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Social Thinking and Social Influence. Module 35. 35-1: . WHAT DO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS STUDY? HOW DO WE TEND TO EXPLAIN OTHERS’ BEHAVIOR AND OUR OWN?. Social psychologists . Use scientific methods to study how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. ID: 686024

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Josef F. Steufer/Getty Images

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Module 35

Slide2

35-1: WHAT DO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS STUDY? HOW DO WE TEND TO EXPLAIN OTHERS’ BEHAVIOR AND OUR OWN?Social psychologists

Use scientific methods to study how people think about, influence, and relate to one anotherStudy the social influences that explain why the same person will act differently in different situations

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Thinking

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When explaining others’ behavior, especially from an individualist Western cultural perspective

Fundamental attribution error committed by

underestimating the influence of the situation

and overestimating

the effects of stable, enduring

traitsBehavior more readily attributed to the influence of the situationExplaining and attributing actions can have important real-life social and economic effects

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social

Thinking

Slide4

Attribution theory, Fritz Heider (1958): The theory that we explain someone else’s behavior by crediting either the situation (a situational

attribution) or the person’s disposition (a dispositional attribution

).

The

fundamental attribution error

is the tendency, when analyzing others’ behavior, to overestimate the influence of personal traits and underestimate the effects of the situation.Fundamental attribution error demonstrated in a study (Napolitan & Goethals,1979):

Students attributed behavior of others to personal traits, even when they were

told that behavior was part of an experimental situation.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Thinking

The Fundamental Attribution Error

Slide5

What Factors Affect Our Attributions?Cultural factors: Individuals from individualist

cultures (Westerners) more often attribute behavior to personal traits.Individuals from

collectivist

cultures (East Asian, for

example)

more often attribute behavior to situational factors.When we explain our own behavior, we are sensitive to how behavior changes the situation.We are also sensitive to the power of the situation when we explain the behavior of people we have seen in different situations.

Is most likely to occur when judging others’ behaviors, not our own, and especially when a stranger acts badly.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Thinking

The Fundamental Attribution Error

Slide6

What Are the Consequences of Our Attributions?

Explaining and attributing actions can have important real-life social and economic effects.A person’s friendliness may be attributed to romantic interest or politeness.

Unemployment and

poverty

may

be attributed to personal dispositions.The point to remember: Our attributions—to a person’s disposition or to the situation—have real consequences.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social ThinkingThe Fundamental Attribution Error

Slide7

35-2: HOW DO ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS INTERACT?

Attitudes are feelings influenced by beliefs, that predispose reactions to objects, people, and events.Attitudes Affect Actions

Peripheral route persuasion

occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues; produce fast but relatively thoughtless changes in attitudes.

Central route persuasion

occurs when people are offered evidence and arguments to trigger thoughtful responses.Attitudes are especially likely to affect behavior when external influences are minimal, and when the attitude is stable, specific to the behavior, and easily recalled.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Thinking

Attitudes and Actions

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Actions Affect AttitudesNot only will people stand up for what they believe, they also will more strongly believe in what they have stood up for.

Foot-in-the-door phenomenonPeople agreeing to a small request will find it easier to agree later to a larger one

Principle works for negative and positive behavior

Many

streams of evidence confirm that

attitudes follow behavior. Cooperative actions, such as those performed by people on sports teams, feed mutual liking. Such attitudes, in turn, promote positive behavior.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social ThinkingAttitudes and Actions

Slide9

Role Playing Affects AttitudesA

role is a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave

.

At first, your behaviors in a new role may feel phony, as though you are acting, but eventually these new ways of acting become a part of you.

Philip Zimbardo’s 1972 Stanford Prison simulation study: controversial, but showed the power of the situation and of role playing.

Other studies have shown that role playing can even train torturers (

Staub

, 1989). Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Thinking

Attitudes and Actions

Slide10

Cognitive Dissonance: Relief From TensionCognitive dissonance theory:

We act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent.When we become aware that our attitudes and our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes.

Brain regions the become active when we experience conflict and negative arousal also become active when people experience cognitive dissonance.

Through cognitive dissonance we often bring attitudes into line with our actions (

Festinger

, 1957).This can be used positively: Act as though you like someone and you soon may.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social ThinkingAttitudes and Actions

Slide11

35-3: HOW DOES CULTURE AFFECT OUR BEHAVIOR?

Culture: The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of peopleTransmitted from one generation to the next

Transmits customs and

beliefs

that

enable us to communicate with each otherTransmits agreed-upon rules to avoid confrontationVariation Across CulturesNorm: Understood rules for accepted and expected behavior

Each cultural group

evolves its own norms; when cultures collide, their differing norms can confuse or even anger

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Cultural Influences

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Variation Over TimeLike biological creatures,Cultures

vary and compete for resourcesCultures evolve over time, and may change rapidly;

cultural evolution is far faster than biological evolution

Cultural

changes can

be negative or positiveCultures shape our lives

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social InfluenceCultural Influences

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35-4: WHAT IS AUTOMATIC MIMICRY, AND HOW DO CONFORMITY EXPERIMENTS REVEAL THE POWER OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE?

Automatic Mimicry

Behavior

is contagious; what we see we often do.

Chartrand

and colleagues (1999) demonstrated the chameleon effect with college students.Automatic mimicry helps people to empathize

and feel what

others feel (mood linkage). The more we mimic, the greater our empathy, and the more people tend to like us.

Suggestibility

and mimicry are subtle forms of

conformity.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Conformity: Complying With

Social

Pressures

Slide14

CONFORMING TO NONCONFORMITY

Are these students asserting their individuality or identifying themselves with others of the same

microculture

?

Automatic Mimicry

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Conformity and Social NormsConformity

: Adjusting our behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standardSolomon

Asch’s

(

1955) experiments on conformity showed that

people fear being “oddballs,” and will often conform with other group members, even though they do not agree with the group’s decisionLater investigations have not always found as much conformity as Asch found, but it is nevertheless a significant phenomenon

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Conformity: Complying With Social Pressures

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Which of the three comparison lines on the left is equal to the standard line? The photo on the right (from one of the experiments) was taken after five people, who were actually working for Asch, had answered, “Line 3.” The student in the center shows

the severe discomfort that comes from disagreeing with the responses of other group members.

ASCH’S CONFORMITY EXPERIMENTS

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They

are

made to

feel

incompetent or insecure

Their group has at least three people

Everyone else agrees

They admire the group’s status and attractiveness

They have not already committed to another response

They know they are being observed

Their culture encourages respect for social standards

Solomon Asch and others have found that people are most likely to adjust their behavior or thinking to coincide with a group

standard when

:

Social

Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Conformity

:

Complying With Social

Pressures

Slide18

Normative social influence

: Influence

resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval

Conforming to avoid rejection or to gain social approval

Informational social influence

: Influence resulting

from one’s willingness to accept others’ opinions as new information

Conforming

because we

want to

be accurate

Conformity

rates

are

generally lower in

individualist

cultures than in collectivist

cultures

,

which put a higher value on honoring group standards

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Conformity: Complying With Social Pressures

Slide19

35-5: WHAT DID MILGRAM’S OBEDIENCE EXPERIMENTS TEACH US ABOUT THE POWER OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE?

Stanley Milgram’s experiments (1963, 1974) were intended to see how people would respond to outright commands.

Research participants became “teachers” to supposedly random “learners” and believed they were subjecting them to escalating levels of electric shocks.

More than 60 percent complied fully; other studies have shown even higher obedience rates.

People

in these studies obeyed orders even when they thought they were harming another person.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social InfluenceObedience: Following Orders

Slide20

In a repeat of the earlier experiment, 65 percent of the

adult male “teachers” fully obeyed the experimenter’s commands to continue. They

did so

despite the “learner’s” earlier

mention of

a heart condition and despite hearing cries of protest after they administered what they thought were 150 volts and agonized protests after 330 volts. (Data from Milgram, 1974.)

MILGRAM’S FOLLOW-UP OBEDIENCE EXPERIMENT

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Obedience in the Milgram experiments was

highest when: Person giving orders was nearby and was perceived

to

be

a

legitimate authority figureResearch was supported by a prestigious institutionVictim was depersonalized or at a distance There were no role models for defianceSocial Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Obedience: Following Orders

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Lessons From the Obedience StudiesStrong social influences can make people conform to falsehoods or capitulate to cruelty

Ordinary people are corrupted by evil situationsPeople

get to real-life violence in

tiny increments (the foot-in-the-door phenomenon): In any society,

great

evils often grow out of people’s compliance with lesser evilsMilgram (1974): “ Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process”

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Obedience: Following Orders

Slide23

35-6: HOW IS OUR BEHAVIOR AFFECTED BY THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS?Social Facilitation

In social facilitation (Triplett, 1898), the presence of others arouses people, improving performance on easy or well-learned tasks but decreasing it on difficult ones.

Our arousal heightens our reactions, strengthening our most

likely

response—the correct one on an easy task but an incorrect one on a difficult task.

Home advantage for team sports; doing something we do well in front of a friendly audienceCrowding effect; performers know that a “good house” is a full one

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social InfluenceGroup Behavior

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Home team advantageWhen others observe us, we perform well-learned tasks

more quickly and accurately.But on new and

difficult tasks

,

performance is less quick and accurate.

Social Thinking and Social InfluenceSocial InfluenceGroup Behavior

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Social Loafing Tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountableThree

causes of social loafing:Acting as part of group and feeling less accountable

Feeling individual

contribution doesn’t

matter

and is dispensableSlacking off, or free riding on others’ efforts, which is especially common when there is lack of identification with the group

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Group Behavior

Slide26

DeindividuationThe loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal

and anonymity.Thrives in many different settings.

When we shed self-awareness and self-restraint—whether in a mob, at a rock concert, at a ballgame, or at worship—we become more responsive to the group experience, whether bad or good.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Group Behavior

Slide27

Deindividuation: During England’s 2011 riots and looting, rioters were disinhibited by social arousal

and by the anonymity provided by darkness and their hoods and masks. Later, some of those arrested expressed bewilderment over their own behavior.

DEINDIVIDUATION

Slide28

35-7: WHAT ARE GROUP POLARIZATION

AND GROUPTHINK,

AND HOW MUCH POWER DO WE HAVE AS INDIVIDUALS?

Group polarization

: The enhancement

of a group’s prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group.Online communication magnifies this effect, for better (motivating positive social change in protest groups) and for worse (cementing prejudiced opinions in hate groups).

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Group Polarization

Slide29

If a group is like-minded, discussion strengthens its prevailing opinions.

Talking over racial issues increased prejudice in a high-prejudice group of high school students and decreased it in a low-prejudice

group (

Data

from Myers

& Bishop, 1970).GROUP POLARIZATION

Slide30

By connecting and magnifying the inclinations of likeminded people, the Internet can be very, very bad, but also very, very good.

Blue liberal blogs link mostly to one another, as do red conservative blogs. (The intervening colors display links across the liberal conservative boundary

.)

Each dot represents a

blog,

and each dot’s size

reflects the

number of other

blogs linking

to that blog. (

From

Lazer

et al., 2009

.)

LIKE MINDS NETWORK IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

Slide31

Groupthink (Janis, 1982): The mode of thinking that occurs when the desire

for harmony within a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of

alternatives

Groupthink is prevented when

leaders

Welcome various opinions, usually in diverse groupsInvite experts’ critiques of developing plansAssign people to identify possible problems

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Group Polarization

Slide32

The Power of IndividualsPower of the

individual (personal control) and the power of the situation

(

social control)

interact

.A committed individual or a small minority with consistently expressed views may sway the majority.The power of one or two individuals to sway majorities is referred to as minority influence.

Social Thinking and Social Influence

Social Influence

Group Polarization


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