Points of interest from Lecture #1 included;
What is Social Psychology?
Examines human behaviour in a social context.
- What can go wrong?
- What can go right?
- The self
- Cross cultural
- Social Technology
How the thoughts feelings and behaviours of an individual are influenced by the actual imagined or implied presence of others. (from Allport, 1935)
Examine through; ABC Model
- A= Affect
- B = Behaviour
- C = Cognition
Contexts and dimensions;
- Person to person
- Group to person
- Person to group
- Group to Group
Sociology (group) -----------Social Psychology------------- Psychology (individual)
- Social perceptions
- Social influence
- Social interaction
Social psychology studies the individual within the group.
Social psychology seems a fascinating subject and one i have intrinsically been drawn to all my life. In a way, my attraction to pursuing a career in psychology is in part due to my interest in the social, inter-group and intra-group aspects of human behaviour.
James briefly discussed ‘Dunbar’s number’. This theory proposes a maximum possible number of social relationships for any individual (= 150?). Believed to be an upper cognitive limit. Fascinating!
Q. How does this apply?
Q. Is there a range for different individuals dependant on personality type?
Q. How does this relate to memory?
I’m looking forward to learning more about Social Psychology, why we behave the way we do and the role of genetics/nature in our interactions and group processes, as opposed to cultural/learned influences.
The Social Self
Points of interest from Lecture #2 included;
The Social Self;
- Self concept
- Agent Self
- Public Self
‘I am’… Statements
Construction of Self largely a social process
‘Self’ expand and contracts to include the immediate space around you (e.g. personal space) and even further to areas of investment/ownership..(e.g. Home, car, children)
The ‘Cult of the Self’ (criticism of Western obsession with self interest)
Rogers Self-Congruence Construct;
- Ideal self/perceived self
- Actual self
Distorted perceptions of the NON-DEPRESSED;
- Positive illusions
- Overestimate good personal qualities and level of control over life events
- Underestimate faults
One concept that drew me in today was the concept that there are multiple selves that we manifest in different situations.
Q. Does the number of roles you play in your life influence the development of multiple ‘selves’? or is the multiple self construct more/less applicable to individuals with certain types of personalities or interactions styles?
I can see how defence mechanisms could develop by virtue of the advantage of being able to protect self-esteem by being able to attribute different behaviours to different aspects of a complex self.
The ‘fuzzy boundaries’ between Self, culture, group memberships and environment is an important consideration. The Self is so much more than a simple concept of ‘I am’. There are so many influences on the self, and in turn, so many influences that ‘the self’ has on others and the environment.
When considering the construct of the self ‘expanded’, are my children part of my ‘self’? It seems a little parochial to define myself this way, but I cannot deny the impact the role of mother has had on who I am. Not just as ‘a mother’ either, but as THEIR mother. Their personalities and individual needs have influenced the expression of different aspects of my ‘self’.
I can see the value of Roger’s concept of Self-congruence to clinical applications. The incongruence caused by the gap between the ideal self and the actual self. I think this theory could illustrate the development of a vast number of dysfunctional behaviours, depression and anxiety responses.
Q. How does the self-concept develop through adolescence?
Q. Are there any mechanisms specific to adolescence?
Tutorial # 1
- Introduction to unit and assessment
- Get to know you activities (exploring self concept and group affiliation)
- Cultural affiliations included;
- Marital status
- Parental role
- Age group
Points of interest from Lecture # 3;
- Arguably the most important topic as it provides the basic building blocks of other applied psychology
- Influenced by behaviourism & later cognitive Psychology
- Social Thinking = Social Cognition
- Heuristics, Errors & Biases
The Duplex Mind;
- Automatic; fast, approximate, estimates, effortless, unconscious.
- Conscious; slow, deliberate, considered, effortful, conscious.
Cognitive Miser Theory
- Human brain; energy consuming
- Short cuts to conserve energy; Relies on Schemas, Scripts and Stereotypes
- Under stress; increased reliance on auto
Perceptions affected by;
- Typical vs. Unusual
- Give sense of cognitive control
- Help predict future events
- Allows for appropriate responses
- Driven to find ‘causes’
- Internal vs. External attributions
- Tend toward ‘interna’ attributions of others
- Heider’s “Naïve Scientist’ (everyone’s instinctual attributions)
- Internal vs. External
- Correspondent Inference Theory; behavioural causes stable qualities of actor (blame the actor not situation)
Fundamental Attribution Error; (F.A.E.)
- Overestimate the role of internal factors in others behaviour
- Also known as Correspondence Bias
- Behaviour more noticeable than situation
- Cognitive misers
- Insignificant weight to situation
- Richer ‘trait-like’ language
Reflections on Lecture; Week 4
Ghosts of Rwanda DVD
- Rwanda (Africa)
- Self Preservation
- Global Disconnection
- Civil War
I was deeply affected on so many levels and in so many ways by the images in the documentary.
As a human being, as a Western bystander, as a woman, as a mother.
The Horror, trauma, violence and pure fear transmitted through the images and the emotion in the voices of the survivors. I felt a mixture of shock, and not surprisingly grief. However I wasn’t prepared for the level of guilt and associated anger that was surging through me.
The guilt of my membership of the Western world that not only did nothing, but worse seemed ridiculously blind and mute. I was an adult university student during this time and I have only a vague memory of the civil war in Rwanda. Despite my acute awareness of the impact of genocide as my father in-law is, himself, a survivor of the Nazi POW camps. Why didn’t I know more about this.. why didn’t i pay more attention to what was said?
As a woman, this sort of violence holds additional fears associated with sexual assault and degradation that seem inevitably inflicted.
As a mother, my grief and horror nearly overwhelmed me. I was unable to sleep well last night and when i briefly did i was plagued by the images from the film. I don’t resent the intrusion of these thoughts and images. Despite the fact that they are so desperately disturbing I need to see, hear and think about this horror. Without awareness I think nothing will ever be real.
Some quotes from the film keep returning to me. They seem to encapsulate essential themes relevant to analysis through a social psychology / prejudice theory lens.
From the Westerners:
“Fear for American Lives” (Lane)
“The US has no Friends.. they have ‘Interests’. The US has no interests in Africa” (Lake)
“ It wasn’t part of my instructions to be empathetic” (Bushnell)
“ The US found it hard to ‘believe’ that someone could be planning something that heinous”
From The Murderers:
“ I have heard that the Tutsis aren’t even from Rwanda.. i heard they came from somewhere else.. Egypt maybe, or someplace else…”
“ It was as if we had been taken over by Satan.. You could not do those things and be yourself!.. it was the work of Satan”
From a victim:
“I pretended to be dead. I hid among the dead bodies…covered in blood. One of them stood on my head.. he looked at my wounds and shook me. Then he dropped me and said ‘this thing is dead’. “
Several salient thoughts arise.
Was this act of Genocide Inhumanity, or more terrifyingly, the basic human condition?
If as Baumeister and Bushnell assert in the Text (Ch 12, pg 411) “prejudice is natural” and “ deeply rooted in the human psyche.” should we be shocked?
With both sides claiming oppression, with fear of others perceived differences, and with the basic instinct for members of other groups to protect their own members first and foremost, is it a surprise that this horror came to be… or is it more surprising that it doesn’t happen more often?
Anan claimed that the UN initial position was based on the idea that “shining a light’ on the aggressors and “making them aware that international community was aware of what they were planning” was a way to make them moderate their own behaviour.
Does this work?
I have considered this question myself in the context of a potential essay question. I am interested in the question of, if ,by making group/interpersonal interactions explicit, giving the individuals involved the concepts and labels “shinning a light “on it as Anan said, can lead individuals to self moderate their behaviour. “Culture saying No” very loudly, in a way.
Q. Why in the new millennium, don’t people see themselves as part of the Human group?
Q. Why do we search to differentiate ourselves from the most basic membership?
Baumeister and Bushman (Ch 12 pg 414) assert that there is an evolutionary basis to group formation. The competition for basic resources, Ignorance, and our human history of not interacting with members from other groups has led us to this time and place.
Q. Does this mean if we were a little more evolved we would see ourselves as part of the larger Human group? Or does our Psyche’s innate self serving bias and striving for self-esteem mean we will always be searching for ways to differentiate ourselves from each other?
Tutorial #2Week 4
- Shallow (Greetings, small talk, info/facts)
- Deep (Thoughts and emotions)
- Verbal (10% -20%)
- Non-verbal (Body language, Facial expressions, Clothes, Voice tone. (80% - 90%)
2 most common Communication models:
- Transmission Model; Encode, transmission, decode.
- Active listening / Feedback loop
- Blindfolded participant, guided through obstacle course only by verbal vs. guided using visual and verbal.
- Indicated how much of our interactions are non-verbal!
Points of interest from Lecture #5
Prejudice stems from natural human tendency to categorise
- Prejudice = Attitude
- Racism = Behaviour
- Stereotypes = beliefs about group traits
- Stereotypes = Heuristics
- Discrimination = Unequal treatment based on group membership
- Subtypes = Categories for people who don’t fit the stereotype e.g. ‘career woman’
Aversive Racism = simultaneous egalitarian values & negative feelings
- Out-group (them)
- In-group (us)
- Out-group homogeneity bias
- In-group bias
- Minimal Group effect
- Confirmation Bias
- Stereotype threat
Cultural differences in prejudice
England = Class
India = Caste
Australia & America = Racial
Modern Racism vs. Old-fashioned Racism
- Less direct vs. Open/Overt
Contact can decrease prejudice and stereotyping, BUT only under the right circumstances
- equal status
- positive interactions
- out-group members perceived as typical of group
- Video’ Jane Elliot ‘Australian Eye’
- Discussion of ‘Australian Eye’
- Discussion of Prejudice and related Concepts
- Key terms
- Discussion of ‘ Ghosts of Rwanda’ DVD
Notes, observations and reflections on Video;
During the first ten minutes of the film the workshop has not ‘officially’ started yet, however Elliot is already creating an ‘in-group’ verses ‘out-group’ effect with subtle but effective strategies such as speaking politely and individually to ‘brown eyes’ in contrast to speaking rudely, critically and collectively to ‘blue eyes’.
Elliot subtly utilises ‘Social Categorisation’ by labelling both verbally, and physically the different groups, separating groups into different lines, tables, seating and rooms.
Evidence quickly emerges of participants using ‘self serving bias’ and ‘Attribution error’.
‘Minimal group Effect’ is established before the workshop even begins with participants immediately aligning themselves with others in their group they do not even know, yet showing little empathy for others they do know who are now ‘out-group’ members.
Interestingly, it is two older, white, males who have the first and most aggressive reactions to the treatment they receive. They are both extremely vocal about their rights and demand to be treated ‘fairly’. Both end up in opting to be excluded from the workshop.
While all the participants in the workshop have volunteered to participate in a reconciliation and anti racism workshop, only one member of the ‘brown eye’ group disagrees with the behaviour expected of them, and the way the ‘blue eye’ members are being treated.
Comments on the feelings and thought participants had during the workshop that I feel reflect the effect of prejudice.
Significant ‘Blue Eye’s’ comments;
- “I felt insignificant”
- ‘I felt worthless’
- “I was afraid of being belittled”
- “It’s not much fun … completely illogical abuse all day!”
- “We were forced to conform to an unfair system….. even though the spirit was jumping up and down, we would try to conform”
Significant ‘Brown Eye’s’ comments;
“I Felt relaxed, comfortable, equal. I didn’t want to give it up!”
Points of interest from Lecture week #10
- Affiliation = the need to belong
- Interpersonal = Attraction vs. repulsion
- Rejection/ Social exclusion
Need to belong NOT uniquely human
Elements of Attraction;
- Matching Hypothesis = Similarity
- Ingratiation = actively trying to make someone like you
- Reinforcement theory
- Reciprocity; liking begets liking
- Gain loss hypothesis; others who dislike you then like you, increases your liking of them
- Field dependent = High self-monitoring
- Field independent = Low self-monitoring
‘Thin Slices’ Research (from e reserve)
In the lecture James mentioned research by Gottman in an article by Gladwell that is on e-reserve.
This is amazing research that looks at Gottman’s ‘Thin Slices’ theory. The idea that with the right decoding information, researchers can predict with astounding accuracy, the probability of divorce for a couple. The time frame started higher in the early phases of the research but eventually was able to be effective on just two minutes of observation! The idea of impression formation being so instantaneous and accurate drew me in. I wondered whether the concepts of ‘first impressions’ and impression formation were relevant. It doesn’t however appear to be quite that simple, but with the right decoding information such as understanding the predictive value of criticism, facial expressions, eye rolling and expressions of contempt, a very brief analysis seems to yield an incredible amount of information. There is also discussion about the ideal ratio of affection and anger in interactions. Interesting to read that the couples who ‘never argue’ or seem happy, are not the ones who end up avoiding divorce. The ratio of disagreement to affection seems to be far more relevant.
Wish I had done my essay on this topic now!
James and I discussed the theory raised in lectures this week that people are either ‘field dependent’ or ‘field independent’.
I see myself as very field dependent in terms of my interactions and behaviours. For example, in both my work life and personal life I tend to be able to adapt myself effectively to a broad range of settings (High in self monitoring). I think I converse easily with people from diverse backgrounds and walks of life, and tend to do this by being a chameleon. I do not think that I ‘fake’ behaviours or opinions, I am however aware of the appropriate ‘schema’ for different social settings. I have often been told that I am high in emotional intelligence, and I am often conscious of my own strategic thinking (in the nicest possible way!) when I am relating to others. Given that I seem very field/situation dependant..
Q. Could that be why I find answering personality test measures so difficult, and my results are so variable?
Interestingly, a similar observation about the author’s own personality is mentioned in a recent publication entitled ‘Rise’ by Ingrid Poulson (2008). Poulson’s central theme of ‘Resilience’ is explored through the story of her recovery from the tragic personal experience of the violent murder of her Father and two young children, in their home, by her estranged husband while Poulson was reporting the ex-husband’s breach, of a restraining order.
Poulson’s subsequent analysis of her personality and the underlying resilience that allowed her to eventually recover and ‘rise above’ the tragedy included a discussion regarding her observations and assumptions about the perceived inconsistencies in her personality and behaviour. Poulson makes observations in her self-analysis, describing personality and behaviours that were situation based and highly dependant on context. The author investigates concepts of ‘field dependence’ as a possible basis for these personality variations and discusses their value in respect to increased levels of personal resilience.
Q. Are personality tests results equally reliable for highly field dependant individuals as compared to those who are highly field independent?
Q. Does an individual’s ‘field dependence’ affect the validity of personality tests such as the MBTI, NEO-R and MMPI-2?
Points of interest from Lecture week #11
- Applied social influence
- Central to understanding group behaviour
- Leadership = person, role, situation
- Individual difference still believed to be key (skills & traits)
Study of groups relevant to
- Group dynamics
- Organisational Psychology
- Social facilitation
- Social Inhibition
- Social Loafing
- 2 or more, with some sort of interdependence/commonality.
- Groups = Favoured by evolution
Advantages of human groups
- Role division
- Accumulated knowledge / education
- Economic exchange = goods / services / money
Social Facilitation Theory
- Presence of others increases dominant response (either success or failure)
- Also found in animals
- Zijonc’s ‘Drive Theory’ Experiments with cockroaches!
The Hawthorne Effect
- Increased performance consciously AND unconsciously due to being observed
‘Prototypical’ group member = often becomes Leader.
Anonymity decreases motivation in groups = Social Loafing
Optimal Distinctiveness theory = Balance b/w Belongingness and distinctiveness
Brainstorming = NOT most creative, best quality or quantity
Risky Shift = Now called; Group polarization e.g groups ‘egging-on’ to extremes
- Tajfel = minimal group experiments
- Sherif = Boys camp studies
- ‘Great Man’ Theory
- Levine’s 3 styles (Autocratic, democratic, lase-faire)
- Path – Goal Theory
- Task Oriented vs. People Oriented
- Contingency Theory
Most Important = Leadership style must fit the situation
What is power??
- Ability to get someone to do something you want,
- Make things happen the way you want
- Extent of force one person can exert on others
Tutorial # 4
Cross Cultural Training
- Cross Cultural training exercise
- Examining Someone’s ‘Name Story’ and Cultural Identity
- Definitions/ Conceptualisation and Discussion of;
- Culture Shock
- Cross Cultural Training
- Cultural Adjustment
What is Culture?
What is Culture Shock?
Experiences of being immersed in another culture
Initially feelings of;
- Interest and excitement.
- The appeal of the exotic
- A ‘honeymoon’ phase of novelty
Followed by feelings of;
- Fear/ nervousness
- Confusion/ misunderstanding
- Not knowing how to act appropriately
- Suffering from lack of shared language
Interestingly, when we discussed our name stories and cultural identity, many Anglo-Australians like myself didn’t have strong attachment to a ‘cultural identity’ associated with their names, and also identified themselves as belonging to a culture based on their current life style, experiences, primary occupation and marital status. While the individuals who were born in other countries, or for whom English was not a first language, related strong ‘name stories’ and identified themselves most closely with a traditional ethnic cultural group. The group (including myself) also seemed to view these individual’s stories as more interesting.
Q. Do Anglo-Australians not have a unifying culture or do they just not recognise that they do?
- Pro-social Behaviour
- Environmental Psychology
- Definitions and Discussions; Social Capital
- Hugh Mackay Audio
- Hypothetical; Social issues program development
- A recently popularised term used to describe a society’s social (ie non economic) resources.
- Referring to the quality of social networks and community involvement.
- Dynamic and inclusive, positive connections with trust, good will and interaction.
- Interconnectedness and understanding rather than isolation
- Facilitate healthy / civil development of society
- Isolation from society in the collective sense.
- ‘Normed’ disconnection.
- Illustrated by USA book title “Bowling Alone”
- ‘Spirit ‘/ ‘Flavour’ of the times.
- Collective consciousness
- Representative of time and place
Audio of Manning Clarke Address by Hugh Mackay
Titled; “ Social Disengagement: A Breeding Ground for Fundamentalism”
- Australian Social Psychologist
- Interviews general population
- Considered to have ‘finger on the social pulse’
- Pioneer of quantitative research
- Studies attitudes and behaviours of Australian populus.
Four Main areas of revolution in Australian Society in the last half of the 20th Century;
I found Mackay’s speech to be thought provoking and engaging. The discussions of recent cultural revolutions in Australia (as outlined above) provided a clear, description of historical influences on the current social climate. However, I also felt that there was a tone to the speech that was surprising from such an celebrated academic and social commentator.
While Mackay outlined illuminating social trends and statistics, I found a pessimistic, superior arrogance to his discussion.
Although obviously intelligent, educated, knowledgeable and politically correct, he sounded somewhat arrogant, judgemental and prejudiced. Examples include his comments on religious groups such as the Pentecostal movement, people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness requiring medication, People choosing not to have children or, to have fewer than the average.
I agree and do feel strongly about Mackay’s comments on Australia reaching a point where the economic status gap, degree of difference between the Rich and the Poor, has increased to the point of destroying Australia’s egalitarian ethos.
I wonder if Mackay would give a similar speech in 2009?
Many of his arguments were based on predictions drawn from statistics on birth rates, and housing and environment impact.
It is interesting to note that there has been a sudden, dramatic shift in these areas since this speech as well as a dramatic change in Australian government.
The economic climate has taken a downturn, birth rates are at the highest they have been since the 1970’s , housing affordability has impacted on the number of young adults now living with their parents, and extended families returning to live together, and Climate change has firmly established itself as an issue on the general population and government agenda.
The issues Mackay raised of Leadership, materialism, parental responsibility and the ‘self first’ culture (the ‘me’ generation) are all very pertinent to the social climate of the new millennium.
Australia is currently experiencing high levels of Social disengagement.
Highlight a relevant social issue/ issues currently facing Australia.
Design a program to address these issues.
Our Proposal for funding;
- Decreasing birth rates
- Increasing Divorce rates
- High levels of parental depression and anxiety
- High levels of Financial stress and Debt
- Status of Child rearing
- Parental responsibility
- Disengagement with community
- To stabilize birth rates
- To decrease divorce rates
- To decrease levels of depression and anxiety
- To decrease financial pressure on families
- To improve the status of women
- To improve the status of The family
- To improve the status of child rearing
- To increase ‘social capital’
- To promote community involvement and interconnectedness
To adopt a model of paid parental leave and child care based on models that have proved successful in countries such as Finland.
- 80% of pre leave wage paid to one parent for the first two years after the birth of a child.
- Leave funded by government
- No government subsidised childcare available for children under two yrs of age, unless in emergency circumstances.
- Child Care free for children over the age of two years
- Establish open Family-Community Centres engaging a broad range of Childhood services and para-professionals including; support groups, playgroups, early childhood educators, health care professionals, mental health services, community support and education representatives etc..
- Paid leave contingent on regular contact with the centre and engagement in essential programs.
Other proposals in the tutorial group;
- Integrating cultures through educational and exchange programs
- Decreasing the Divorce rate through stricter legislation against speedy marriage and divorce
- War on Debt and materialism through tighter controls on credit.
- Increasing Political engagement by utilising modern technology such as T.V. info slots summarizing events in government and politics that day and txt votes on key daily issues and decisions.
I was really impressed by the Political engagement strategy. Cost effective, simple, engaging youth through appropriate technology channels. Very creative, someone should take that further!