Introduction to psychology/Psy102/Tutorials/Social processes, society and culture

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Social processes, society and culture

Resource type: this resource contains a tutorial or tutorial notes.
Completion status: this resource is considered to be complete.

Goals[edit | edit source]

  • To define and discuss key social psychology terms for Chapter 17 (Gerrig et al., 2008).
  • To consider socio-psychological perspectives on racism in Australia and techniques for reducing prejudice by learning about Jane Elliott's (controversial) approach to anti-discrimination and -prejudice training by watching and discussing The Australian Eye).

What you will need[edit | edit source]

  1. The Australian Eye (52 mins; DVD)
  2. Keyword handout

Introduction (5 mins)[edit | edit source]

This is a first year undergraduate psychology tutorial which focuses on aspects of social psychology related to prejudice, aggression, and conflict resolution. It relates to this accompanying lecture.

In the first part of the tutorial, students work in small groups to define several key terms related the textbook reading and the lecture and share these with the class.

In the second part of the tutorial, we watch a DVD documentary about racism in Australia and discuss a controversial prejudice-reduction training technique developed by Jane Elliott.


Key terms class exercise (20 mins)[edit | edit source]

Organise the class into groups of 3. Provide a copy of the Key terms handout (for each person). Allocate each group with an approximately equal number of keywords. Provide approx. 10 to 15 mins (depends on class size) for groups to come up with definitions for their allocated key terms. Then each group should take turn to share their definitions with the rest of the class:

  1. Aggression: Behaviour that causes psychological or physical harm to another individual.
  2. Altruism: Pro-social behaviours a person carries out without considering his or her own safety or interests.
  3. Bystander intervention: People’s willingness to help strangers in distress; sensitive to characteristics of the situation.
  4. Conformity: A tendency for individuals to adopt and display behaviour and opinions presented by other group members.
  5. Culture: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterises an institution, organization or group.
  6. Demand characteristics: Cues in an experimental setting that influence participants' perceptions of what is expected of them and systematically influence their behaviour.
  7. Diffusion of responsibility: When more than one person who could help is present. Others assume that someone else will or should help.
  8. Frustration-aggression hypothesis: Frustration occurs in situations in which people are prevented from obtaining their goals; a rise in frustration leads to a greater probability of aggression.
  9. Genocide: Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."[1]
  10. Group dynamics: The ways in which leaders directly influenced their followers and the ways in which group processes changed the behaviour of individuals.
  11. Group polarisation: When groups, as opposed to individual’s, make a decision. The group decision is often more extreme.
  12. Groupthink: Members of small cohesive units have a tendency to maintain esprit de corps through the unconscious development of shared illusions and related norms. These norms subsequently interfere with the group’s critical thinking and reality testing (Janis, 1972).
  13. Impulsive aggression: A type of aggression produced in reaction to situations and is emotion driven: people respond with aggressive acts in the heat of the moment.
  14. Informational influence: Wanting to be “correct” and to behave in the “right way” in a given situation - one type of conforming.
  15. Instrumental aggression: A type of aggression that is goal directed and cognition based: people carry out acts of aggression, with premeditated throught, to achieve specific aims.
  16. Norm crystallisation: When the expectations of a group of people converge into a common perspective.
  17. Normative influence: Wanting to be liked, accepted, and approved of by others - one type of conforming (the Asch effect).
  18. Peace psychology: An interdisciplinary approach to promoting and facilitating conflict resolution and intergroup cooperation.
  19. Pro-social behaviours: behaviours that are carried out with the goal of helping other people.
  20. Reciprocal altruism: People perform altruistic behaviours because they expect others to perform altruistic behaviours for them.
  21. Rules: Behavioural guidelines for a specific group or setting (can be explicit or implicit).
  22. Social norms: Groups' behavioural expectations of their members.
  23. Social role: Behaviour patterns that are expected of a person in a given setting or group.

The Australian Eye (80 mins)[edit | edit source]

Introduction (10 mins)[edit | edit source]

  • Provide some historical background about Jane Elliott and her blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiments and training, e.g., describe her first experiments, the reasons for them, and that she has continued to provide this type of training since etc.

The Australia Eye (52 mins)[edit | edit source]

  • Ask students to watch the The Australian Eye (DVD) and to note events and examples (affect, behaviour, and cognition) which illustrate socio-psychological principles (particularly those listed in the keywords).

Discussion (20 mins)[edit | edit source]

Debrief and discuss The Australian Eye, e.g., consider:

  1. What do you think of Jane Elliott's approach? Why? (Try to facilitate expression of positive and negative views)
  2. Were there any ethical issues in Jane Elliott's approach?
  3. Do you think her techniques should be replicated more widely?
  4. What alternative methods for reducing racial prejudice could be used?
  5. One way of tackling/facilitating some of the questions above, could be ask students about the "pros" and "cons" of Jane Elliott's and put these on a whiteboard.

Tutorial evaluation/feedback (5 mins)[edit | edit source]

  1. Tutors may optionally conduct anonymous tutor evaluations using UC's Student Feedback Service.
  2. Ask for students' feedback about tutorial content, esp. in the second-half of semester. What would students recommend as the best/worst aspects of the Psy 102 tutorials? Tutors should pass a summary of feedback on to the unit convenor.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide