Social_influence_social_cognition_Sample_paper_1

Social_influence_social_cognition_Sample_paper_1 -...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction While many people hate to admit it, social influences have a huge impact on every individual’s behavior and it is nearly impossible to be above them or to see through them. From the time that we are very young children, we not only try to fit in with our peers, but we become very good at using persuasion tactics to get what we want. For example, a child that wants the trendiest light up sneakers to match his friends quickly discovers that promising to keep his room clean for a week and following his begging with a please and a hug will convince his mom to buy them. The first part of this example describes social influence as a force in even a child’s life while the second touches on social cognition in the sense that he is learning how to act in certain situations. Examples like this can be very usefitl in examining social influences and cognition and therefore, in this paper 1 will provide a description of a personal experience and then provide an analysis of that experience. Personal Experience This past New Years Eve I was in Austin, TX celebrating with my boyfriend and some friends of ours, both boys and girls. We had all been together at one bar as we waited for midnight to come, but once it had come and passed, we were ready to move on. Most of the clubs were fairly packed and some even had lines of people outside waiting to get in, so when we found one that didn’t seem that busy, we decided to give it a try. Of course we quickly found out that it had a $20 cover which was apparently what kept the crowds away. We all wanted to go but didn’t want. to pay. So, my friend Gina walked up to the bouncer and asked if it would be possible for us to get a group deal, or maybe just a slightly lower price for ladies, I’m not usually one to barter, but once I saw that the bouncer seemed to be softening, I too jumped in and g began to beg him to let us 4 girls in for $40. Gina and I weren’t, however, acting completely normal, but rather were acting somewhat ditzy and trying to convey that we were the life of a party. We promised him that we would buy drinks inside and that we would liven up the party because we were cute and fiJn. After a bit more begging and pleading, he finally agreed to give us the wrist bands and we gave him the money. And then we had a new goal: now we wanted to get the three guys in with us too. Of course we knew that it is always harder for guys to get into clubs, so we had to give the bouncer a slightly better offer. Since we were already going in, we explained to him that we felt bad leaving the boys outside and that really, $40 more should be enough to get them in too. He hesitated for a moment and then asked for $15 per person and let them in to. We of course thanked him profusely and then enjoyed the rest of the night. Analysis of Personal Experience In this experience, rather than just paying the stated cover fee, we attempted to use multiple persuasion techniques and were fortunate that they worked fairly well for us. Our goal as we walked up to the bouncer was to change his attitude and soften him just enough to let us and then our guy friends in and we knew persuasion would be required. First of all, we knew that in this setting, we had to use the am'acliveness bias to our advantage (Gray 471). When we first walked up to the bouncer, his first impression most certainly was that we were attractive young women as we were all dressed very nicely in fashionable club attire. Therefore, due to impressionformation, the bouncer was undoubtedly more inclined to help us and listen to us than if we had been dressed in casual clothes or were frumpy looking. We definitely played up our looks and innocently flirted with the bouncer to befriend him and make him form a good attitude about us. While we of course didn’t consciously think of this at the time, we were garnering our behavior on the fact that the bouncer would make afimdamental attribmion error in our favor (Gray 468). Simply put, fundamental attribution error explains how people have an unjustified tendency to assume that a person's actions depend on what kind of person they are instead of looking at the social and environmental forces that influence the person, Therefore> in this case, rather than realizing that we were just acting silly and flirting with him, the bouncer probably attributed our behavior to personal characteristics and judged us as ditzy bar-hopping girls, which neither of us really are. His misguided judgment, however, made it more likely that he would let us in to go celebrate. Like I said, neither Gina nor I really fit what we assume the bouncers’ impression of us was, but out of the two of us, Gina is definitely the one with more practice atfiiwooing bartenders. So, when I saw that her tactics were working fairly well, I quickly conformed to her behavior and began mimicking her actions and words. This meant that rather than trying my own tactics, I started to be somewhat of a copy cat and followed her every move. Even the other two girls that were with us, who weren’t directly talking to the bouncer, started to conform as well. By the time we had reached a deal, we were all quite giddy. From this we see that behavior in groups is usually different from any individual in that group’s normal behavior. In this case, Gina’s behavior influenced mine and then shortly after, that behavior became our groups’ behavior temporarily. The other two girls who were not actively persuading were influenced through normative influences, which are an effect of a person’s desire to be approved of by others or to be part of a group (Gray 506). They wanted the bouncer to let them in to and therefore felt they also had to show their interest through conforming. Once we had gotten in however, we really were worried that it would be difficult to get the boys in. Lucky for us, we were unknowingly using a persuasion technique that is known to be fairly effective: the foot-in—the—door tactic. We did this by first only asking for him to let us in and then waiting until we had already made a deal to see if the boys could get in. Basically, we started with a smaller request before asking for a large one. We first simply asked the bouncer to let us four nice girls in for a slightly cheaper price (small request) and then once he granted us that, we begged him nicely to let our male friends in (large request.) Because the ratio of men to women is usually higher than most men would like, getting guys into a club for anything less than the cover price is certainly a big deal. Fortunately, since the bouncer had already granted us the first request, it was easier to convince him of the second, especially since her would have felt bad not letting our friends in with us. Looking back, it’s a good thing that the bouncer did not expect this persuasive tactic from us because then he probably wouldn’t have agreed to even let the girls in! Conclusion Everyday we are both consciously and subconsciously affected by the social influences that surround us so understanding them better can help us. to avoid negative influences and learn from past experiences. It is all too easy in this day and age to be overtaken by social influences, which to me makes it all the more important to be aware of them so that we can be individual thinkers and make the best decisions for ourselves. Knowing how to use persuasion techniques to one’s advantage is certainly a very beneficial characteristic. ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/22/2011 for the course PSYC 100 at USC.

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