AP Psych Unit 11: Social Psychology

AP Psych Unit 11: Social Psychology

Social Psychology
The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.

Explains why the same person will act differently in different situations.

The power of social influence.

Attribution Theory
Franz Heider.

The theory that we explain someone’s behavior by crediting either the situation or the person’s disposition (a person’s stable, enduring traits).

We tend to attribute admirable and good things to our traits and bad things on the situation.

Situational (external) Attribution
In an external, or situational, attribution, people infer that a person’s behavior is due to situational factors.
Dispositional (internal) Attribution
In an internal, or dispositional, attribution, people infer that an event or a person’s behavior is due to personal factors such as traits, abilities, or feelings.
Fundamental Attribution Error
The tendency for observers, when analyzing others’ behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition.

We overestimate the influence of personality and underestimate the influence of situations.

David Napolitan and George Goethals: Demonstrated the fundamental attribution error in an experiment with William’s College students. They attributed someones behavior to their personal disposition, even when told that her behavior was situational (that she was merely acting that way for the purposes of the experiment).

Attitude
Feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events.

If we believe that someone is threatening us, then we may feel fear and anger toward that person and act defensively.

Our attitudes affect our actions and our actions affect our attitudes.

Persuasion attempts to change our attitudes in order to change behavior.

Peripheral Route Presuasion
Occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker’s attractiveness. Doesn’t engage systematic thinking, but produces fast results and people make snap judgements.

Ex. Perfume ad may lure us with images of beautiful people in love.

Central Route Persuasion
Offers evidence and arguments that aim to trigger favorable thoughts. Occurs mostly when people are naturally analytical or involved in the issue.

More thoughtful and less superficial than peripheral route persuasion, so it is more durable and likely to influence behavior.

How do actions affect attitudes?
Not only will people stand up for what they believe, but they will also believe more strongly in what they have stood up for. Many streams of evidence confirms that attitudes follow behavior.
Foot in the Door Phenomenon
The tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request.

People adjust their attitudes.

To get people to agree to something big, start small and build. A trivial act makes the next easier.

Example of how attitudes follow behavior.

Role
A set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave.

Role playing affects attitude. At first you behaviors may feel phony because you are acting a role, but before long, the behavior becomes you.

Ex. When you leave middle school and start high school you strive to follow to social prescription.

ZIMBARDO and his Stanford Prison Experiment: He assigned volunteers roles of either a guard or prisoner and gave them according uniforms and roles. For a day or two, some volunteers consciously played their roles. Then the simulation become real- too real- and most guards developed disparaging attitudes, while prisoners broke down or rebelled. He called off the study after 6 days. (HOWEVER, in other experiments people did not internalize their role because people are different and people and situation interact)

Actions affect attitudes.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory
The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent.

When we become aware that our attitudes and our actions don’t coincide, we experience tension. To relieve this tension (which produces dissonance/discomfort), we often bring our attitudes in line with our actions (Ex. Stanford Prison Experiment).

The less coerced and more responsible we feel for a troubling act, the more dissonance we feel. The more dissonance we feel, the more motivated we are to find consistency, such as changing our attitudes to help justify the act.

Explains why people take on roles.

Automatic Mimicry
Humans tend to go with the group, to think what it thinks and do what it does. Behavior is contagious. We humans take on the emotional tones of those around us.

We naturally mimic (unconsciously imitate) others’ expressions, postures, and voice tones.

Chameleon Effect: Experiment had students work in a room alongside another person who was actually a confederate forking for the experimenters. Sometimes the confederate rubbed his own face or shook his foot. The students tended to rub their face with the face rubbing person and shake their foot with the foot shaking person.

Helps us to empathize- to feel what others are feeling. Explains why we feel happier around happy people than around depressed people.

Mood linkage: Sharing up and down moods.

Conformity
Adjusting our behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.

Suggestibility and mimicry are subtle types of this.

Ex. The line comparison test with other people by SOLOMON ASCH. More than one third of the time, these intelligent and well meaning college students went along with the group, even when they were clearly wrong.

Later investigations have not always found as much conformity as Asch found but they have revealed that we are more likely to conform when:
1) We are made to feel incompetent or insecure.
2) We are in a group with at least 3 people.
3) We are in a group in which everyone else agrees (in one other person disagrees, the odds of us disagreeing greatly increases).
4) We admire the groups status and attractiveness.
5) We have not made a prior commitment to any response.
6) We know that others in the group will observe our behavior.
7) We are in a culture that strongly encourages respect for social standards.

Conformity rates are lower in individualist cultures.

Normative Social Influence
Influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. We are sensitive to social norms, understood rules for accepted and expected behavior- because the price we pay for being different can be severe. We need to belong. To get along, we go along.
*** Informational Social Influence
Influence resulting from ones willingness to accept others opinions about reality.

You assume others are right and follow their lead.

Obedience
Following orders.

Obedience has been found to be highest when:
1) The person giving the orders was close at hand and perceived to be a legitimate authority figure.
2) The authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution (complying with an experiment bc its from Yale University).
3) The victim was depersonalized or at a distance, even in another room.
4) There were no role models for defiance.

Milgram’s 20 Experiments
STANLEY MILGRAM studied how people would respond to outright commands. He undertook what became social psychology’s most famous, controversial and influential experiments: Milgram’s 20 Experiments.

The experiment assigned volunteers either the role of a teacher or a student. The teacher would teach the student something and then test them. For every wrong answer the student gave, the teacher would have to administer and stronger and stronger shock. Milgram and 40 psychiatrists assumed that the teachers would stop shocking when the student indicated pain, however, they were completely wrong. More than 60% of men age 20-50 complied fully right up to the last switch- 450 volts. When he repeated this study, he received similar results. Women obeyed at rates similar to mens. After being told that the students were not actually being shocked, the participants didn’t not regret taking part and did not feel an emotional tole.

These experiments demonstrated that strong social influences can make ordinary people conform to falsehoods or give in to cruelty.

He used the foot in the door effect.

Social Facilitation
Improved performance on simple or well learned tasks in the presence of others.

Triplett found strengthened performance in others’ presence. On tougher tasks, people perform worse when observers or others working on the same task are present though. The presence of others sometimes helps and sometimes hinders performance. When others observe us we become aroused.

What you do well, you are likely to do even better in front of an audience. What you find difficult may seem all but impossible when you are being watched.

Social Loafing
BIB LATANE

The tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable. (Diminished feeling of responsibility)

3 causes of social loafing:
1) People acting as part of a group feel less accountable, and therefore worry less about what others thing.
2) Group members may view their individual contributions a dispensable.
3) When group members share equally in benefits, regardless of how much they contribute, some may slack off. People can free ride on other peoples efforts. `

Deindividuation
The loss of self awareness and self restraint occurring in group situations that make people both aroused and anonymous.

Ex. KKK, online bulling…

Group Polarization
The enhancement of a group’s prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group.

The beliefs and attitudes we bring to a group grow stronger as we discuss them with like minded others.

The internet can connect like minded individuals and cause group polarization- potentially dangerous.

Groupthink
The mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.

It is fed by overconfidence, conformity, self justification, and group polarization.

Groupthink is prevented when a leader welcomes various opinions and is open to critiques.

People want to think like the group so they don’t say their real opinion.

Social Control, Personal Control, and Minority Influence
Social control is the power of the situation.

Personal control is the power of the individual.

These two interact.

Committed individuals can sway the majority and create history (ex. Rosa Parks). The power of one or two individuals to sway majorities is MINORITY INFLUENCE.

Culture
The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted rom one generation to the next.

Human nature is designed for culture. We are more than just social animals.

Thanks to language, we humans enjoy the preservation of innovation. Culture enables an efficient division of labor (ex. it takes a team of people to publish a book, not just the author).

Culture drives our everyday life (ex. what we eat, what we buy, what sports we play).

Cultures evolve over time (and rapidly).

Norm
An understood role for accepted and expected behavior. Norms prescribe “proper” behavior.

Each culture has its own norm.

Culture Shock- When we don’t understand whats accepted or expected. Ex. When we are exposed to a new culture.

Prejudice
An unjustifiable and usually negative attitude toward a group and its members. Involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings , and a predisposition to discriminatory action.

Ex. Ethnocentrism- Assuming the superiority of one’s ethnic group.

As overt prejudice wanes, subtle prejudice lingers. Prejudice can not only be subtle but also automatic and unconscious.

Gender: People tend to perceive their fathers as more intelligent than their mothers.

AUTOMATIC PREJUDICE: Modern studies indicate that prejudice is often implicit, an automatic attitude that is an unthinking knee jerk response. Evolution prepared us, when encountering strangers, to make instant judgements.

Stereotype
A generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people.

Stereotyped beliefs are a by product of how we cognitively simplify the world.

Discrimination
Unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group and its members.

Victims of discrimination may react with either self blame or anger.

Just World Phenomenon
The tendency for people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get.

Allows people to develop prejudice attitudes that justify things as they are.

Stereotypes rationalize inequalities.

Ingroup
“Us”- people with whom we share a common identity.
Outgroup
“Them”- those perceived as different or apart from our ingroup.
Ingroup Bias
The tendency to favor our own group.
Scapegoat Theory
The theory that prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame.

When things go wrong, finding someone to blame can provide a target for anger.

To boost our own sense of status, it helps to have others to denigrate. That is why a rival’s misfortune sometimes provides a twinge of pleasure.

Negative emotions nourish prejudice.

Cognitive Roots of Prejudice
Stereotyped beliefs are a by product of how we cognitively simplify the world. (All of these feed stereotypes)

1) Categorization: Human beings categorize people by race. (Other-race effect plays a role in how we categorize)

2) Vivid Cases: People often judge the frequency of events by instances that readily come to mind. Vivid and violent cases are more readily available to our memory and feed our stereotypes.

3) Believing the World is Just: People often justify their prejudices by blaming victims. If the world is just, people must get what they deserve.

Other- Race Effect
The tendency to recall faces of one’s own race more accurately than faces of other races. Also called the cross race effect or the own race bias.

Our greater recognition for faces of our own race emerges during infancy between 3 and 9 months of age.

Aggression
Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy, whether done out of hostility or as a calculated means to an end.
Biopsychosocial Understanding of Aggression
Biological: Genetic, biochemical (testosterone and alcohol), neural (severe head injury).

Social Cultural: Deindividuation from being in a crowd, challenging environmental factors (crowding, heat, direct provocations), parental models of aggression, minimal father involvement, being rejected from a group, exposure to violent media.

Psychological: Dominating behavior (boosts testosterone levels in the blood), believing the alcohol’s been drunk, frustration, aggressive role models, rewards for aggressive behavior, low self control

Biological Influences of Aggression
Biological factors influence the ease with which aggression is triggered.

1) Genetic: Genes influence aggression, and we know this through animals that have been bred for aggressiveness and twin studies. If one twin is aggressive, the other twin is likely to be the same. The Y chromosome influences aggression.

2) Neural: There is no one spot in the brain that controls aggression, it is a complex behavior and occurs in particular contexts. Through research, it was found that the amygdala affects aggression. Violent criminals have reveled diminished activity in the frontal lobes, which play an important role in controlling impulses. Frontal lobe complications can cause aggression to be more likely.

3) Biochemical: The hormone testosterone circulates in the bloodstream and influences that neural systems that control aggression. As men age, their testosterone levels and aggressiveness diminish. Men more than women tend to have wide faces, a testosterone linked trait. Mens facial width is a predictor of their aggressiveness. High testosterone correlates with irritability, assertiveness, impulsiveness, and low tolerance for frustration. High testosterone levels correlate with delinquency.

Also, alcohol unleashes aggressive responses to frustration. Aggression prone people are more likely to drink and become violent when intoxicated.

Frustration- Aggression Principle
The principle that frustration- the blocking of an attempt to achieve some goal- creates anger, which can generate aggression.

This was found through an analysis of 27,000 hit by pitch major league baseball incidents- pitchers were most likely to hit batters when frustrated.

Psychological and Social Cultural Factors in Aggression
1) Aversive Events & Stimuli: Hot temperatures, physical pain, personal insults, foul odors, cigarette smoke, crowding, and a host of others can evoke hostility. (Studies have shown a correlation between high temperatures and aggression related crimes).

2) Reinforcement and Modeling: Aggression may be a natural response to aversive events, but learning can alter these reactions. In situations where experience has taught us that aggression pays, we are likely to act aggressively again. Parents should reinforce good behavior and model how to act to their children from a young age.

3) Media Models for Violence: Parents are hardly the only aggression models. Shows, films, video games, and music lyrics offer creates SOCIAL SCRIPTS. Violent video games increase aggressive thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Social Scripts
Culturally modeled guide for how to act in various situations.

Come from shows, films, video games, music lyrics, etc.

Linked to sexual aggression.

catharsis hypothesis
Attraction
What makes us attracted to one another:

1) Proximity
2) Attractiveness
3) Similarity

Proximity
Proximity breeds liking partly because of the mere exposure effect. Proximity is friendship’s most powerful predictor. You are inclined to like people who you spend time around.

Familiarity breeds fondness.

For our ancestors the mere exposure effect had survival value. What was familiar was generally safe and approachable.

Mere Exposure Effect
The phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking to them.
Attractiveness
Physical appearance affects both sex’s first impressions. Also predicts how often people date and how popular they are. We perceive attractive people are healthier, happier, more sensitive, more successful, and more socially skilled.

However, people’s attractiveness is unrelated to their self esteem and happiness- few of us view ourselves as unattractive. Also, less attractive people are more likely to get praised for being sincere.

Beauty is dependent on culture.

An averaged face is attractive because they are symmetrical.

Those we like (with appealing traits) we also find attractive.

Similarity
Opposites retract, not attract. Friends and couples are more likely to share common attitudes, beliefs, and interests. The more alike people are, the more their liking endures.

We like those who like us. When our self image is low, we feel good and respond warmly to people who like us, which makes them like us even more.

Passionate Love
An aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship.

Emotions have two ingredients, physical arousal and cognitive arousal.

Arousal from any source can enhance one emotion or another, depending on how we interpret and label that arousal. Ex. If we are aroused through being scared, for example, we will find an attractive woman even more attractive than if we weren’t aroused beforehand.

Adrenaline makes the heart grow fonder.

Compassionate Love
The deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined. Happens as love matures.

The flood of passion facilitating hormones (testosterone, adrenaline, dopamine) subsides and another hormone, oxytocin, supports feelings of trust, calmness, and binding with the mate.

Shift from passion to attachment. Passionate love often produces children, whose survival is aided by the parent’s waning obsession with each other.

Keys to Enduring Love
1) Equity
2) Self Disclosure
3) Positive Support
Equity
A condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give to it.

Ex. I like hugs. I like kisses. But what I really love is help with the dishes.

Self Disclosure
Revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others (likes and dislikes, worries and dreams…).

Disclosure breeds liking.

There must be equity in self disclosure too.

Writing about our feelings can also enhance our emotions.

Positive Support
Positive interactions such as compliments, touching, and laughing.
Altruism
Unselfish concern/regard for the welfare of others

Altruism became a major concern of social psychologists after an especially vile act of sexual violence in Queens, New York. A stalker stabbed and then raped a woman named KITTY GENOVESE as she was dying. 38 room lights turned on/windows opened in response to her screams, however none of them called the police until 20 minutes later (after the attacker had already fled)

Bystander Intervention
JOHN DARLEY & BIBB LATANE attributed the inaction of those 38 rooms to an important situational factor: the presence of others.

After staging emergencies under various conditions, Darley and Latane found THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS FOR BYSTANDER INTERVENTION: We will only help if the situation enables us first to 1) notice the incident, then to 2) interpret it as an emergency, and finally to 3) assume responsibility for helping. At each step, the presence of others can turn us away from the path that leads us to helping. (Summary Below)

Notice, Interpret, Assume Responsibility (NIA). We must go through each of these steps in order to help someone in need.

Experiments have shown that when people are alone they will usually help a person in need because they assume responsibility. People who thought others were present, and could therefore hear the victims cries, were more likely to ignore the victim.

DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY: When more people shared responsibility for helping, any single listen was less likely to help.

Bystander Effect
The tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present.

Hundreds of experiments have confirmed this phenomenon. Ex) Elevator Test- Researchers and their assistants “accidentally” dropped coins or pencils. When alone with the person in need, 40 percent helped; in the presence of 5 other bystanders, only 20 percent helped.

Best Odds for Helping Someone
– The person appears to need and deserve help
– The person is in some way similar to us
– The person is a woman
– We have just observed someone else being helpful
– We are not in a hurry
– We are in a small town or rural area
– We are feeling guilty
– We are focused on others and not preoccupied
– We are in a good mood (The idea that happy people are helpful people is one of the most consistent findings in ALL of psychology. Happiness breeds helpfulness)
Social Exchange Theory
The theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs.

The theory behind we help.

We compare the costs and benefits, and if the benefits (rewards) exceed the costs then we will help. Ex) Donating Blood (Costs would be feeling uncomfortable, anxiety, etc. Benefits would be Social approval, reduced guilt, good feelings)

Reciprocity Norm
The expectation that people will help, not harm, those who have helped them. (Learned through socialization, see below)

Another theory behind why we help. This is the idea that we have been socialized to do so (through norms that prescribe us how we ought to behave).

Social-Responsibility Norm
The expectation that people will help those who need their help. EVEN if the costs outweigh the benefits. (Ex. young children and others who cannot give as much as they receive)

People who attend weekly religious services often are admonished to practice the social- responsibility norm (these people have twice as many hours doing so)

Conflict
A perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas.

Social traps and distorted perceptions are potential results from conflict.

Social Trap
A situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self interest rather than the good of the group, become caught in mutually destructive behavior.

In some situations, we harm our collecting well being by pursuing our personal interests.

As long as you both pursue your own immediate best interest you will both end up with nothing, the typical result, when you could have had better alternative.

Through regulation, communication, and promoting awareness of our responsibilities we can cooperate for our mutual benefit.

Mirror Image Perceptions
Mutual views often held by conflicting people, as when each side sees itself as ethical and peaceful and views the other side as evil and aggressive.

Each demonizes the other, and this can often feed a vicious cycle of hostility.

Enemy perceptions often form mirror images.

Self Fulfilling Prophecy
A belief that leads to its own fulfillment. Perceptions can become these.

Perceiving themselves as returning tit for tat, people often hit back with 40% more force than they had just experienced.

Ex. If Juan believes Maria is annoyed with him, he may snub her, causing her to act in ways that justify his perception.

Promoting Peace
You do this through contact, cooperation, communication and conciliation (4 C’s).

1) Contact: Contact has been correlated with, or in experimental studies has led to, more positive attitudes. Friendly contacts between blacks, whites, gays, and straight people improves attitudes towards each other. Even indirect contact with an outgrip member has reduced prejudice.

2) Cooperation: Ex. Muzafer Sherif set a conflict in motion and separated 22 boys into two separate camp areas. He then had the two groups compete for prizes in a series of activities. Before long each group became hostile to the other group. (Superordinate Goals:) He then arranged different prizes that could only be achieved through both groups cooperating, and this turned the once enemies into friends. What reduced conflict was not mere contact but cooperate contact.

3) Communication: When real life conflicts become intense a third party mediator may facilitate much needed communication. Helps each party voice its viewpoint and understand the other’s needs and goals.

4) Conciliation: When conflicts intensify, images become more stereotyped, judgements become more rigid, and communication more difficult. Richard Osgood created a strategy of Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension Reduction (GRIT) which helps a lot.

Superordinate Goals
Shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation.

Shared goals that can be achieved only through cooperation.

GRIT
Graduated and Reciprocated Initiative in Tension Reduction. A strategy designed to decrease international tensions.

One side first announces its recognition of mutual interests and its intent to reduce tensions. It then initiates one or more small, conciliatory acts. Without weakening ones retaliatory capability, this modest beginning opens the door for reciprocity by the other party.

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