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Chapter 13 - Chapter13:SocialPsychology 23:34 What is...

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Chapter 13: Social Psychology 23:34 What is Social Psychology? SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: study of how people influence others’ behavior, beliefs, and attitudes Humans as a Social Species Gravitating to Each Other – to a Point Our highly social brains are predisposed to forming intimate interpersonal networks that are large – but only so large (150 people according to Robin Dunbar) The Need to Belong: Why We Form Groups Need-to-belong theory (1995): humans have a biologically based need for interpersonal connections We seek out social bonds when we can and suffer negative psychological and physical consequences when we can’t. Research on inmates placed in solitary confinement suggests that they experience more psychological symptoms, especially mood and anxiety problems, than other inmates Social isolation can lead us to behave in self-destructive ways and even impair out mental functioning There is even a part of one’s brain that is affected due to isolation and rejection How We Came to Be This Way: Evolution and Social Behavior Social influence processes serve us well most of the time, but they can occasionally backfire on us if we’re not careful Evolutionary perspective: Conformity, obedience, and many other forms of social influence become maladaptive only when they’re blind or unquestioning. Social Comparison: Where Do I Stand? SOCIAL COMPARISON THEORY: theory that we seek to evaluate our abilities and beliefs by comparing them with those of others Upward social comparison : when we compare ourselves with people who seem superior to us in some way Downward social comparison : when we compare ourselves with people who seem inferior to us in some way They both end up being self-esteem/confidence boosters Social Contagion
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MASS HYSTERIA: outbreak of irrational behavior that is spread by social contagion May lead to social delusions : where many people simultaneously come to be convinced of bizarre things that are false The term “flying saucer” was coined in 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold reported that he saw objects that were shaped like sausages and that they skipped over the water like saucers – newspapers reported this as “flying saucers” 1954 – “windshield pitting” – 1000s of Seattle residents noticed tiny indentations, or pits, in their car windshields that they suspected were the result of a secret nuclear test performed by the fed. Gov. Spun out of control – President Eisenhower was asked to get involved Urban Legends : false stories repeated so many times that people believe them to be true SOCIAL FACILITATION: enhancement of performance brought about by the presence of others In the worlds first psychological study (1987 Triplett), bicyclists were shown to race faster when against another bicyclist than just against the clock Social disruption : a worsening of performance in the presence of others; occurs on tasks we find difficult THE FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR: tendency to overestimate the impact of dispositional influences on other’s behavior
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