SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN
FOUNDATION IN NATURAL AND BUILT ENVIRONMENTS
NAME: KIMBERLEY EE SZE ANN
STUDENT ID NO: 0315319
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (PSYC0103)
LECTURER: MS CHIA YEE PANG
The Powers and Perils of Intuition
Intuition is an immediate form of knowledge in which the knower is directly acquainted with the
object of knowledge. In psychology, intuition can encompass the ability to know valid solutions
to problems and decision making, (Sciencedaily.com , 2013). However, we should always be
aware that our intuition is not always correct. Although our intuition guides is in making many
life decisions, it is not always reliable and can often lead us down the wrong path.
In this lecture we learnt that there are two types of thinking, one being controlled thinking and
the other being automatic thinking. Controlled thinking is reflective, deliberate and conscious
whereas automatic thinking is impulsive, effortless and unconscious. Automatic thinking is
second nature to us and the actions involved are usually unconscious, such as buying a house.
Next, we also explored the topic of overestimating. Overestimating in this context refers to
planning fallacy where we often overestimate the time and resources we have. Based on personal
observation, I feel that many people fall victim to overestimating as they tend to view things in
their favour and in vision a future where everything plays out smoothly. For example, I myself
find that I often overestimate the time I have to submit my assignments and often end up
procrastinating before rushing to complete everything before the deadline.
Lastly, we also had a short group discussion where we were asked to agree or disagree with this
statement “Memory can be likened to a storage chest in the brain into which we deposit material
and from which we can withdraw it later if needed. Occasionally, something is lost from the
‘chest’ and then we say we have forgotten.” My immediate response after reading the statement
was to disagree. I myself find that although I am able recall memories from the past, they have
been marred by time and are no longer accurate. Furthermore, I find that memories that were
unpleasant to me are vague and distant whereas fond memories are more vivid. Also, I feel that
we are never completely able to forget a memory. Although we may be unable to recall a
memory at will, that memory never really dies.
Conformity and Group Behaviour
Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behaviour in order to fit
in with a group, (Mcleod, 2013). This definition is really interesting to me as it means that we are
constantly changing ourselves in order to better suite with others. I too acknowledge that I have
often fallen victim to conformity, it is always difficult to be the odd one out and for me it is no
In this lecture, we learnt that conformity is influenced by the group size to a point or group
unanimity. This means, that we are more likely to conform to the beliefs of a large group rather
than an individual. When a person goes against conformity, they are labelled as a dissenter.
Furthermore, another form of conformity that we were able to explore in this lecture was
yielding to others. We learnt that most people are willing to do things that they would normally
judge as immoral when instructed to do so by an authority figure. The reason for this is because
they are conforming to their social roles in the situation and are unwilling to become dissenters
by disobeying orders.
Still, it is hard to believe that a person would go so far as to injure a fellow man just because he
is instructed to do so by a person of power. So the question is, what breeds obedience? The
emotional distance of the victim and the closeness and legitimacy of the authority is the answer.
When a person is unable to experience the distress of the victim first hand, it is easier for him to
obey the instructions of an authority figure who he believes is legitimate and is constantly giving
Lastly, we also learnt about behaviour in groups for example, the bystander effect. This effect
shows that people are less likely to help when they are in groups than when alone. The reason for
this is diffusion of responsibility, where each person believes that the other will take appropriate
action and therefore does nothing at all.
1. Sciencedaily.com (2013). Intuition (knowledge). [online] Retrieved from:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/i/intuition_%28knowledge%29.htm [Accessed: 16 Dec
2. Mcleod, S. (2013). What is Conformity? - Simply Psychology. [online] Retrieved from:
http://www.simplypsychology.org/conformity.html [Accessed: 16 Dec 2013].