Chapter 8 - Chapter 8 Behavior in Social and Cultural...

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Chapter 8: Behavior in Social and Cultural Context Interactive Lectures 1. Roles and Rules Social psychology is the study of people in social context, including the influence of norms , roles , and groups on behavior and cognition. Roles and norms are affected by one's culture . Two classic studies illustrate the power of roles to affect individual actions. In Milgram’s obedience study, most people in the role of "teacher" inflicted what they thought was extreme shock on another person because of the authority of the experimenter. In Zimbardo’s prison study, college students quickly fell into the role of "prisoner" or "guard." Obedience to authority contributes to the smooth running of society, but obedience can also lead to actions that are deadly, foolish, or illegal. People obey orders because they can be punished if they do not, out of respect for authority, and to gain advantages. Even when they would rather not obey, they may do so because they allocate responsibility to the authority; because their role is routinized into duties that are performed mindlessly; because they are embarrassed to break the rules of good manners and lack the words to protest; or because they have been entrapped . Social Influences on Beliefs Researchers in the area of social cognition study how people’s relationships and social environment affect their beliefs and perceptions. For example, according to attribution theory , people are motivated to search for causes to which they can attribute their own and other people’s behavior. Their attributions may be situational or dispositional . The fundamental attribution error occurs when people overestimate personality traits as a cause of behavior and underestimate the influence of the situation. Attributions A self-serving bias allows people to excuse their mistakes by blaming the situation yet also take credit for their good deeds. According to the just-world hypothesis , most people need to believe that the world is fair and that people get what they deserve. To preserve this belief, they may blame victims of abuse or injustice for provoking or deserving it, instead of blaming the perpetrators. People hold many
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course PSY 1012 taught by Professor Rogers during the Spring '10 term at Daytona State College.

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Chapter 8 - Chapter 8 Behavior in Social and Cultural...

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