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Social Psychology

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what is social psychology?
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the science of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influence by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others
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why is social psychology important?
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we are social beings, living in a social world! A great deal of time spent interacting with others
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hindsight bias
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tendency to overestimate our ability to predict once we already know the outcome of an event
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sociology
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investigates issues of social class, social structure, and institutions
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similarities between social psychology and sociology
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both consider the impact of the social environment on outcomes
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the differences between social psychology and sociology
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social psychology focuses on what happens to the individual; sociology focuses on what happens to societies as a whole
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personality psychology
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investigates what personality characteristics make people different from each other
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similarities between social psychology and personality psychology
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both attempt to explain human (social behavior)
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differences between social psychology and personality psychology
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social psychology aims to identify universal properties of human behavior; personality psychology focuses on the individual differences
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Kurt Lewin
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emphasize the power of the situation in influencing people’s behavior
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B=f(P,E)
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behavior is a function of the person and the environment
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earliest social psychology studies
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didn’t gain as much traction because of Freudian boom
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1898- Norman Triplett- reeling study
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-studied social facilitation -Inspired by viewing of cyclists increased efforts around others -Study: 40 children, those around others reeled fishing rod faster
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1913-Meximilien Ringelmann cart pulling study (social loafing)
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people put less effort pulling a cart when working in groups than when by themselves
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1930s-50s
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global scale event during this period generated many scientific advances
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1960s-70s
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ethical concerns on how participants should be treated throughout experiments
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scientific critique over the real life validity of lab experiments , concerns of:
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artificialness
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1970s-90s cognitive revolution- research boom in:
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-human memory, information processing, attention, etc. -less ethical risk! -moved away from topics like motivation and emotion
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present: history of social psychology
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– psychological research compasses all known topics/perspectives to date -return to topics like motivation, emotion, personality etc. – Human behavior once again strongly considered as a function of the person and situation
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There are several reasons why we do experiments
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It is important to conduct research because many of the things we “know” to be true turn out to be false when carefully investigated
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Aronson’s first law
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people who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy
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what is the difference between amateur social psychology and professional social psychology
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professional social psychologists do not need to wait on things to happen so that they can observe how people respond; in fact, they can make things happen
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What do we mean by science?
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Science is a method to answering questions about the world
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logical arguments
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Follows logical reasoning in its creation. Systematic observation
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Inductive reasoning:
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bottom-up conclusion reached after generalizing a particular case. You have a particular observation and because of that you generalize it.
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Deductive reasoning:
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top-down logic, conclusion reached from narrowing down a known generalization
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Replicability
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-Given the same conditions and methodologies, a study should produce the same results when attempted by other people. -Important for confirming the validity of study results.
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Falsifiability
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-Does not automatically mean wrong! -Just open to the possibility of being proven wrong.
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Nonfalsifiable statements:
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If statement happens to be wrong, all you will ever find is an absence of evidence, which doesn’t disprove the theory:
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the scientific method
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Problem Hypothesis (specific, testable, falsifiable) Design study Data (collect, analyze) Conclude Repeat, if necessary!
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Construct
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-“what” -Conceptual representation of behaviors or phenomenon of which the research is based on -Is it not tangible
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Operationalization- “how”
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-Defines construct tangibly -Create an observable behavior
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when designing a study format must know:
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– How much control do you want over the situation -To what level are you trying to investigate the problem of interest?
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Naturalistic observation:
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observe behavior where it typically happens -Ex. How much aggression do children exhibit during recess time? -Strengths: high in external validity, see what people are actually doing, realistic setting -Limitations: can only describe, no rare events, observer bias, poor control, low in internal validity. -Behaviors must be concretely defined before observation -Behaviors are systematically described and recorded
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Interjudge reliability:
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accuracy of observer is assessed Multiple observers + agreement = better results
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Archival analysis
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-Examine accumulated documents from the past -Strengths: detailed understanding of a culture in a specific period -Limitations: messy data, journalist bias, omitted info
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Correlational studies
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-Determine how much and in what way two pre-existing variables are related – Correlation does not equal causation -Strengths: study things you can’t or shouldn’t manipulate, lots of data, cheap and easy -Limitations: response bias, sampling errors, does NOT interpret causality (not necessarily cause and effect) -Positive: direct -Negative: indirect Zero: no predictive value, not informative
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Interpreting correlations
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-R coefficient: statistic that represents the association between X and Y -Strength of a relationship, ranged between 1.0 and +1.0 -Stronger relationship= more slant to best fit lines in data
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Experimental studies:
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-Randomly assign participants to different conditions, identical except for a manipulated factor. -Independent variable: manipulated factor – Dependent: what is measured to see if it is affected -Comparison made between conditions to observe the impact of IV and DV -Casual contribution possible since conditions are the same -Strengths: high internal validity, can conclude causality -Limitations: expensive, experimenter bias, low in external validity
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Random selection:
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participant sample is randomly drawn from the population as a whole
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Random assignment
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-participants in the sample are randomly assigned between the experimental conditions -Distributes differences in participants (personalities, etc.)
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Experimental validity: external
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-extent to which study results are generalizable across -Situations- from lab to real world People: from study participants to people in general
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experimental validity: internal
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-making sure nothing besides the IV can affect DV -Increase by: control extraneous variables, random assignments
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Basic science:
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-concerned with the understanding of a phenomenon on its own – Hopefully to use that understanding to build valid theories about nature of some aspect of the world -In social psychology: concerns how social information influences behaviors
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Applied research:
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-concerned with using current understanding of a phenomenon in order to solve a real world problem – In social psychology: has been used to help design advertising campaigns and behavioral interventions -Intervention: an effort to change a person’s behavior
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Informed consent:
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a person’s signed agreement to participate in a procedure or research study after learning all the relevant aspects
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Deception research:
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participants are misled about the purpose of the research of the meaning of something that is done to them.
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Science and Art
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The requirements of a good experiment frequently necessitate a combination of skills from both these domains
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criticisms of experimentation
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A frequent criticism is that laboratory experiments are unrealistic, contrived imitations of human interaction that don’t reflect the real world at all.
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Independent variable:
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what the experimenter is changing in order to test the question
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Dependent variable:
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what the experimenter measures to assess the effects of the IV
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The great advantage of the RA of people is this:
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it is extremely unlikely that such variables would affect results in a systematic fashion.
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The challenge of experimentation in social psychology: Control vs. impact:
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-It is impossible to exercise complete control over the environment of human participants. -One reason why psychologists use rats for their experiments is that researchers are able to control almost everything that happens. -Impact and control often work in opposite ways, as one increases, the other tends to decease.
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An experiment can be realistic in two separate ways:
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if an experiment had an impact on the participants, forces them to take the matter seriously, we can say it has achieved experimental realism.
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Mundane realism:
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-how similar the laboratory experiment is to the events that frequently happen to people in the outside world -The best way to achieve experimental realism is to design a setting that will be absorbing and interesting to the participants
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Deception
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-Trying to conceal the true nature of the experiment from the participants
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Cover stories:
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are designed to increase experimental realism by producing a situation in which the participant can act naturally, without being inhibited by knowing just which aspect of behavior is being studied
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Ethical problems
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1. It is imply unethical to tell lies to people 2. Such deception frequently leads to an invasion of privacy. 3. Experimental procedures often entail some unpleasant experiences, such as pain, boredom, and anxiety.
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Social psychologists have an ethical dilemma that goes two ways.
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1) they believe in the value of free science inquiry. 2) they believe in dignity of humans and their right to privacy
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The five guidelines with going forward with an experiment
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1. Procedures that cause pain should be avoided, if at all possible. 2. Experimenters should give the participants the true option of quitting 3. Experimenters should be alert to alternative procedures to deception 4. Have a “debriefing session” 5. Experimenters should not undertake an experiment that employs deception or discomfort, “for the hell of it”
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Social influence
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-The ways people’s comments, actions, presence affect one another -Impacts attitudes, beliefs, feelings, behaviors
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Social norms
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Learned cultural rules imposed by people
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Descriptive norms
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how people actually behave
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Injunctive norms
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how people should behave
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conformity
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Change in behavior to match other people’s responses or actions
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Impacts of social norms
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-Establish/maintain social order, though blindly following can be problematic Example: people standing in a line buying a movie ticker. Those who came first got in line first
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Automatic Mimicry
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– Conformity can be unconscious!!!!! -Merely thinking about a behavior makes performing it more likely Example: see others act one way, more likely to act in kind -Mimicry is stronger for people with need to affiliate with others – People like individuals who mimic them better than those who don’t -People who are mimicked engage in more prosocial behavior afterward Mimicry may build social rapport
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mimicry cultural differences
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-People of various cultures differ in their tendencies to mimic others, and in how much mimicry they expect in social interactions -Being attuned to the emotions and behavior of others is more characteristic of Hispanic cultures than of Anglo American cultures.
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Informational social influence
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-conforming out of desire to be correct/knowledgeable – People can be useful sources of information about what is appropriate in a given situation -“they must know something I don’t know” Example: celebrity sighting?
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Sheriff’s Autokinetic effect study (1936)
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The dot experiment: people reported “honestly” when alone, but increasingly conformed to other’s responses n later group trials
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when is informational social influence likely to happen?
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-Ambiguous situations -Crisis -Other’s having expertise/low self-esteem -One’s valuation of being accurate/ knowledgeable
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Normative social influence:
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-Conforming out of desire to be accepted/liked by others (avoiding conflict, disapproval, or judgment) -Based on desire to fulfill others’ expectations (peer pressure1) -May not necessarily agree with the crowd consensus, but still join along
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Asch study (1956): line judgement test
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– Control condition (judging lines alone) 99% correct -Experimental condition (group) -Seven confederates intentionally choose the wrong answer Results: 75% participants conformed at least once.
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normative social influence likelier to occur when:
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-When group decisions are unanimous -Group members are admired/attractive -Group is large (to an extent)
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Opposing conformity
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-One person dissenting can reduce others’ conformity -Their opinion must be consistent and well-informed (can trigger informational social influence)
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Compliance
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– Change in behavior in response to an explicit request from others or environment (set of rules in place) -Environmental example: the sex specific door experiment ○ The most important component is power (both compliance and identification are generally more temporary but can be prolonged by permanence)
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Norm of reciprocity (reward giving in the beginning)
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-Expectation that people will help those who have helped them – Triggers feeling of indebtedness
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Foot-in-door
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-Initial small request followed by gradually larger request – Getting people on to something small makes it easier to request bigger commitments later on
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Door-in-the face
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– Make large, unfeasible request, then reduce to relatively smaller favor -Makes smaller request comparatively easier to commit to
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Factors that Increase of Decrease Conformity: Unanimity:
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one of the crucial factors that determines the likelihood that the participant’s opinion will conform to that of the majority is whether the majority opinion is unanimous.
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Factors that Increase of Decrease Conformity: Commitment:
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one way conformity to group pressure can be decreased is by including the individual to make some sort of commitment to his or her initial judgment
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Factors that Increase of Decrease Conformity: Accountability:
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-accountability to the group tends to increase conformity -Most people will go along to get along unless they know that they will be held accountable for a dumb, complaint decision
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Factors that Increase of Decrease Conformity: The person and the culture:
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individuals who have generally low self-esteem are far more likely to yield to group pressure than those with high self-esteem
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a group is more effective at inducing conformity if:
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1) it consists of experts, 2) the members are of high social status, or 3) the members are comparable with individual in some way.
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Identification:
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-describe a response to social influence brought about by an individual’s desire. -The crucial component is attractiveness -The difference between identification and compliance is that we do come to believe in the opinions and values we adopt, although we do not believe in them very strongly.
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Internalization:
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-the motivation to internalize a particular belief is the desire to be right, thus, the reward for the belief is intrinsic – The important component is creditability -The most permanent response to social influence
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The bystander effect:
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what occurs when another bystander or other bystanders tend to inhibit helpful actions.
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Obedience:
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-change in behavior in response to demand from authority figure -Most coercive -POWER
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Milgram
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Created a study interested in unquestioning obedience to orders (blind obedience). Learner and teacher, the learner needed to remember a list of things and if they didn’t remember they would be shocked. The Teachers (participants) knew before had that the learner (confederate) had a heart condition
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Results of Milgram’s study
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-65.2% of participants completed the experiment (seeing it through to the end) -Originally predicted that <1% would follow through -Participants were of different ages/social class, no sex differences -The experimenter's influence won over
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Reducing Milgram effect
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○ later renditions changed the proximity of the learner -No visual/audio feedback (less proximity) -Audio feedback -Same room (visual and audio feedback -Touch proximity (more proximity)
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Milgram: Participants impacts
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– Releasing feelings of responsibility -If experimenter claimed responsibility for study outcomes participants more easily transferred to him/her -Was able to justify their action- “I was only following orders”
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Milgram effect in history
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-Former Nazi soldiers express the influence from the sense of obligation to the Nazi state -Anti-Semitic laws were introduced gradually (like 15 volts at a time)
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Why was Milgram effect so powerful?
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– Informational/normative influences -Info-desire to complete the experiment correctly -Normative- wanting to be approved of by the experimenters -Personal responsibility -Gradual increases in demands rather than sharp ones
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how to decrease obedience
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-Reduce authority’s power -Make the punisher more visible to the participant
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What is a group?
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-3 or more people who interact and are interdependent -Must be connected and dependent on each to some extent
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Why do groups form?
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-Belonging with others is a basic human need -Inclusion, control, affection -Helps define ourselves and provides information
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Social facilitation
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presence of others enhances individual performance -Presence of others meaning: □ They are doing task along with you (Triplett study) – Just watching you perform (Zajonc Study)
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Zajonc’s Theory or Arousal
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○ Presence of others produces arousal § Concerns of being evaluated § Increases the likelihood of dominant responses □ That which are likely to occur in a situation □ In easy, practiced situations-response is usually correct (if the situation is easy or well-rehearsed, social influence to be easier) In difficult, or novel situation-response likelier to be incorrect
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Cockroach study (Zajonc)
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§ Roaches simply watching subject roach navigate improved times for simple, but not complex maze -Social facilitation does not hold true when it comes to performing difficult tasks
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Beating social pressure (2 ways)
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○ Make the complex task easier, mostly easier practice ○ Do complex tasks alone (studying new material) -Study groups work better when trying to consolidate already learned material
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Social loafing
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○ Put less effort with a group than when they are individually accountable ○ Ringlmann (cart pulling study) ○ Absence of social evaluation, no increase in arousal – Relaxedness impairs performance on simple tasks, but improves on complex tasks
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How do we eliminate social loafing?
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○ Individual accountability ○ Challenge/engage individuals ○ Make the goal important to everyone ○ Make contributions feel important -Provide consequences
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Groupthink
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○ Subpar thinking due to emphasizing group cohesion over facts § Less consideration for alternatives § Less criticism of risks for “top choice” § Failure to develop contingency plans Ex. Kennedy in the Bay of pigs administration
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Self-censorship
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-withholding information that goes against majority opinion (MAJOR SYMPTOM of group think)
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Causes of groupthink:
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§ High group cohesion § Homogenous members § Directive leaser § Crises -Isolation from alternatives
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Group polarization
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Tendency for groups to make decisions that are much more extreme than initial beliefs of individual members
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why does group polarization happen?
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§ Exposure to additional arguments from others strengths original opinions. § Wanting to be liked by the group Ex. Study: high school students given racial attitudes towards African Americans. Found that their ratings were amplified against African Americans when they were grouped with like-minded people
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Deindividuation
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○ Loosening of normal constraints when people are in a crowd, increases impulsive/deviant acts ○ Reduced sense of individual identity ○ Increased obedience to group norms Ex. Riots
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Why does deindividuation work?
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§ Reduced self-control § No individual accountability for actions § Conformity to group norms efforts to conceal identity (e.g. masks)
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Halloween study: individuation
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§ Experimenters placed bowls of candy at 27 homes § Children arrive alone or in groups § After the adult left, 57% of children in groups took extra candy, only 21% who were alone did so
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Standard prison experiment
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○ Do certain traits of prisoners and guard create abuse ○ Experiment was called off after 6 days ○ 2-week prison simulation, 24 males (tested for mental health) ○ 12 prisoners, 12 guards Prisoners were arrested at their homes, formally taken through booking procedures
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Effects of prison study
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-Many participants experienced long-term emotional trauma □ Remember they were pre-screened -The role of group norms □ Guards become increasingly more extreme each day and no one dissented from the main approach. – Accountability was removed from the guards (Zimbardo being overarching administer) □ No consequences for one’s actions
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persuasion
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a change in a private attitude or belief as a result of receiving a message
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attitude
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person’s evaluation of people, object or ideas
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persuasive communication
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that which advocates a particular side of an issue
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persuasion vs. compliance
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persuasion is a change in attitude whereas compliance is a change in behavior. Persuasion lead to a behavior being done, but compliance doesn’t necessarily change the attitude
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elaboration likelihood model
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proposes two ways in which persuasive communications can change attitudes
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central route
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-deep processing -attitude change through processes of reasoning -successful persuasion needs good reasoning and high-quality arguments -more durable and impacting, resistant to counter-persuasion
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central route processing works only if:
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-personally relevant -participants has knowledge of topic -holds responsibility requires a motivation/ability to listen carefully to the communication
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peripheral route
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– people pay attention to surface characteristics of the message: – persuasion made through feelings/superficial associations -superficial and temporary attitude change -people pay attention to the physical characteristics/personality/expertise of the person
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What are the key factors than can increase the effectiveness of a communication or persuasive attempt?
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1. The source of communication (who says it) 2. Nature of the communication (how he or she says it) 3.Characteristics of the audience (to whom he or she says it)
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what influences the motivation to consider argument strength?
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-personal relevance of topic, central route -need for cognition: enjoying effortful activities -time -mental load: do we have other things on our minds?
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petty & cacioppo
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-mandatory comprehensive exam for college seniors in order to graduate -people gave weight to stronger arguments when the issue was more relevant to them
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what makes a speaker more persuasive? speaker characteristics
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source characteristics -credibility -attractiveness -trustworthiness
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credibility
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-perceived expertise/knowledge -trustworthiness -speaking quickly & without knowledge
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attractiveness
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-physical appeal -attractive people more persuasive, even for unrelated topics (peripheral cue) -appeals to similarity
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halo effect:
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good looking people are assumed to have other qualities too
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sleeper effects: why do people believe tabloids?
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-people may forget the source of where they read a controversial headline steps: 1. hear persuasive message, entertain the idea 2. realize source is untrustworthy remember the message, but don’t remember the source 4. when all you remember is the message, influence is stronger than before since source was discounted
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what makes a speaker more persuasive? argument characteristics
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-quality of argument -vividness -fear
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one-sided vs. two-sided appeals
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acknowledge and counter argue apposing viewpoints (two-sided) -especially if audience is uninformed or disagrees with presenter(does the thinking for them) -backfires if audience is on presenter side (use one-sided instead)
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order of argument
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people best remember information delivered at the beginning and end of the argument -primacy effect (beginning) & recency effect (end)
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primacy effect
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the effect that occurs when information encountered first had more impact on our impressions or beliefs than subsequent information
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recency effect
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when information encountered last, or late, in a sequence has more influence on impression or beliefs than information encountered earlier
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vividness
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vivid information can be persuasive than statistics -arguments/scenarios that we can recreate in our heads
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identifiable victim effect
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tendency to be more influenced by information about one specific person than by information about large groups of people
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fear appeals
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-they contain very wild information and can be effective -depict consequences or refusing change work best when paired with instructions on how to avoids negative outcomes -extreme fear appeals can cause people to disengage from message, worsen effectiveness
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who says what to whom? audience characteristics
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-mood -individual differences -movement
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mood
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a positive mood may lead to greater persuasion -people may misattribute good to be the message
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individual differences: age
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age: younger people (18-25) are more persuadable than older people. Values and attitudes may be stronger and longer-held
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individual
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-intelligence (low more easily persuaded) -self-esteem (those with low self esteem are less persuadable) -need for cognition (higher need will desire more from the argument to be persuaded)
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movement: wells & petty
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nodding head (vs,shaking) while listening to agrument increased persuasion
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Opinions Vs. attitudes
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– Opinions: what a person believes to be factually true – Attitude: an opinion that includes an evaluative and emotional component