Introduction to Social Psychology
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Introduction to Social Psychology

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1st year undergraduate psychology lecture which gives an overview of the field of social psychology.

1st year undergraduate psychology lecture which gives an overview of the field of social psychology.

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  • The aim of this lecture is to introduce and discuss social psychology. The lecture is targetted at first year undergraduate psychology students. Image source: Unknown

Introduction to Social Psychology Introduction to Social Psychology Presentation Transcript

  • Introduction to Social Psychology
      • 1st year undergraduate psychology lecture
      • 2008
      • James Neill
  • Overview
    • Part 1 : About Social Psychology
    • Part 2 : Cognition, Influence, & Relationships
  • Part 1: About Social Psychology
    • Activity: Topic Matching
    • Definition(s)
    • Scope
    • Foci
    • Topics
    • Video (27 mins)
  • Topic Matching Activity
    • Activity : In pairs, discuss and agree on a topic match for each of the sets of displayed images.
    • Discussion : Go through the image sets and ask for suggestions – lecturer accepts and highlights some key terms for each image.
  • Allocate one of these topics to each of the following sets of slides...
    • Prejudice
    • Aggression
    • Group Dynamics
    • Crowd Behaviour
    • Social Exclusion
      • Environmental
      • Relationships
      • Prosocial Behaviour
      • Conformity
      • Leadership
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • What is Social Psychology?
    • Influence of social processes on the way people:
    • Think (thoughts; cognition)
    • Feel (feelings; emotions)
    • Behave (behaviour; actions)
  • Three Themes
    • Social Thinking - how we think about others e.g., Attributions
    • Social Influence - how we are influenced by others, e.g., Conformity
    • Social Relations - how we interact with others, e.g., Relationships
  • Domains / Units of Analysis
  • Scope
  • Why is Social Psychology Important?
  • Focus 1: Relationships
  • Focus 2: Social Influence
  • Focus 3: Leadership
  • Focus 4: Intergroup Relations
  • Video: The Power of the Situation
    • Annenberg (1989). The Power of the Situation (Program 19) . [27 min video] Annenberg: Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Part 2: Cognition, Influence, Relationships
    • Social Cognition
      • Attribution
      • Attitudes  Behaviour
      • Cognitive Dissonance
    • Social Influence
      • Conformity
      • Obedience
      • Group Influence
    • Social Relationships
      • Group polarisation
      • Aggression
      • Conflict & Cooperation
      • Prosocial Behaviour
  • Social Thinking
    • Attribution
    • Attitudes  Behaviour
    • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Social Thinking Questions
    • How do we explain people’s behaviour?
    • How do we form our beliefs and attitudes?
    • How does what we think affect what we do?
    • How can attitudes be influenced and behaviour changed?
  • Attributions
    • We are all ‘intuitive scientists’ or 'naive psychologists'.
    • Process of inferring the causes of mental states, behaviours, and events which occur to ourselves & others (Heider, 1958)
      • External attributions Behavior is due to the situation, ‘The boss yelled at me ... because this is April 15th and his taxes are not done.’
      • Internal attributions Behavior reflects the person, ‘The boss yells at everyone ... because he is a hostile person.’
  • Attributional Biases
    • Fundamental Attribution Error (or Correspondence Bias)
      • Overestimate internal factors (i.e., blame people) more than external factors (i.e., circumstances)
    • Actor-Observer Bias
      • More aware of external influences on our own behaviour
  •  
  • Attributions Observed Behaviour Internal (Dispositional) Explanation External (Situational) Explanation
  • Attitudes
    • Valenced (+/-) beliefs & feelings towards people, objects, & events, e.g.,
      • George W. Bush?
      • Guns?
      • Recreational drug use?
    • Do attitudes  behaviour ?
  • Attitudes & Behaviour Behaviour Attitudes Situation
  • When do Attitudes Predict Behaviour?
    • Attitudes are implicit (unconscious).
    • Situational demands are low.
    • Attitudes are strong & based on personal experience.
    • Attitudes are specific & relevant to behaviour.
    • Conscious/aware of attitudes.
    • Environmental reinforcement matches attitude.
    • Important others share the same attitude.
  • Behaviour also influences Attitude Behaviour Attitudes Situation
    • e.g.,
    • Foot-in-the-door
    • Role playing
    • “ What we do, we gradually become.”
    Behaviour also influences attitude
  • Foot-in-the-door Technique IV: 1 st request: “Sign a petition supporting safe driving?” vs. no request ~ 2 weeks later… DV: “Can we place this large, ugly ‘Drive Safely’ sign in your front yard?” Those who had signed the petition were 3 x more likely to agree to the 2nd request. - Freedman & Fraser (1966)
  • Foot-in-the-door Technique Foot-in-the-door technique as used by Scientology Time Magazine, 1991
    • (Action  Belief)   Distress
    • Distress   (Action or Belief)
    • (Action = Belief)   Distress
    Cognitive Dissonance (Festinger)
    • I don't believe in sex before marriage (attitude), but I just had sex before marriage (behaviour).
    • I believe that speeding increases the risk of car accidents (attitude) yet speed on a daily basis (behaviour).
    Cognitive Dissonance
  • Cognitive Dissonance Model Two inconsistent cognitions (e.g., an attitude and a counter- attitudinal behaviour) State of dissonance Motivation to reduce dissonance Attitude change UNLESS No dissonance No attitude change Change or justify counter- attitudinal behaviour
  • Social Influence
    • Conformity
    • Obediance
    • Group influence
  • Social Influence Questions
    • How we influence each other?
    • How are we affected by pressures to conform and obey?
    • How are we affected by group interaction?
    • How do groups affect our behavior?
  • Social Influence
    • The greatest contribution of social psychology is its study of attitudes, beliefs, decisions, and actions and the way they are moulded by social influence .
  • Conformity
    • Willingness to accept others’ opinions about reality.
    • Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
  • Conformity
    • Solomon Asch studies.
  • Asch’s Conformity Studies (1950’s)
    • Subjects were asked to judge line lengths while working in a group
    • 7 subjects; the 6th was real, rest were confederates.
    • Confederates consistently gave obviously wrong answers
    • The subject often conformed and gave the same wrong answer
    • On average, 37% of participants conformed.
    • Some never caved.
  • Conditions That  Conformity
    • Feelings of incompetence, insecurity, low self-esteem.
    • Group size 3+.
    • Group is unanimous (lack of dissension).
    • Group status desirable & attractiveness.
    • Group observes one’s behavior.
    • No prior commitment to response.
    • Culture strongly encourages respect for social standard.
  • Reasons for Conformity
    • Normative Social Influence
      • A person’s desire to gain approval or avoid rejection.
      • Respecting normative behavior, because price may be severe if not followed.
    • Informational Social Influence
      • Group may provide valuable information.
      • When the task is difficult or you are unsure, it makes sense to listen to others.
  • Obedience
    • People comply to social pressures. But how would they respond to outright command?
    • Milgram designed a study that investigated the effects of authority on obedience.
    Stanley Milgram (1933-1984)
  • Milgram’s Study
  • Milgram’s Studies
    • 63% complied with administration of shocks
    • Degree of obediance influenced by:
      • Physical proximity of authority figure
      • Status of authority figure
      • Depersonalisation of victim
      • Lack of defiant role models
  • Milgram’s Study Depending on subtle changes in conditions, compliance varied b/w 0 & 93%
  • Zimbardo’s Prison Study (1970’s)
    • Subjects played either prisoners or guards.
    • Prisoners were arrested, fingerprinted, dressed, and referred to by number.
    • Guards were dressed and given control over prisoners.
    • Subjects became their roles in action, thought and feeling.
  • Resistance
    • ~  a third of individuals resisted social coercion (Milgram).
    • One dissenter can have a disproportionate effect on reducing the compliance of others. (e.g., Asch)
  • Group Influence
    • Social facilitation
    • Social loafing
    • Deindividuation
    • Group polarisation
    • Groupthink
  • Social Relationships
    • Prejudice
    • Antisocial
    • Aggression
    • Conflict
    • Prosocial Behaviour
  • Social Relationships Questions
    • What causes us to harm, help, or to fall in love?
    • How can we transform aggression into compassion?
  • Social Relations
    • Social psychology teaches us how we relate to one another from:
    • Prejudice, aggression, and conflict to
    • Attraction, altruism, and peacemaking.
  • Prejudice
    • “ Prejudgement”: Unjustifiable (usually -ve) attitude toward a group and its members – often towards a different cultural, ethnic or gender group.
    • Works at the conscious and [more so] the unconscious level.
    • More like a knee-jerk response than a conscious decision.
  • Prejudice Components
    • Beliefs (stereotypes)
    • Emotions (hostility, envy, fear)
    • Predisposition to act (to discriminate)
  • Prejudice Roots
    • Social inequalities – haves vs. have-nots
    • Social divisions – in- vs. out-groups (in-group bias)
    • Emotional scapegoating – blaming, emotional outlet (+FAE)
    • We are “cognitive misers”, so we use categorisation to simplify and organise our perceptual worlds.
    •  Stereotypes Generalised (often exaggerated) beliefs about a group of people.
    •  Potential for prejudice
    •  Potential for aggression/conflict
    Categorisation
    • Physical or verbal behaviour intended to hurt or destroy.
    • Emerges from the interaction of:
      • Biology
        • Genetic
        • Neural
        • Biochemical
      • Experience
        • Aversive events e.g., misery, temp, frustrate
        • Operant conditioning
        • Social learning
        • Scripts
    Aggression
  • Aggression
    • Perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas.
    • Conflicting parties, each rationally pursuing their self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior  “ Social Trap ”:
      • Win-Lose
      • Lose-Win, or
      • Lose-lose.
    Game Theory
  • Game Theory
  • Game Theory
  • Game Theory
    • Proximity (mere exposure effect)
    • Attractiveness
    • Similarity
    • Cost-benefits
    Attraction
    • Passionate Aroused state of absorption (arousal + cognition)
    • Companionate Deep affection & caring
    Love
    • Unselfish, intentional behavior that is intended to benefit welfare of others.
      • Behaviours which have no obvious gain for the provider
      • Behaviours which have obvious costs for the provider (e.g. time, resources)
    • Is there really altruism?
      • Altruism is often for self-benefit e.g., power, status, reward, psychological gain.
    • What matters in judging the act is the actor's intended outcomes.
    Altruism
    • Equity / Reciprocity
      • Give to relationships in proportion to what we receive (Social Exchange Theory)
    • Social responsibility norm
    • Reciprocal altruism
      • Natural selection favors animals that are altruistic if the benefit to each is greater than the cost of altruism
    Altruism
    • Diminished sense of personal responsibility to act because others are seen as equally responsible.
    • Bystanders are less likely to help in presence of more people (e.g. part of a large crowd)
    • 75% help when alone vs. 53% in presence of others
    • "Diffusion of responsibility"
    Bystander Effect
    • Superordinate goals
    • Communication
    • Graduated & Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction (GRIT)
    Peacemaking
  • Lecture Web Pages
    • http://ucspace.canberra.edu.au/display/Psy102/Social+Psychology
    • http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Introduction_to_social_psychology/Lecture
    • Reading
    • Myers (2007) Ch 18 Social Psychology
  • References
    • Myers, D. G. (2001). Social Psychology (Ch. 18). In D. G. Myers (2001). Psychology (6th ed.) (pp. 643-688). New York: Worth.
    • Myers, D. G. (2007). Social Psychology (Ch. 18). In D. G. Myers (2007). Psychology (8th ed.) (pp. 723-771). New York: Worth.