter clockwise. P= person who holds the attitude O= other person X= impersonal object  If the sum of signs is negative, our attitudes are imbalanced. And then we are  motivated to do something to relieve the psychological discomfort that arises. ***Test question***  Give me an original example of attitudinal inconsistency POX triangle and how the attitudes could change to reduce psychological discomfort. And which attitude is  most likely to change aka which one is stronger and the weaker example that is  likely to change. (psych p.2) 2. More ideas from Heider: Attributions. When events (both positive and negative) occur, there are known patterns to the  attributions we make. We attribute events to either internal (person) or external  (environment) causes in predictable (and often erroneous) kinds of ways. 2 Types: Internal/External Internal­ attributed to something internal to the person. External­ attributed to something external to the person. We are more likely other persons actions to internal attributions and we are more  likely to attribute our own actions to external attributions. It also depends on  whether or not the actions or outcome are considered positive or negative. Fundamental Attribution Error: (self) FAE Generally we tend to attribute: Our failures we attribute to something external. Others failures to something internal. Our successes to something internal. Others successes to something external. Example: if someone is poor, they are lazy and dumb. (internal attributions).       If we fail an exam it was the professor.       She's only rich because she's lucky or her parents.       I’m rich because I worked hard my parents had nothing to do with it.       Ultimate Attribution Error: (group) People like us vs. People not like us In group vs. Out group In success, we attribute internal attribution to our “In group” and external  attribution to our”out group. In failure, we attribute external attributions to our failures of our “In group” and  internal attributions to the failures of  your “out group”.  1/25/16 (psych p.3) 3. Cognitive Dissonance Theory. Festinger. Similar to Balance Theory, CDT holds that we strive to maintain consistency (or  "consonance") among our attitudes, and avoid inconsistency (or "dissonance"). The theory was developed specifically to help explain how we sometimes change our  attitudes to make them consistent with our behavior. When we feel bound to, or  locked into, behaviors that are inconsistent with our attitudes, we are motivated to  change or ADD beliefs that bring consistency. Smoking examples are commonly used to demonstrate CDT Dissonance: behavior out of sync with our attitude. Consonance: behavior in sync with attitudes. ***Doomsday Cult: Mrs. Keech. Claimed aliens were contacting her, advertised in the newspaper. These aliens supposedly the aliens from clarion sent her a message  that on midnight 12/21, the aliens were going to create a great flood and destroy  the world. If people met Keech on the top of this mountain at midnight, the aliens  would arrive and save them. Social psychologist (Festinger) went with them and  observe the failure when the aliens didn’t arrive, Festinger encouraged them to cut  all ties with this world (jobs, belongings, families). Festinger then observed these  people when the aliens did not come and the world was not destroyed, these people added on beliefs that made their failures more acceptable (claimed that their  actions made the aliens changed their mind and not destroy the world. They also  thought that their own actions saved the earth). *added beliefs that eliminated their  dissonance and achieved consonance* Smokers: most smokers believe that smoking causes irreversible damage and  health problems, but they continue this habit anyways. Smokers claim they  voluntarily chose to begin smoking and most smokers feel bound into that  behavior. Their actions are inconsistent with their attitudes, they will experience  extreme psychological discomfort, then eventually add beliefs the eliminate this  discomfort (rationalize their behaviors/thoughts).  In order to experience dissonance, we have to feel that our behaviors result from  our own free choice; must attribute our behavior to internal as opposed to external  causes. At least four things influence whether we make internal or external  attributions: 1) Rewards: (small rewards=internal attribution) (large rewards= external  attributions) 2) Punishments: (large punishment= external attributions) (small  punishments=internal attributions) Curfew example, Teenager washing dishes vs. month grounded. 3) Perceived responsibility: (greater perceived responsibility= internal attribution)  (smaller the perceived responsibility= external attribution). School of choice example, lousy grades, (internal attribution = I chose the school,  more upset, I'm responsible) (external attribution = I didn't choose this school, D’s  aren't so bad, it will motivate them to do better, slightly dissatisfied)  4) Effort: great effort = internal attribution)( less effort = external attribution) 1/27/16 IMPLICATIONS OF C.D.T. Atheists As Others: atheists are looked at as “others” more so than muslims. Public vs. private inclusion: (pg. 217) 2) George Herbert Mead and Symbolic Interactionism (SI) bio: Responsible for “mind self and society”. After his death, his students at  university of Chicago believed his ideas were so important they compiled all their  lecture notes they had, opened his office and retrieved his notes, then published it  under his name.  **Mead never published anything. Basic SI model:  Small group Society  ­> Interaction     ­> Self <­       <­ The name for the perspective – “Symbolic Interaction” – underscores the  importance/centrality of interaction using symbols whose meanings are shared. **Mead argued that all social phenomenon arise through interaction: both the  development of selves, and the development of society, are possible only through  processes of symbolic interaction.** *Herbert Blumer “Symbols”: many but not all symbols are linguistic.  Example: Gestures Uniforms  Room decor Type of car a person drives Furniture arrangements “Significant symbols”: SELF = “that which is an object to itself.” **Introspections and role taking Three­stage process of the development of self in children:  Preparatory stage: preverbal stage of human development. Lots of meaningless  imitation. Learning to make connections between events (mental images of event  sequences). “sees a bottle knows its feeding time, water running means they are  getting a bath”.  Play stage: role playing behavior (Ex: imitating parents behaviors towards them  (child) Ex: reading or cooking food for child). They begin to think about someone  else’s perspective without acting it out (they begin to have a self). Take the role of  the particular other toward oneself and ones behavior (self reflective activities  begin to allow that child to develop a self). Game stage:  The  Generalized Other A general standpoint from which to view oneself and ones behavior ­ a standpoint  that represents the standpoints common to ones group/community/society. **When kids begin to act in a more predictable and organized manner. “Fundamental Methodological Principle” of Symbolic Interactionism:  To understand human behavior, investigators must attempt to see the world  from the point of view of their research subjects. Favored research strategies, which reflect the “fundamental principle” Participant observation (PO), and intensive, open­ended interviewing 1. Participate in and closely observe, actually becoming part of the worlds and lives of research subjects over time. 2. In depth intensive interviews, researchers typically only vaguely define  topics of interest and then let research subjects direct and control the interviews to  a great extent. **qualitative methods: P.O. and ethnography, intensive interviews. **interpretive procedures These two research strategies can effectively reveal the ways people interpret their  situations, the connections and associations they make among features of their  worlds, and how they employ these interpretations to arrive at behavioral choices. primary objective of most SI research – attempt to capture the interpretive  processes of the people they are studying. 3) Irving Goffman and the Dramaturgical School (You have two assigned readings by Goffman. Notes here concern only my intro to Goffman’s  work. We’ll discuss the readings in turn following this intro.) Goffman portrayed life as stage upon which people play roles and enact  performances. Our roles are comprised of the shared behavioral expectations  connected to the various positions we fill in society. *We want people to like us (generally) but there are some instances where we want to be viewed in a not so positive light (Act like an ass). Looking glass self/reflected appraisals are the same: 1. We imagine how we appear to others 2. We imagine how those others judge our appearance (not just physical. Do  we appear intelligent, honest, brave, loyal, etc.)  3. We have some emotional response to this imaginative process. (pride or  shame). role embracement­ When we embrace the role that we take in society, it leads to sincere  performances. When someone embraces their role, it becomes part of them, who  they are, into our self and our self­concept.  role distance­ Associated with a forced or cynical performance in their role. When  someone does not integrate or embrace their role in society, it leads to insincere  performances. Typically associated with low wage workers but can be found in  every position. Impression Management We develop an idea of the impression we want to make on others, then manage our performances with this impression in mind. Front Stage and Back Stage regions: Team performances: 4) Critique of SI Rejection of conventional methods Key concepts vague, difficult to examine/ “operationalize” Neglect impact of social structure Bias in favor of the status quo Neglect impact of social structure .(Goffman) “Stage of life” offers  infinite possibilities for role­playing?  Over­emphasis on free will? Bias in favor of the status quo. Mead’s notion (or “vision”) of a  homogenous, unitary society. Stressed continuity, predictability of interaction, and  therefore reproduction of social structure. (SI crit p.2) Recall: Society Interaction Self How does society shape and limit our interactions, and therefore limit our ‘possible selves’?? How can an SI model account for social change?


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