11/26/07 Social Psychology All environments influence our behavior. The most powerful: the social environment Social Psychology: The study of how an individual?s thoughts, feelings, and actions, are affected by others. A major social influence on people is the creation of their attitudes. Attitudes: Organized and enduring set of beliefs and feelings that predispose us to behave in a certain way. Deeply ingrained: very difficult to remove. People show strong need to preserve attitudes. They will reject evidence that contradicts their attitudes. Minimization of Cognitive Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance = discomfort generated by lack of consistency. How Attitudes Can Change The strongest influence on attitude is social environment For a child, major influence is parental attitudes (children are socialized into attitudes) Socialization: They way people are integrated into society by exposure to the actions and opinions of others. Therefore: changes in attitude come about through major changes in social environment. Example: 80% of children prefer same political party as parents. At college, this drops to 55% Major changes in attitude occur age 18-25, with college, first job, marriage, etc. Strongly works against parental influence. Attribution Theory Attribution Theory- Study of how people attribute causes to other people?s behavior Any action of other person can have many different causes. Example- In a single day Waitress warmly smiles at us at the end of meal Man at gas station scowls at us Two opposite theories of this pair of events Dispositional Theories Waitress is warm friendly person Man at gas station is hostile, angry person Behavior was result of dispositions = deep seated consistent personality traits. Situational Theories Waitress is normally bad-tempered, but she had been told by the boss to be nice. Man at gas station is normally good-tempered, but he had just had a cut in salary. Behavior was a result of local situations Attribution Error Most people use first kind of theory when explaining behavior of other people (waitress?s smile, gas attendants scowl) are attributed to their permanent personality (dispositional factors) People rarely use situational theories Attribution Error- Tendency to favor dispositional theories rather than situational theories. Damaging Effects of Attribution Error By making attribution error, people can force other people to become something they were not originally. Particularly damaging to children. High-School teachers frequently decide very early in school year, who is smart and who is not. This, in turn, has effect on child?s self-perception.
Want to see the other 2 page(s) in Class 19?JOIN TODAY FOR FREE!