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WEEK 1[edit]


(Social Psychology & Human Nature, Baumeister & Bushman, 2008) Ch.1: the mission and the method - Triplett (1897) credited as one of 1st social psych. Experiments: initially, he perused cycling records (as mentioned in Text) and ‘noticed that those who had competed against others performed better than those that competed against the clock’ (Text, p.5). Triplett then proposed his hypothesis regarding competitive instinct, built a ‘competition machine’ and tested 40 children sitting alone and side by side using the competition machine. He found that the mere presence of another person enhanced performance on this simple task.

  • Ringelmann (1880s): men pulling on a rope alone and as part of a group – measured amount of effort exerted by each individual – found as group size increased, individual effort decreased.
  • Textbooks introduced (1908, 1924)
  • Early 20th Century – questions raised after WWars etc what was happening to society, how people related to each other
    • Gordon Allport: attitudes an important concept in social psych. (and study of the self in the coming future)
    • Kurt Lewin: behaviour is a function of the person and the situation
  • 1950s/1960s – social psych. beginnings as a field
    • psych previously divided between behaviourism (learning principles, reward/punishment) and Freudian psychoanalysis (individual, clinical, interpretations).
  • 1970s/1980s – social psych. as a field
    • scientific approach to measure behaviour but also inner states
    • cognitive processes (attribution theory): how people think about people and the social world in general.
  • self-esteem: as a term, since the 1970s (hardly ever used in the 60s)
  • 1980s: conflict between ‘free world’ and communism (then after fall

of Soviet in 1989, conflict between groups refocused on racial and ethnic conflict (US: rise in prejudice, stereotyping)

  • 1990s – openness to biology, evolution, brain.


PART A: group identification regarding specific questions[edit]

Moved around into different groupings of tute students depending on the questions asked by the tutor. Examples; (eye colour, where live in Canberra, marital status, religion, political affiliation …) Found religion and politics a bit uncomfortable. One group quickly identified as Catholic, so I thought I’d be brave and before others started to state specific denominations I suggested a Christian group. One person replied by stating like “oh you mean the normal mainstream ones like Anglican etc – not the born-again strange weirdo ones”. I saw another person look a bit insulted by this remark – and I certainly felt that it was out of line, however said nothing. I thought I said nothing due to inappropriate time and place and thought there were time constraints and didn’t want to waste time, however later felt a bit ‘gutless’ that I hadn’t made some gentle remark to ‘open the eyes’ of this person a little. Anyway, on later reflection at home I beat myself up about it – then decided that I shouldn’t take it too seriously and that I should ‘let it go’ or ‘try and learn from the experience’ (ie try and think quicker at the time of the pros and cons and if I feel strongly enough about something, perhaps I should have the confidence to voice my opinion, if appropriate, and then hopefully feel good about the fact that I have had the confidence, guts or whatever to stand up and be counted rather than passively sit back and feel as though one should hide.

The political question made me feel more uncomfortable as I only sometimes reveal this to only about two people in my life – mind you I am happy to engage in current affair political discussions about any side of politics and give opinions as such – but not quite happy to disclose my voting habits to people I have only just met. This was made more difficult because I was having a stage of political uncertainty (as to where I really stood) and reflecting on the ACT election and was considering a different vote to usual – plus I sometimes treat Federal and local politics the same and sometimes differently. I guess I could have just stayed with the swinging voters group – however wanted to actually abstain from associating with any group but didn’t quite have the courage to do so!!

PART B: groups of three/four to discuss four specific questions[edit]

define social psychology[edit]
  • 'how thinking and behaviour of individual is influenced in a group situation’. After hearing the two others’ viewpoints, was influenced by one to amend our definition to include ‘affect’ - in line with the Text ABC (affect, behaviour, cognition). (Therefore already affected by the ‘social’ and the ‘psychology’)
what you know[edit]
  • individuals affected by group behaviour usually but not always
  • individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures
what you want to know[edit]

(ideas from quick look down Lecture topics)

  • group behaviour
  • interpersonal / relationships
  • prosocial
  • social thinking
essay ideas[edit]
  • problem here – don’t know yet, apart from list mentioned above

Extra Reading: CHAPTER 1 : (Social Psychology: Myer, 2007)[edit]

  • we construct our social reality
    • “humans have an irresistible urge to explain behaviour, to attribute it to some cause ….” “How we react to a friend’s insult depends on whether we attribute it to hostility or to a bad day.”
    • we view things through the’ lens of our beliefs and values’ ie two people watch the same sports game, one supporter views the opposing team as more aggressive however the opposing supporter views the other supporter’s team as more aggressive.
  • social influences shape our behaviour
    • example: ‘preferences for slim or voluptuous female beauty depends on when and where in the world you live’.
  • inner attitudes affect our behaviour
    • political attitudes influence voting behaviour / smoking attitudes influence susceptibility to peer pressure…….
  • personality dispositions also affect behaviour
    • same situation, two people may react differently ie Mandela after years of imprisonment – another person may have reacted with bitterness
[My comments: have experienced this countless times with one particular friend who reacts bitterly to many daily events and tends to focus strongly on her own ‘problems’ and will not concede that others are doing it much tougher. Even when given real life examples of people around her in very difficult circumstances, she always finds an excuse beginning with ‘yes, but ……..’ then comes the statement that she doesn’t have other ‘benefits’ that these others have. It is interesting that she is 60 and has actually experienced some hardship in the past, things are better now, however she still insists she is hard done by and that no-one else knows what it is like to be her. It’s almost as though she appears to be stuck in an adolescent-type thinking mode or, alternatively, perhaps likes to be seen as the victim.]
  • social psychology reflects social history
    • 1940s – fascism in Europe – prejudice studied
    • 1950s – look-alike fashion / intolerance of differing views – conformity studied
    • 1960s – riots / rising crime rates – aggression studied
    • 1970s – feminist movement – gender and sexism studied
    • 1980s – arms race – psychological aspects of
    • 1990s – diversity in culture, race and sexual orientation.
  • psychological advice also reflects the advice giver’s personal values
    • Western culture: those values usually will be individualistic – encouraging what feels better for ‘me’.
    • Non-western cultures: more often encourage what’s best for ‘we’.
  • labeling (value judgements often hidden within)
    • examples: whether public assistance is called ‘welfare’ or ‘aid to the needy’, such comments as ‘ambitious’ men ‘aggressive’ women …..
(My comments: value-laden comments and labels can be so frustrating, however often they are fuelled by the media and sometimes by social standing ie those with more money sometimes express views that seem out of proportion eg feel it is unfair that people on a pension get (some) of their medications at a reduced price and seem to feel that their rights as a tax-payer have been violated because they don’t receive that reduction – however I am sure they wouldn’t want to exchange their salary with a pension that is under $14,000 p.a. – but of course, I omit all of those wonderful benefits like some medications being reduced, being ostracized by a section of the community and many more wonderful benefits (depending on why a person may be on a pension in the first place).



Two boys were born, one was raised as a boy the other as a girl

Chapter 2 begins with the story of “the boy who was raised as a girl” - coincidentally SBS had a program on the same story on 15 July entitled “Dr Money and the boy with no penis”. Details follow:

  • twins born in Canada, two boys
  • circumcision at 7 mths, 1st David, electrical equipment malfunctions and burns off his entire penis (this differs from the account in the Text)
    • 2nd circumcision (Brian) cancelled
    • parents watched a TV show where Dr John Money (unfortunate surname)
discussing his version of the ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate, he thought that while genes were important, where a baby was concerned it was essentially neutral for the first two years of its life. He strongly believed that the upbringing determines whether the child feels masculine or feminine. The program narrator stipulated that Dr Money had developed his theory after his research into hermaphrodites (inter-sex), people who are both male and female. These children received different amounts of hormones in the womb and therefore may not be the same as other children.
  • Prof. Richard Green also interviewed and supports Dr Money’s position and knowledge at the time.
  • parents contact Dr Money and he suggests turning David into a girl
  • 1967: David 2 yrs old: castrated – no testicles, therefore no male hormones.
David becomes Brenda.
  • Dr Money tells parents they cannot ever reveal the truth to their son otherwise the sex change would fail.
  • Once a year visits to the psychologist.
  • Interview at 6 yrs of age (with actual wording) shown.
  • At 7 yrs of age, Dr Money announces the success of his theory and experiment (1972). Book also released “Man and Boy, Woman and Girl” : ‘theory of gender neutrality’
  • family (mother, father and brother) were unaware of the psychologist describing it as a success. The mother (interviewed in the program) says it was obvious ‘Brenda’ was behaving in masculine ways.
  • 1970, some evidence of ‘negative behaviour’ (as described by Dr Money).
The psychologist then discusses genitalia with ‘Brenda’ – seems like leading questions and perhaps inappropriate for a child of this age (today) but was seen as scientifically correct at the time. He showed ‘Brenda” explicit pictures of women giving birth, etc. They intersperse this info with interviews of David in his twenties looking back at these discussions etc and providing his comments. He stated it was embarrassing and he felt that the psychologist was a sick man and perverted. He said his parents didn’t know of the details about what was going on in these interviews and believes had they known they would have stopped it.
  • Dr Money seems obsessed with genitals needing to look like genitals and that this would help ‘Brenda’ accept herself as a girl. (at that age!) - then tells the 7 yr old that he wants to construct a vagina in surgery! Brenda is uncomfortable with this and says so. He then asks her when she thinks would be a good age for the operation !! – she says 13 [he is the educated one here, etc, mind you watching the video today you do wonder – the 7 yr old seems more sensible than the adult professional]. He then makes comments like: ‘that’s leaving it a bit late, … we’ll see about that’.
  • the program then shows David (in his twenties) remembering that at 7 he couldn’t understand why he had to have surgery when there (in his opinion) was nothing actually wrong with him such as heart problems or kidney failure etc. Why have surgery when he felt well. The interview went downhill from there onwards………. Seems he may have treated the children incorrectly (the viewer looking back), taking photos of both boys naked in different positions so as to photograph their genitals.
  • The boys only told their parents once they were adults, about the goings on with the psychologist.
  • ‘Brenda’ grew up lonely and troubled, girls didn’t want to play with her and boys didn’t want to play with her. Bullied at school because different. Wrote an unhappy letter (quite revealing) in 1978 when nearly 13. Dr Money tried to convince her to construct a vagina (with a trans-sexual present for support, as a role model for successful surgery….happy as an adult …)
  • ‘Brenda’ became more masculine-looking. Told parents that if she / he had to see Dr Money again she/he would kill her/himself.
  • Parents decide to tell the children the truth, separately. Went down very badly with Brenda’s brother.
  • Brenda becomes David – and becomes happier, makes some friends.
  • Decides to have surgey to make a penis, receives compensation for the botched circumcision. Brother’s wife introduces David to Jane (with 3 children, no partner). They get married.
  • Marriage seems to work well, however the relationship with his twin brother never recovers since the revelation and worsens. The brother, Brian, doesn’t want to know. This seems to start off a mental disturbance that develops into schizophrenia.
  • David finds out that Dr Money was still publishing his work as a success and as proof of his theory. David becomes disgusted and angry.
  • David persuades his brother to go public, to stop others going through the same trauma. After this Brian’s mental health deteriorates (separation with wife).
  • Brian is found dead in his flat in 2002: not clear whether due to accidental overdose or suicide.
  • David visits Brian’s grave 4-5 times a week, becomes unhappy, loses money in an investment, can’t find a job (38 yrs of age). Marriage is affected, separation, then very unhappy as thought he couldn’t make his wife happy.
  • 2004 David shoots himself.
  • parents felt that Dr Money traumatized their son in childhood.

[The program was very interesting – however it is also very tragic – so much trauma over one seemingly small error in hospital and a person’s life, and their family’s life, is changed forever. It was nice that he didn’t blame his parents for what they did as his mother remembers him acknowledging that they did the best for him at the time, to the best of their ability and knowledge and that he still loved them – the program had quite an impact on me but imagine the impact on David himself and his family, who had to live through all of this for so many years!]

Ch.2: Culture and Nature[edit]

Ch.2: Text:

  • linked to above story, comments re limits of the power of socialization
  • social psychology aimed at exploring how people think, feel and act
  • nature and culture (complementary influences of both)
  • praxis: practical ways of doing things (culture)
  • section on cultural influence, meaning and the power of ideas: example, comparison of differences between humans and animals, humans can orient their present behaviour toward an outcome that may be years away ie earning a degree.
  • social vs. cultural animals (see pp.39-40 for more detail & p.65 list) – social = seek connections - culture, use of language, ideas to organize social interactions …. Assumptions about how to do things, shared beliefs…
  • social animals communicate – bark, grunt,. Cultural animals use language ie children study past human history whereas animals (just social animals that is) cannot.
  • social animals help each other ie share food, whereas cultural animals have a broader sense of community and will occasionally help total strangers ie donate money to hungry people who they have not met & in another country.
  • dispute resolution: animals = largest / strongest wins: humans = moral principles, compromise, law courts . [mind you sometimes largest / strongest is used in some situations – so much for the advanced species !!]

larger brains are mainly linked to having larger, more complex social structures
  • social brain theory : Dunbar (anthropologist): larger brains mainly linked to having larger and more complex social structures. (ie not just survival and reproduction). Small brained animals tend to live alone or in small, simple groups – whereas smarter animals have more relationships and more complicated groups, dominance hierarchies etc.
  • human brain: 2% of body mass: 20% of energy consumption.
  • many animals learn, but almost only humans teach: we have libraries & schools
  • eating is natural, but culture transforms it – animals vs. humans – humans will eat or not eat foods because of ideas, vegetarians etc.
  • peculiarity of humans: Hitler, destruction of human life, but was supporter of animal rights, was a vegetarian (according to the Text) and sought to restrict and ban the hunting of animals !!
  • IS BAD STRONGER THAN GOOD (one Text theme):
    • examples: bad parenting can lower a child’s IQ more than good parenting can raise it
    • bad experiences / traumas can produce distress and psych.problems that last for years, but it is rare for a good experience to have such a lasting effect
    • one bad deed can destroy a good reputation
  • The Duplex Mind (another Text theme)
    • Automatic system: handles endless mundane tasks, organizing the info coming in thru eyes and ears…continues to operate during sleep…enables you to walk etc without consciously thinking about it, otherwise it would become awkward ...quick, outside of conscious control, can do many things at once, intuition, effortless (table, p.55)
    • Conscious system: still somewhat ‘unknown’, complex logical reasoning, (table, p.55): slow, controllable, guided by intention, effortful, reasoning, able to cope with novel, unfamiliar situations.
      • conscious system can override the automatic system ie aggressive tendencies curtailed therefore behaviour controlled, altered.
      • nature says go, culture says stop: culture teaches self-control and restraint.
      • selfish impulses vs. social conscience:pp.60-61, morality is often effective in small groups – in larger groups law begins to take the place of morality.

Extra Reading: CHAPTER 2 : (Social Psychology: Myer, 2007) Ch.2: The Self in a Social World

Quote, R.F. Baumeister (The Self in Social Psychology, 1999): ‘No topic is more interesting to people than people. For most people, moreover, the most interesting person is the self.’

  • medial prefrontal cortex: becomes more active when you think about yourself
  • our self-schemas (how we perceive ourselves, ie athletic, overweight ….)
    • powerfully affect how we perceive, remember and evaluate other people and ourselves. If athletics is central to your self concept, then you will tend to notice others’ bodies and skills. You will quickly recall sports-related experiences. Any you will welcome information that is consistent with your self-schema.
  • self-reference effect: when information is relevant to our self-concepts, we process it quickly and remember it well. Therefore, memories form around our primary interest: ourselves. When we think about something in relation to ourselves, we remember it better.
  • as we enact a new role – student, parent, salesperson – we initially feel self-conscious. Gradually, however .… becomes absorbed into our sense of self.
  • social identity: when we’re part of a small group surrounded by a large group, we are often conscious of our social identity; when our social group is the majority, we think less about it.
  • happiness (Japanese students) comes with positive social engagement – with feeling close, friendly and respectful. For American students, more often with disengaged emotions – with feeling effective, superior and proud (p.43)
  • conflict in collectivist cultures often is between groups: individualist cultures = more conflict (& crime & divorce) between individuals
In a Japanese restaurant, the host decides what is appropriate to order, on behalf of the group. In western countries, individuals expect to make their own decisions.
  • (p.45: extract from Hazel R. Markus’ (Stanford Uni) & Shinobu Kitayama’s (Uni of Michigan) visit to Japan):

Shinobu expressed his amazement at American hosts who bombard their guests with choices. Do you want wine or beer, or soft drinks or juice, or coffee or tea? Why burden the guest with trivial decisions? Surely the host knew what would be good refreshment on this occasion and could simply provide something appropriate. Choice as a burden? Hazel wondered if this could be the key to one particularly humiliating experience in Japan. A group of eight was in a French restaurant, and everyone was following the universal restaurant script and was studying the menu. The waiter approached and stood nearby. Hazel announced her choice of appetizer and entrée. Next was A tense conversation among the Japanese host and the Japanese guests. When the meal was served, it was not what she had ordered. Everyone at the table was served the same meal. This was deeply disturbing. If you can’t choose your own dinner, how could it be enjoyable? What was the point of the menu if everybody is served the same meal?

[My comments: Found the above account tremendously interesting and enlightening from a cultural and behavioural perspective – I think this is the type of info that would surely fascinate many people.]

  • impact bias: overestimating the enduring impact of emotion-causing events
  • envision your positive possibilities and you become more likely to plan and enact a successful strategy
  • learned helplessness: experiment: personal control / nursing home (p.58) (passive care-receiving role vs. promoting personal control and personal responsibility). 2nd group given small decisions to make and responsibilities to fulfill. Passive group = more debilitated. 2nd group = 93% showed improved alertness, activity and happiness.
  • the costs of excess choice: with more choice comes information overload …
(My comments: I often think we have far too much choice in a capitalistic and materialistic culture: after all, do we really need a hundred and something [whatever the actual figure is] choices of coffee … etc ? As expectations get higher, and we keep raising the bar, to where do we keep raising it? And for how long?)

maladaptive qualities of the self-serving bias:

  • people who blame others for their social difficulties are often unhappier than people who can acknowledge their mistakes.
  • [My comments: and isn’t it glaringly obvious when it’s someone else that you hear passing the blame?]
  • we often take credit for our successes while blaming failures on the situation

WEEK 2[edit]


Ch.3: The Self

  • strong concern with how one is perceived by others
  • culture: independent self-construal: what makes the self different and sets it apart from others. Interdependent self-construal: what connects the self to other people and groups. (see p.74, answer to ‘who am I’ independence vs. interdependence ie Western / Eastern)
  • private vs. public self-awareness: public = looking outward on the public aspects of the self that others can see and evaluate (in order to gain social acceptance). Private=evaluate oneself, towards the goal of self-improvement, self-regulation.
  • self-awareness can make people behave better and also bring people into line with what their culture expects from them. But sometimes it can do the opposite ie escape self-awareness via alcohol, eating binges.
  • public self-consciousness: thinking about how others perceive you
  • introspection: people can correctly know what they think and feel, however they may not know why. Someone’s explanation of why they like something may not be as reliable as they think – they may like or dislike something for many reasons of which they are not aware.
  • promoting change: one effective strategy is to persuade everyone else that you have changed.
  • reality and illusion: people over-estimate their good qualities, under-estimate their faults, over-estimate their perceived control over events, and are unrealistically optimistic. Depressed people, however, don’t seem to distort things very much – non-depressed people have been found to distort. Depressed people tend to be fairly equal in taking the blame for failure and the credit for success, whereas normal people reject blame for failure while claiming plenty of credit for success. However, where important decisions need to be made, non-depressed people are able to set their illusions aside and be realistic. Once the decision is made, they go back to their optimistic confident outlook.
  • self-esteem: a measure of how socially acceptable you are: mainly based on reasons groups use to accept or reject possible members: attractiveness, competence, likeability and morality. (sociometer theory: … how desirable one would be to other people as a relationship partner, team member, employee, etc.
  • high self-esteem also associated with higher prejudice.
  • high self-esteem: also, more initiative=good, however can become bad as in antisocial behaviour of bullies
  • although people do want to preserve their self-esteem, it turns out that often they are more concerned with having other people view them favourably.
  • if you mainly care about self-esteem, your behaviour will be the same regardless of whether someone else is watching – but if you are concerned about what others think (self-presentation) then you will act differently when you are alone than when with others.
  • self-presentation and risky behaviour: human psyche designed to gain and keep a place in a social group; not using condoms, not wearing seat-belts, driving fast, refusing to wear helmets etc.
  • intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation: extrinsic more specific to humans. Ie doing something for money.

WEEK 3[edit]

LECTURE: Film: Ghosts of Rwanda[edit]

This week’s lecture was attended with some trepidation – I presumed I wouldn’t last the distance with the warning of it being emotionally disturbing. Anyway I stayed for the whole film as I wanted to know how it ended! – I then went home and had a cry – I then attending the tutorial (to which I had a fair bit of difficulty being engaged in due to the expended emotional energy on the film).

I took at least two pages of notes, however instead of regurgitating them here I decided this time to just state some of my thoughts/feelings.

It was very interesting – and for a mature-age student, not really all that new as far as insight into human behaviour and especially political behaviour is concerned. It unfortunately confirms what we presume is going on all around the globe. Watching too many of these films could make one extremely disillusioned with the human race.

The biggest (but not the only) impact that the film had on me was at the end. The fact that these world leaders travelled to Rwanda on their ‘mission of contrition’ to pay their ‘respects’ after the fact … I found this quite shameful and disgustingly insulting.

I found the excuses paltry and disgusting.

Cannot understand that people can be so brutal in their killing and abandon all sense of self-control, self-regulation. (So this is a display of cultural obedience etc – but people don’t have to conform, although it is difficult to know how perhaps differently educated people would behave in the same situation – afterall the United Nations didn’t help – therefore one could perhaps see their action as identical, the only difference being their hands weren’t actually on the machetes – I guess really what this can be defined as is hostile aggression by the killers and passive aggression by the United Nations). I suppose this was an example of drive theory, frustration-aggression hypothesis and excitation-transfer: the continued killing links in with the excitation-transfer, as these people were already physically aroused: frustration-aggression was used by the extremist Hutus when rounding up support for their cause by using propaganda about what the Tutsis used to do to the Hutus years ago, and their culture of obedience was also brought into play. – possibly invoking cultural injunctive norms ie., what most others approved of at the time. Also, the fact that emotions were running high and there were weapons visibly available, in the hands of individuals (providing an aggressive cue – weapons effect). This would have also served the purpose of deindividuation, the sense of anonymity when in a group, which would encourage more antisocial behaviour and more killing.

I have always thought we are all capable of things we think we are not capable of – however that’s why there are things like self-control, doing the right thing (usually a culturally-acquired belief and behaviour), etc – what about compassion and feelings for other people’s suffering. This view of everyone of us being capable of good and evil was clearly and purposefully verbalised by the ADRA worker in the film (the only American that stayed in Rwanda – and amazingly survived! or, at least, he lived to tell the story)

The fact that Clinton openly stated in his speech that: ‘America has no friends, only interests ….. we have no interests in Rwanda ……’ - there was no diplomatic use of language to try and cover up the meaning, it was quite clear, for all to hear. This was also tragic.

Certainly provoked a lot of discussion between myself and my family.

It is an important film that I feel many should see.


  • levels:
    • shallow; greetings, small talk
    • info/facts
    • thoughts
    • deep; emotions / feelings
  • channels: verbal (10-20%); words, E-mail, texting
    • non-verbal (80-90%); body language, facial-eyes, hands, dress voice tone

[dependent on individual differences, perhaps the topic of conversation, vocabulary ability, how articulate a person is etc] ………….

  • in small groups we considered either, how to better the model or how to bring in other variables:
  • context: culture / relationship / environment
  • how received: in group / out group mood / emotion
  • explicit / implicit: automatic / conscious (both giver and receiver) as well as sub-conscious; intended/ unintended
  • who you’re with
  • content

…………. Communication Models

Transmission Model: ie., person 1 (thought, encode into language, transmit frequency, send): person 2 (receive, decode language, interpret) - can break down at encoding / transmission (person 1) - interpretation, understanding the concept ie., preconceived ideas (person 2) - emotion / noise / distraction / fast speech

How to improve Communication: multi-channel (ie., in different ways)

  • repeat message (in different ways)
  • chunking (level of meaning: ie simplify)
  • feedback

Feedback Loop Model (Shannon-Wood Model)

[difficult to get into this tutorial after watching the Rwanda film, a bit emotionally drained. Plus the material regarding shallow/deep and verbal/non-verbal is not entirely a new concept therefore difficult to get hugely excited about it. Mind you it’s always good to reinforce info that you already have a bit of a handle on or to extend it with new information or new concepts, other people’s ideas, new theories etc] ………….


Ch.3: Behaviour Control: The Self in Action

[My comments: Chapter 4 begins with the amazing story behind the exploding of a South Korean airplane - of how a person was chosen to carry out this task for her Government, and believed she was doing the right thing at the time – only later to question her own actions. This story displays the strength of culture and of how people can obey authority without question. This person later wrote a book about her experiences around this event]

  • Skinnerian behaviourism: learning from reward and punishment, dominated psychology in the 1950s and 1960s. However failed to provide a satisfactory account of human behaviour because of its failure to deal with meaning.
(Human behaviour is often guided by ideas – ideas = meaning: Thinking enables people to make use of meaning: thinking about doing some action prior to doing it can enable that action to be more successful particularly when focusing on doing it well, ie sport, study etc)
  • Action identification theory: low level of meaning = making a mark on a paper, medium level of meaning = taking a test: high level of meaning:
proving your knowledge, furthering education. When emotions are positive people prefer to move to higher levels of meaning, when emotions are low the preference is lower levels. Practical example: test anxiety: when thinking the test means getting a bad grade, ruining my life, or disappointing my parents a strategy to help = encourage student to think about the test in terms of reading questions, making marks on paper … in order to avoid the emotional response and to aid in better performance (ie shifting to lower levels of meaning).
Another example on p.119.
To solve problems it is useful to shift to low levels of meaning for an action. When people operate at a low level of meaning, they are more vulnerable to influence that can change the way they think, feel and even act.
  • entity theorists: people who regard traits as fixed, stable things (p.120)
  • incremental theorists: believe traits are subject to change and improvement
  • pursuing goals: 1. set goal (time for being realistic) 2. pursue goal (time for being optimistic in order to persist even in the face of setbacks. People who are successful in life are good at resuming activities after interruptions. The conscious system does most of the goal setting, provides initiative to resume goal after an interruption, provides alternative strategies if goal blocked. The automatic system helps via the Zeigarnik effect: the tendency to experience automatic, intrusive thoughts about a goal whose pursuit has been interrupted. (Duplex mind) Goals that are specific and difficult but reachable are the best. A hierarchy of goals is also helpful ie, short-term goals to get to your longer term goal.
  • inner processes serve interpersonal demands (p.126) (theme)
  • panic button effect: a reduction in stress or suffering due to a belief that one has the option of escaping or controlling the situation, even if one doesn’t exercise it
  • self-regulation: enables one’s social conscience to prevail over selfish impulses, …… in this way, it enables people to live together and get along much better.
    • Inner processes serve interpersonal functions. [Self-control] Self-regulation enables people to keep promises, obey rules, respect others, control tempers …
It predicts success or failure in many different spheres. Most problems … have some component of inadequate self-regulation: drug & alcohol abuse, obesity, unsafe sex, gambling, poor physical fitness, violence & crime, etc
    • Effective self-regulation components: standards, monitoring & strength.
Standards can be supplied by culture (culture influencing behaviour).
Monitoring: without self-awareness self-regulation would be difficult.
    • the self’s strength is used for many different activities, and it can be depleted if there are many other demands. An ideal time for any change process is when there is low stress, stable relationships, and few demands for major decisions. When your willpower has been depleted by coping with stress, making hard decisions or resisting temptation etc you will have less strength for effective change strategies, life-coping etc…..
    • Increase willpower by exercising it. Performing regular self-control, improves capacity for self-control.
  • self-defeating behaviour: can blame for eg. the alcohol instead of your low ability: also, inadequate understanding what is effective in the world – eg. claiming that you do your best work under pressure is apparently false especially for procrastinators. Harder to do an adequate job – procrastinators end up getting lower grades than others.
    • delay of gratification: self-defeating behaviour emphasizes the present rather than the future. Many trade-offs involve time.
    • suicide: immediate relief to escape emotional distress. These people shift to low levels of meaning and therefore shift to being emotionally numb. Need to help them re-focus on long-term goals and pleasure in the future.


Ch.5: Social Cognition

  • attribution theory: 1960s and 1970s: how people interpret the causes of events
(external vs. internal / situational vs. dispositional)
  • two dimensional theory of attributions (Weiner):
      • internal / stable - involves ability. internal / unstable - involve effort
      • external / stable – difficulty of task. external / unstable – involve luck
  • self-serving bias: attribute success to ability and effort but attribute failure to bad luck or task difficulty: ie internal vs. external causal factor)
  • cognitive miser: people’s reluctance to do much extra thinking
when people’s capacity for thinking is already preoccupied, they take more shortcuts to reduce further need for thought (especially when under stress or just information overload)

[personal comments: I think this occurs almost constantly in one form or another, I think we are generally aware of when others may be in that mode (if we consciously think about it at the time) and we are aware when we ourselves are in that mode as often you just have to conserve your emotional, thinking and other energies just for survival – or for the more important things at the time]

  • conscious thinking requires a lot more effort than automatic thinking
  • although some animals have larger brains for their body size, much of their brain mass is devoted to motor functions
  • goals of thinking: want to find the right answer to some problem or question (seek the truth); may want to confirm the desired answer (a particular and preferred conclusion); reach a decision quickly (conserve time).
  • automatic thinking involves little effort because it relies on knowledge structures (organised packets of information that are stored in memory)
  • schemas: people think in terms of images: schemas make our complex world much easier to understand
  • scripts: knowledge structures that define how people behave under varying circumstances (ie how to behave in a restaurant, theatre, university lecture etc)
  • priming: planting or activating an idea in someone’s mind: p.153. a prime is a stimulus that activates further processing of the same or related stimuli.
  • framing: whether messages stress potential gains or potential losses (can be used in many contexts ie various forms of media – to influence you one way or the other; health messages – focus on what will make you healthier or what will provide potential for greater illness. The media can use the same photograph for two opposing purposes ie depending on what is provided before and after that photograph
  • actor/observer bias: tendency for actors to make external attributions (ie the situation, someone else’s fault, etc) and for observers to make internal attributions (their choice to fight because they are an aggressive character)
  • fundamental attribution error: again, the tendency for observers to attribute other people’s behaviour to internal or dispositional causes and to downplay situational causes
[my comments: this is so evident in many spheres: children use it often when playing with others and something goes wrong, the parent comes in and “he started it”: adults use it also: in politics, and in many life situations; car accidents – it’s almost always someone else’s fault, or what someone else did wrong]
  • information overload: having too much information to comprehend or integrate;
(My comments: can relate to this!! quite often, especially when taking on a lot of different tasks and roles in life – as many of us do – it’s really quite amazing sometimes that we seem to cope quite well really. But when emotion gets involved as well as information – then it can become quite difficult to take on board any new information, or even just provide what you do know when asked by someone. Even making a more meaningful account of this E-portfolio when at 47 you feel you have been there before and don’t really want to re-visit or regurgitate stuff you feel you already know – not that you know it all, but you feel that life experience etc has already shown you a lot of these concepts, but just without the specific terminology)
  • confirmation bias: the tendency to notice and search for information that confirms one’s beliefs and to ignore information that disconfirms one’s beliefs
[My comments: I think this is very widespread: some people seem to live by it]
  • reducing cognitive errors: one eg., encourage people to search for disconfirmatory information


Ch.7: Attitudes, Beliefs and Consistency

  • attitudes exist in substantial part to help guide behaviour
  • inner structures serve interpersonal processes
  • the power of ideas – attitudes are ideas – ideas that often determine how people will act
  • beliefs: pieces of information about something; facts or opinions
  • attitudes: global evaluations toward some object or issue
    • implicit attitudes: automatic and nonconscious evaluative responses
    • explicit attitudes: controlled and conscious evaluative responses
eg., in the US few people will admit to holding racial prejudice, however many people show negative automatic responses towards other races
eg., the same can be shown re attitudes towards younger and older people
    • isn’t always related to negative concepts: an attitude helps you make a decision much quicker, make choices.
  • stigma: an attribute perceived by others as negative
[My comments: examples in Text are sick, poor, obese & mentally ill people as well as fat and thin, old & young faces, black and white facts etc. The example of ‘old’ being associated with ‘bad’ due to media containing more bad info about old than young – well yes and no – first of all most of the crime is usually by younger than older people. But also, this ‘young’ bias may also come in part from the capitalist culture of things in general. Ie to buy something new to replace the old or previous model, update with new. This may have a transference effect – ie newer people (younger) are preferable to older, the media really tends to influence, emphasise, reinforce and strengthen people’s reactions generally – don’t you think?]
  • formation of attitudes
    • mere exposure effect: come to like things/people because you encounter them often (provided you like them in the first place – otherwise the opposite will happen ie you will dislike them more and more
    • classical conditioning: through repeated pairings a neutral stimulus comes to evoke a conditioned response (Pavlov)
used in advertising ie athlete or actress used to endorse products

[My comments: I am amazed how well this works and that so many people don’t seem to question it – is this the main way a portion of society shops?]

    • operant conditioning: tendency to repeat behaviours that have been rewarded, avoid behavaviours that have been punished
social learning: observation (likely to imitate behaviour if see someone else being rewarded etc)
    • polarisation: attitude polarization- people’s attitudes become more extreme as they reflect on them
  • consistency
    • p.232: people don’t like it when their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours are inconsistent (especially when seen in others) – [cognitive dissonance]
[My comments: I remember in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, getting mixed messages from one of my parents - this caused a great deal of turmoil and for many years I couldn’t put a word to it, until finally in adulthood I found that word – inconsistency !! Mind you, many years of experiencing it and questioning why it was happening doesn’t necessarily make it super-easy to get over, however I found the revelation enabled me to work on it over many years – mind you looking back I could see ways I was already trying to overcome this even at those times when it was creating that emotional turmoil and inability to make decisions and even to actually know what I wanted or even liked]
  • Heider’s P-O-X Theory - QUESTION - ?????
    • what is this? don’t understand it at all? is it really relevant?
    • I prefer: PPO or even POP [person / person /object] – easier to remember
    • why have these triangles with pluses and minuses [perhaps my aversion to anything that looks mathematical!!]
    • One example in the text: p.232: “Jim doesn’t like Bob, but he likes the poem that Bob wrote. About 80% of participants said something needed to change.” [Why ? – what’s wrong with no change – so Jim doesn’t like Bob but likes Bob’s poem – why can’t he just acknowledge that although he doesn’t like Bob he does like his poem? What’s the problem??]
    • Then we get the diagram in figure 7.5. For me this is too complex and I just switch off – I don’t even want to know about this one – how is this going to help me, or anyone else get through life? THEN, the Text author acknowledges that Heider’s theory does have a few problems. Just a few?
    • I was obviously not on the same wavelength as Heider.
  • cognitive dissonance theory: mentioned before? inconsistencies produce psychological discomfort, leading people to rationalize their behaviour or change their attitudes
[My comments: yes: it is unpleasant when it happens and makes one feel that one has not behaved consistently with one’s own ethical and moral standards -
    • the text suggests that when you feel dissonance you are likely to change your attitude – while I believe that generally either attitude or behaviour changes I think in some instances perhaps there is a sort of ‘nowhere land’ where some may choose to feel regret and try to push the episode aside?]
      • Duplex mind: automatic = distress, arousal: conscious = find resolution.
    • believing versus doubting: duplex mind: automatic = automatically believes information it is given. The conscious system can override this. Religious cults use this method of convincing someone about their doctrines by ensuring the person is tired, therefore not at full mental power. This disturbs the conscious mind’s ability to override the automatic system. The conscious system needs time and effort – (cognitive misers).
    • belief perseverance: once beliefs form, they are resistant to change.
The remedy here is explaining the opposite theory/belief. In order to understand things correctly, it is good to cultivate the habit of trying out the opposite theory to whatever theory you encounter.
    • crime affects a victim’s beliefs about the world (and therefore coping ability). These beliefs include the following assumptions: the world is benevolent / the world if fair and just / I am a good person. Victims of crime cope better when they can come up with a reason for why the event happened. It helps to achieve a sense of control and a sense of ability to avoid future misfortune by avoiding that particular mistake. pp.243-244


Ch.13: Social Influence and Persuasion

Types of social influence:

  • normative: going along with the crowd in order to be liked and accepted
  • Asch experiment (1955: length of line)
  • found that conformity increases as group size increases up to a point
  • informational: going along with the crowd because you think they know more than you do


  • ‘ambiguous situations: where people don’t know how to behave:
  • crisis situations: where people don’t have the time to think for themselves.
  • ….. Others assume we know more than they do, whereas we assume that others know more than we do. In reality, nobody knows anything………..!’

Techniques of social influence: (all based on commitment)

  • foot-in-the-door: starting with a small request in order to get eventual compliance with a larger request
  • low-ball: get a person to comply with a seemingly low-cost request and only later reveal hidden additional costs
  • bait-and-switch: draw people in with an attractive offer that is unavailable and then switch them to a less attractive offer that is available
  • labeling: assign a label to an individual and then request a favour that is consistent with the label
  • legitimization-of-paltry-favours: requester makes a small amount of aid acceptable


(Rwanda film notes: see higher up) Aggression and Antisocial Behaviour

  • although military action decreases terrorist attacks in the short term, it may increase terrorist attacks in the long term as it recruits many more terrorists to the cause
  • aggression is a behaviour, not an emotion - and it is intentional
  • hostile aggression: hot impulsive angry behaviour that is motivated by a desire to harm someone
  • instrumental aggression: cold premeditated harmful behaviour that is a means to some practical or material end (There is some discussion by social psychologists as to whether there should be a distinction between the two terms as often the motives for aggression are mixed and therefore it is difficult to make a distinction)
  • verbal / physical / active / passive
  • active: harming others by performing a behaviour (ie spreading rumours)
  • passive: harming others by withholding a behaviour (purposely failing to convey an important message)
  • violence: aggression that has as its goal extreme physical harm (injury or death)
  • antisocial behaviour: behaviour that either damages inerpersonal relationships or is culturally undesirable

- Geneva Convention - prisoners not to be killed, nor tortured, nor required to provide more than a minimum amount of information. (I find this amazing - amazing that this is seen as 'war etiquette' for want of a better term. A bit speechless, the irony of it all) Reciprocity is another rule that applies in war (!) such as honouring surrenders, sparing the wounded (!!) and respecting flags of truce. (etc)

"Much aggression comes from selfishness" p.295 in the Text. (here / here !) Mind you culture does tend to teach restraint of aggression. <nowiki>'''Is Aggression Innate or Learned'''?

The majority of social scientists disagree that aggression is purely a learnt behaviour - partly because aggression has been found everywhere (animals as well as humans). The Text then goes on to say "the nonviolent human being is the product of culture". Interesting. Then: aggressive instincts can be modified. Example of kittens given, being raised with rats (their natural prey). Kittens raised in isolation killed 54% of rats, when raised by a mother who killed rats 85% of the kittens killed rats. Therefore, nature & learning or cultural socialisation can subdue or encourage aggressive impulses and aggressive action.

  • instinct theory: promotes survival of the species
  • social learning theory: learn by direct experience and observing others (modelling)


  • frustration-aggression hypothesis: initial hypothesis proposed that the existence of frustration ALWAYS leads to some form of aggression. This was later softened: frustration produces ......a number of different responses, one of which is ...... some underline textform of aggression
  • bad moods: arousal, excitation transfer
  • attributions: hostile attribution / hostile perception / hostile expectation
  • age: 2 yr olds / adolescent males
  • gender: males (fight or flight) - females (tend and befriend)


  • domestic violence: apparently women attach their relationship partners slightly more often than men do! (what I found interesting here was (what I found interesting here were the 1984 statistics from the US: Domestic violence was the leading cause of injuries to women ges 15-44, more common than muggings, car accidents, and cancer deaths COMBINED!!)
  • displaced aggression: (kicking the dog effect)
  • triggered displaced aggression: also displaced, however against an offender, but not in proportion to offence


  • weapons effect (can't believe the example in the Text - that trapped motorists had the audacity or stup..ity to honk car horns at the driver with the military rifle and the VENGEANCE sticker!
  • mass media (40 hours a week of television a week by the average child in the US!! - on for more than 7 hrs a day!! - then the suggestion, that was subsequently ignored, that action was required to remedy the link between violence and antisocial behaviour, issued in 1972
  • unpleasant environments: heat. loud noise, four odours, smoke, air pollution, crowding in some environments.
  • chemical influences: testosterone (increased test.=increased aggression - especially if provoked)/ serotonin (less ser.=increased aggr.) / alcohol (increases - esp.if provoked)
  • diet: example, juvenile detention study: reduction in sweet and fried foods = reduction in antisocial behaviour (47%).

(interesting to learn that running amok is an Indonesian word ... and that it was previously seen as 'uncontrollable' by the Malays - but then became 'controllable' after the British changed the culture by making the aggressor responsible - the most interesting thing that I found here was the reference again to SELF-CONTROL. This is my pet soap-box thing - whilst I advocate judging each event / person on their merits / circumstances etc, I really do believe that self-control is a key ingredient in many areas. As the text states: "Violence starts when self-control stop"

also: wounded pride (narcissists particularly) / culture of honour (southern & western US)(stunned at the example of the mother's messages to her son going into a war situation) / humiliation (mainly in cultures of honour)


LECTURE (Prejudice)

Enjoyed the lecture and was glad the notes were available without pictures, easier to print especially on older machines at home.

The personal examples given by Melissa helped to bring home messages from the lecture.

Although the topics chosen were the ones higher up on the prejudice list I would have liked to have seen the elderly included, even if only in passing.

Also I think I found it interesting due to personal experience, ie parents' experiences when they first came to Australia, my smaller experiences at school with a difficult surname to spell and pronounce and also just others' attitudes changing when finding out about my background. Even acquaintances, and some work colleagues in the past - their talking about 'them' and 'us' and including me in the 'us' (I privately took offense at this at the time) - and then at other times saying something derogatory about 'them' and not realising that they had offended me (or at least I presumed they didn't realise at the time, unless it was meant to be a silent jab).

And this was an experience of someone of the same colour as the majority.

Of course, after WWII, Europeans experienced prejudice from other Europeans as well - not just the people in the countries they emigrated to.

TEXT: Ch.12: Prejudice & Intergroup Relations

  • ingroup members: people who belong to the same group as we do
  • outgroup members: people who belong to a different group than we do
  • outgroup homogeneity bias: the assumption that outgroup members are more similar to one another than ingroup members are to one another (eyewitness testimony: more accurate at identifying people of your own racial group - makes sense due to familiarity - However, when outgroup members are angry, the opposite is true - angry outgroup members are easier to distinguish than angry ingroup members - importance of keeping track of dangerous people - angry outgroup members may pose a major threat.

Common Prejudices and Targets: Arabs / overweight people / homosexuals [the examples given in the Text had quite a bit of impact (probably comes back to the 'is bad stronger than good' effect) ie the example of the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamic extremist after his film on the abuse of Muslim women - followed by a week of anti-muslim acts, including a school bombing. The example of Matthew Shepard, a 22 yr old gay uni student, beaten and then died five days later from those injuries. To make it even worse a Baptist Minister encouraged protest at this boy's funeral and was actually using the name of God in a highly prejudicial way * this I found absolutely appalling.

  • stigma by association: rejection of those who associate with stigmatised others [this I can relate to, in a number of situations, however I recall some examples from the workplace quicker - associating with people of lower status at social events in the Commonwealth public service, and also at meetings - even sitting next to the 'wrong' person - all these behaviours are noticed, and noticed by those higher up and those below, it can be interesting to observe but also to be one of the players when you know you are being observed]

Why Prejudice Exists: Is it innate or is it socialisation? The authors of the Text reluctantly concluded that prejudice is natural. Perhaps this comes back to the pure act of survival and feeling comfortable and safe with someone that is more similar to you than with someone that is quite or very different.

Groups in Competition: the example given in the Text is quite interesting to read through - the fact that the two groups became so antagonistic towards one another after just a week - however what I found most interesting and also heartwarming, was the fact that the superordinate goal was able to remedy the situation in a totally wonderful way - it was such a positive, constructive way of pulling apart a conflict situation and turning it into a situation of co-operation, and it 'appeared' natural to the competitors. (Superordinate goals: goals than can be achieved only by co-operating and working with others)

  • realistic conflict theory: competition over scarce resources leads to inter-group hostility and conflict. [Examples provided in Text of societies where competition doesn't exist - Bonta, 1997 - of course the statement 'there might be a tradeoff to embracing co-operation and shunning competition. The 25 societies that Bonta studied are not very successful or powerful, in either economic or political terms. Competition may produce prejudice, hostility and aggression, but it also produces progress and advancement. - I suppose it depends on your definition of 'progress' and 'advancement' and how much of it you want and at what cost - it seems to have a tendency to spiral out of control and the original reasons seem to be invisible.]

-- 23:51, 23 August 2008 (UTC) 9.50am

Contact Hypothesis: regular interaction between members of different groups reduces prejudice, providing that it occurs under favourable conditions: contact works among people of equal status - contact only works when it is positive - only works when outgroup members are perceived as typical members of their group (so that the positive perceptions are generalised to the rest of the population).

Rationalisation for Oppression: stereotypes constructed for convenience - eg., African Americans as inferior, to justify keeping them in inferior positions: women unsuited to higher education, to keep them out of tertiary institutions etc.

Stereotypes as Heuristics: use as mental shortcuts - to help understand the world in clear simple ways and to do so quickly with least effort. Difficult and tiring to get to know everone on their own merits... easier to say African Americans are good at music, Latinos are fun-loving and passionate ... Not all stereotypes are negative (however the bad stereotypes tend to be more durable - it takes more exceptions to disconfirm a bad stereotype than a good one: 'bad reputations are quickly acquired and hard to get rid of whereas a favourable reputation in hard to acquire and easily lost'). [This comes back to the Duplex Mind: the automatic system = quick; the conscious system = conscious override]

Prejudice and Self-Esteem: people can feel better about themselves if they consider their own group superior and all other groups inferior. In this way they feel pretty good about belonging to that group, therefore it becomes self-affirming (ie you belong to that groups therefore you must be pretty good).

Inner Processes:

  • scapegoat theory: blaming problems on outgroups
  • self-serving bias: the tendency for people to take credit for success but refuse blame for problems and failures

--Betsy 03:19, 24 August 2008 (UTC) 1.19pm

  • confirmation bias: the tendency to focus more on evidence that supports one's expectations than on evidence that contradicts them [the examples given in the Text - of facial photos of different racial groups showing no particular expression AND of Hannah and the oral test - participants to guess her intellectual ability depending on whether they had been told she was from a rich privileged family or a poor working class family - also are an example (I believe) of priming, as the faces, for example, were seen as threatening after participants had seen scenes from a horror movie. I wonder if it also depicts 'excitation transfer' - where the arousal from the movie was transferred to the pictures of faces, which were then mistaken for something to be feared?? (Although this would actually only be priming the hidden stereotype to come to the surface?)

[p427 onwards]--Betsy 09:18, 24 August 2008 (UTC)7.18pm

Week 6[edit]


Watched 'The Australian Eye' video / discussed video / briefly discussed Rwanda video

Jane Elliott introduces herself as 'the blue-eyed bitch' - this certainly set the tone pretty quickly. I didn't like her tone, speech, etc it made me feel quite uncomfortable, however I have always felt uncomfortable when there is any verbal aggressiveness nearby. She probably wanted to set the scene for the blue-eyes pretty quick, and I would say it worked.

She quickly placed herself in the role of authority figure but took this to the brown-eyed people a bit harshly as well. I felt she was almost being a bit patronising to them and quite authoritarian when she said (almost shouted): 'who is prepared to make a commitment to the project?' (or similar). She wasn't really seeking individual answers, she was expecting a group answer and one that fell into the category of -public conformity - obedience - . [Who knows if all of this group felt the same way, perhaps someone wanted to answer Jane's question differently but didn't want to be seen as going against the crowd]

Jane didn't like what the Aboriginal man said initially - about, I think, the older white fellow walking out - he then had to push himself to be heard and explain what he meant. [She was trying to bring him into line as she thought he was justifying the man's behaviour]

Jane brought in the phrase early on about doing it 'for their own good' etc (belief in a just world) - turning the usual phrase around towards the blue-eyed group.

I would say that the blue-eyed group probably experienced the interactions with a hostile perception bias.

Jane thought the female police officer's behaviour was not as expected, however once her occupation was revealed the point was made about a female learning to survive in a non-traditional job.

The example of the Aboriginal man's experience in the sport's store was revealing (probably more of the town he experienced it in)- it seemed that once he heard the security guard being sent, he appeared to be 'tuned in' and expecting that it might be for him - then the guard wanted to know what he was doing there (which seemed rather rude and almost a stupid question - as you do expect customers to be in a shop, and you do expect them to look at things) - the answer of 'what do you think I'm doing' sounded to me a bit provoking and almost a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I always think this phrase is emotionally-loaded when anyone says it.

I wonder whether this exercise creates less or more prejudice: perhaps more in the case of the two white men that left early on (and not solely towards skin colour either). The focus of the exercise seems to be on the negative aspects - and of course there are many and they can be extremely hurtful where prejudice is concerned -however it also fosters a lack of letting go. It perhaps fuels some of the expectations of prejudice that the minority groups are trying to avoid and the exercise itself is an exercise of social categorisation.

It was interesting to see the differences in reactions of genders and age groups. The two white men that left early on, were not going to be spoken to that way and have their positions threatened. One of the younger females was quite reactionary, however eventually was brought into submission, and the female police officer (via life experience) had a more neutral communicative style that was less threatening and less threatened.

The reaction of the Greek-heritage fellow was worthwhile bringing up, even though it wasn't the same as the race issue, however I think it is useful for everyone to hear about ethnic experiences as well, as they are real and they can be quite hurtful to the people concerned. Of course ethnicity is not always facially obvious, however it is still an experience that comes up from time to time in the life of the people involved.

Also, the presumption (by Jane) was that all the blue-eyed people were "the enemy", so to speak - a strong presumption that no-one has any empathy at all.

Will have to look at the video mentioned by Jenny O.

Was glad that James provided us with some extra info on Rwanda - background and update on the situation. After watching the video I wondered what had happened in the country since and where Rwanda was at now. Would still like to know a little more about Rwanda now, and whether the scars have healed a bit etc.

--Betsy 11:27, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Week 10[edit]


Attraction and Exclusion

The Need to Belong

Relationships: The need to belong
  • basic need
  • amazing example re: men in solitary confinement talking down their toilets to one another, in order to hear a human voice
  • testosterone:
    • higher = more exciting, less reliable, restless, less prone to stay at home and look after family, more violent than others, less interested in simpler, gentler pleasures, more active sex lives, risky activities.
    • lower = kinder, more trustworthy, more affectionate.
    • testosterone peaks at 20 and declines steadily after that. Also drops when a young man becomes a father.
  • the need to belong: the desire to form and maintain close, lasting relationships with other individuals
  • the need to belong: regular social contacts (positive better, though neutral also satisfying eg., watching TV together or having breakfast together / stable framework, ongoing, where the people share a mutual concern for each other
  • failure to satisfy the need to belong: unhappiness but also leads to significant health problems (both mental and physical). Loneliness impairs the body's immune system and the ability to recover from sickness or injury. [Interesting to look at examples of people that I know and the ones with less social contact - or less meaningful social contact - are the ones that are always dissatisfied with life events and other people, and often having health problems and having to undergo medical tests whereas the ones that appear to be more gregarious (not overwhelmingly so, however) seem to be happier and more robust as far as their health is concerned. There may of course be a number of reasons why this is so, genetics etc, however the social contact does appear to follow the general pattern stated in the text.]
  • belonging to a group or organisation can satisfy the need to belong. This may of course lead to closer friendships, or it may not. [An acquaintance of mine does see quite a number of people on and off, is generally negative about many aspects of her life and always feels 'the grass is greener on the other side'. This has alienated a couple of her friends but amazingly not all. She finally joined a couple of organisations, however these have not seemed to have met her need either. Although she is often going somewhere with someone the moment she is alone on the weekend, she complains. It appears that for this person a closer friendship or relationship is perhaps necessary as all the casual friendships don't seem to be satisfying. Some of her friends, though, she has known for years and therefore has built up history etc. Am a bit baffled by this one, as she is a bit of hard work. Advice from friends and acquaintances tends to end up as gossip and falls into the category of 'they don't understand what it's like for me'....]

Attraction: Who Likes Whom?

  • similarity: contributes to initial attraction, and, the development of close bonds
  • self-monitoring: the ability to change one's behaviour for different situations - those high in self-monitoring seek to maximise each social situation, those low in this trait pay more attention to permanent connections and feelings. For example, the high self-monitors prefer to play tennis with the best player (or the most evently matched) in their circle of friends, whereas the low s-m would prefer to play tennis with their best friend, regardless of tennis ability.
  • marriage partners are generally similar in levels of intelligence, physical attractiveness, eduction and socio-economic status.


  • inner reactions of repeated ostracism: pain, illness, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, helplessness, promiscuity, less able to cognitively process.
  • rejection impairs self-regulation
  • behavioural effects: can become aggressive - examples in Text, school shootings [this may be relevant to prejudice and to issues like disgruntled minority groups and/or possibly terrorism?]
  • loneliness/social rejection: lack of quality, rather than quantity, in relationships / children reject each other: aggression (bullies), when others withdraw from contact , deviance (different in any obvious way) / adults reject each other: deviance (especially in groups, deviance is seen as threatening to the solidarity of the group.

Betsy 06:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)


Close Relationships: Passion, Intimacy and Sexuality

  • passionate love (romantic love): strong feelings of longing, desire and excitement toward a special person
  • companionate love (affectionate love): high level of mutual understanding and caring, and in many cases a commitment to make the relationship succeed.
  • romantic love is not just an invention of Western culture: this is not to suggest that culture plays no role - the forms and expressions of romantic love vary significantly, as does the culture's attitude toward passionate love. Modern Western culture has come to regard passionate love as an important part of life, however other cultures don't place the same value on it and indeed Western culture previously had quite a different attitude towards it. At one time, it was regarded as "a form of mental imbalance".... "proposing marriage while in love would strike them as similar to making any major life decision while drunk or on drugs!" [good to get some humour from the text] Companionate love was seen as a better basis for marriage. Passionate love to start a relationship, companionate love to help it succeed and survive the long run.
  • Sternberg's Triangle: passion / intimacy / commitment
  • exchange relationship: based on reciprocity and fairness, in which people expect something in return - (dentist and client: main basis of interaction is the exchange of dental care for money)
  • communal relationship: based on mutual love and concern, without expectation of payment - (two family members: help each other out in difficult times with emotional support and/or money without expecting the other to pay it back)
  • difference between exchange and communal (above) is whether the people keep track (some couples that live together keep track of who buys the groceries, who pays which bill etc to make sure everything is equal. Others live in a more communal fashion pooling money together in a joint bank account and allowing either one to spend without having to check with the other. (see more detail p.366)
  • Attachment theory: Bowlby (influenced by Freudian and learning psychology): attachment styles - anxious / secure / avoidant. [The theory actually looks at four classifications, see.p.368] This theory was revived by relationships researchers in the 1980s and has become an influential way of understanding all close relationships (especially romantic ones). Essentially how adults relate to one another, would repeat the style of interaction they had learned in childhood (ie separation from parents - reaction by child - clinging and crying: pretending they didn't care: or, deal with in a sad but accepting manner). Today the weight of opinion does not favour the early childhood experiences - People change and develop new styles of relating.

Betsy 11:22, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

  • Attachment theory: now seen as two dimensional: anxiety (attitudes towards the self) and avoidance (attitudes toward the other person): secure attachment (favourable attitudes towards self and others)/ preoccupied attachment (want to merge and cling to partner however negative attitude toward self)/ dismissing avoidant attachment (see themselves as worthy individuals but prevent relationships from becoming too close/ fearful avoidant attachment (low opinion of self, prevent others from getting close) -(pp368-369).
  • narcissists: high self-esteem, strong though unstable self-love, selfish and do not make good relationships. Less committed, always on the look-out for someone better.
  • self-acceptance: regarding yourself as being a reasonably good person as you are

Maintaining Relationships

  • bad interactions are stonger than good. Saying affectionate things to each other makes a smaller difference than saying cruel things. Bad words make a longer and deeper impression. It seems many more of the 'good' things need to happen to counter even one of the 'bad' things. Reciprocity of bad behaviour makes things even worse - responding to negative behaviour with more negative behaviour. More positive interactions will aid the relationship in the long run.
  • relationships start off good and either stay good or go downhill. To ensure a good long-term relationship is not to find ways of making it better (according to the Text) - the more important issue is to avoid the downward spiral. Once relationships begin to deteriorate, it can be difficult to stop that process - therefore the important challenge is to stop the downward spiral from actually beginning.
  • investment model: satisfaction / alternatives / investments : these factors are used to explain why people stay with their long-term partners. Satisfaction = do you like your partner? Alternatives = is their anyone on the horizon who might be better? Investments = time, effort, emotion and other resources that have gone into the relationship that cannot be taken out.
  • attributions: some of the crucial differences between happy and unhappy couples are based on the attributions they make. Giving the partner the benefit of the doubt. Attributing unpleasant behaviour to an external behaviour ie he had a bad day at work. Pleasant behaviour being attributed to internal factors, ie proof of what a good person he or she is. Relationship-enhancing styles of attributions are more common in happy relationships. The unhappy ones tend to have more distress-maintaining styles of attribution, 'why has he bought me flowers - he must have done something wrong'....
  • other important thought processes: how you view the relationship - happy couples tend to exaggerate how wonderful it is. Devaluing alternatives - giving a low rating to an available potentional dating partner especially when attractive also - considered threatening therefore a defensive response against the danger of becoming interested in someone else. Closing your mind to other potential partners to help keep your relationship safe. [It seems to be it all comes back again to self-regulation and self-control which I think I flagged as important issues in my opinion in the chapter about aggressiveness behaviour and conflict]
  • people that down-play their partners' bad points and emphasize their partners' good points have happier relationships - a good idea to stay on your best behaviour as long as possible as this aids in your partner sustaining a favourable view (example given of middle class marriages in the Victorian era, where things were kept formal in dress and behaviour - these have been the longest lasting marriages in Western history, on average.[Mind you at that time, before WWI, it would have been difficult for women to really have an alternative lifestyle if their marriage was unhappy - Mind you I think that being on your best behaviour can certainly offer a positive and worthwhile challenge to any relationship ]


  • social constructionist theories: .... strongly shaped by culture and socialisation - 1970s - upbringing, media, social and political influences. Gender differences also. Feminist theory peaked at this time.
  • evolutionary theory: theory of sexuality asserting that the sex drive has been shaped by natural selection and that its forms thus tend to be innate: 1970s and 1980s; gender differences result of biology; men prefer younger women as are more able to pass on genes.
  • social exchange theory: costs / benefits; sex is a resource that women have and men want; therefore men give women other resources in exchange for sex; ie money, love, respect, commitment etc.


There are many types of groups

I am not sure that I agree with the definition of group as a collection of at least two people....etc. I suppose it is difficult to accept a dyad as a group. It seems really too intimate or simply not enough people in it. To me a group starts with five (probably because that sounds like a nice round number and perhaps in games sports or similar activities we tend to expect more than two to play. Mind you two people can play cards, scrabble etc. For me I could cope with the definition including three people - I am just not sure about two people being enough to constitute a group.

What makes a group feel united?

  • common identity
  • frequent interaction
  • depend on one another
  • work together toward a common goal/s
  • common beliefs, values, practices [as far as that specific groups is concerned - I don't think it necessarily extends to all arenas in your life, but probably is generally true]
  • similar in other respects ie gender, athleticism [there will of course still be difference - for example a group of people coming together for garden and plant talks - each individual in the group has a similar interest in gardens and plants, however some may come more for the social contact, the free cup of tea and scone (as an acquaintance of mine does) or possibly some other reason that I can't think of]
  • team members can share emotionally powerful experiences (winning/losing sports games)
  • often 'feel' similar to each other

What do groups accomplish?

  • social:provide safety, find and share food, do tasks that no one individual can do alone
  • cultural: preserve info & pass to future generations, benefit from role differentiation, so that everyone specialises in something and that all of the jobs are performed by people who are experts [in theory anyway]
  • [ironically] groups provide conformity pressures (for sameness) and yet diversity can help a group become more creative and smarter but creates problems where people don't want to co-operate or work together.

Groups, Roles and Selves

  • if everyone in a group wanted the same role, the group wouldn't survive
  • human roles only work in the context of a large system where most other people do something else
  • identifying individuals with their unique role within the group is an important key to the success of human groups
  • deindividuation: the loss of self-awareness and of individual accountability in a group: this often creates problematic and bad behaviour, as people feel they can hide in their anonymity.
  • belonging to a human cultural group involves two separate demands: to find common values and other sources of similarity that can cement one's allegiance to the group. And, to find some special role within the group. [this depends also: sometimes one must have a role eg in the workplace, as part of a sports team - but sometimes the role is making up the numbers and perhaps contributing in some minor but not necessary way for example a member of a garden group, attends meetings, possibly asks questions, may add personal experience, may chat to others in the group, but doesn't really have a specified role as such]
  • optimal distinctiveness theory: proposition that when people feel very similar to others in a group, they seek a way to be different, and when they feel different, they try to be more similar [I think this probably works both ways, both the way the theory states and also against what the theory states depending on personality or temperament type. Wouldn't people that are higher on extraversion and people higher on intraversion behave differently in a group situation? It may depend on how strongly they identify with the particular group, how large the group is, and therefore how comfortable they are in seeking to be different or just wanting to blend and at least 'seem' the same. WHAT DO YOU THINK? ]

Group Action Social Facilitation

  • social facilitation: individuals performing a task alone tend to be slower than those that do it when someone else is present (Triplett's experiment, Ch.1)
  • evaluation apprehension: concern about how others are evaluating your performance.(Previously the reason for why social facilitation occurred was the 'competitive instinct' however it was later adopted that purely having observers present aided the performance - therefore a person's effort would increase because they wanted to be evaluated favourably. However, the presence of others doesn't always improve performance, sometimes it harms it. )
  • dominant response: the most common response in a given situation. whatever you are normally inclined to do, you will be even more strongly inclined to do in the presence of others.
  • social facilitation theory: proposition that the presence of others increases the dominant response. For familiar, easy and well-learned behaviours, the dominant response is to perform well, and performance increases when others are watching. For difficult, unfamiliar tasks, the dominant response is to perform less well, and so mistakes become more common when others are watching.

[I am not sure about the above: when I look back at a running experience (sprinting) at primary school - I remember doing well doing all the trials, was chosen for the official school competition and due to a particular person watching, I performed very badly - due to uncontrolled nervousness at being under scrutiny. Perhaps I hadn't practised enough to overcome an extra nervy situation. I believe I would have run well if that person wasn't present - ie even though there are some nerves with people present anyway - but because I was able to distinguish one particular person from the 'group' or crowd, this became problematic for me and I choked under pressure. On the other hand I remember ballroom dancing in exam situations and in competition situations, and these were all OK - of course I was nervous, but not out of control and I didn't feel that there was someone in particular that would cause me to be more nervous than usual. Of course there were the judges and your teacher watching you, but that was normal for that type of situation. And you knew you were being judged along with others, but somehow I was able to focus the nervous energy into concentration on what I was doing and on the technical aspects, but still trying to enjoy the flow of the music and allowing myself to enter into the music itself - while taking care of the placement of my feet - especially not to slip and fall !! ; I guess looking back, I was actually more familiar with the dancing situation than the sprinting situation ie more time in practice etc, although the dancing is more technical than the sprinting so it needs more time and practice to remember steps and then to perfect moves etc]

The text mentions that: social facilitation theory has many applications to the real world. Eg., many modern offices have more public shared space (large rooms where everyone is present) rather than private offices. [Although these are usually reserved for higher positions] The text asks whether this is a good design decision and suggests the following answer: If the employees are working on simple or well-learned tasks, then yes because the presence of others should improve their performance - but if they are working on complex or creative tasks, then the design is bad because the presence of others is likely to decrease their performance. [I can relate to that in my past working life, when working on the usual things, even though you had to write responses to correspondence etc, being in an open plan situation was OK - but when I had to work on a report that was much more complex and involved, and where I wanted to make my own mark with a bit of creativity and more thought, I found it very difficult to concentrate in the open plan situation and needed personal office space so as not to get distracted]

  • narcissists: perform best when others are watching, whereas they slacken off when there is no opportunity to credit themselves. In a group situation, this causes resentment as the narcissist is recognised for not being a team player but one that is looking for individual honours.
  • social loafing: people reduce effort when working in a group, compared to when working alone - due to the feeling of being submerged in a group and not being individually accountable. When the contribution of each member of the group is identified or identifiable, social loafing decreases.
  • altruistic punishment: people will sometimes sacrifice their own gain for the betterment of all, by punishing people who cheat the system.

Deindividuation and Mob Violence

  • merging into the group can make people behave less in accordance with cultural values. Cultural values are group values. As people merge into the group, they sometimes feel freer to go against the group's values. When people don't feel individually accountable, they will go along with what others are doing at the time, even when these situational norms go against what is generally considered morally good. Eg looting during a riot.
  • commons dilemma: the tendency for shared or jointly owned resources to be squandered and not used in an optimal or advantageous fashion: eg rental properties are not looked after as well as those being lived in by the owners - [I know the commons dilemma tries to explain this but I still can't understand why people almost always behave that way, it's the same as throwing rubbish into the street or in the bush at a picnic etc - why do people do this? I am afraid I don't have a terribly complimentary view of those that engage in such behaviour as we all have a duty to think about our impact on the earth, our surroundings and others and it really p....s me off when I see this time and time again. There is just no respect for anything - and if it is selective, ie these people don't behave that way in their home - well then: there's your answer! - it all comes down AGAIN to self-regulation / self-control. This is a bit of a hobby horse of mine!! (As if you didn't guess!!) - People need to stop being so selfish and consider the whole picture around them, not just the few inches surrounding them. If they can use restraint in their own homes - then they can use restraint in any other environment they find themselves in. Just like the example in I think the aggression chapter where the British govt ruled that the Malays couldn't 'run amok' anymore to damage whatever the young males felt like damaging - and then later the society that allegedly couldn't 'control' itself previously, suddently found a way to 'control' itself!]

How Groups Think

  • brainstorming: seems to have a very positive image, and has benefits: people enjoy the process, they do actually enjoy their work more, it satisfies people's need to belong, enables them to feel confident, effective and superior. When researchers have checked the quality and quantity of ideas people working alone were substantially better !! (Brainstorming was developed by advertising executives in the 1950s to increase the creativity of their groups) - Many people believe that teams are highly effective for improving performance, but in reality most of them don't live up to their reputation.
  • transactive memory: a process by which members of a small group remember different kinds of information: the group can speed its learning by figuring out who is good at what parts of the task. As a result, each person can concentrate on learning his or her speciality, rather than everyone trying to learn everything. [This of course depends on the type of group - and whether there is a need to know someone else's job or not]
  • groupthink: the tendency of group members to think alike: (the term is borrowed from the novelist George Orwell's 1984). In decision-making the group sticks to its preferred course of action, refusing to consider alternatives fairly and refusing to recognise flaws in its plan. (= members' desire to get along - people reluctant to criticise - this creates the illusion that everyone is in agreement)

Groupthink tends to occur when: members of a group are fairly similar / tend to get along well / have a strong, directive leader / a little isolated from others therefore not exposed to contrary views / group has high self-esteem, regards itself as a superior group of people that don't need to worry about what outsiders think or want.

Social psychologists have identified the following as indicators of when groupthink may be occurring: pressure toward conformity / unanimous agreement (self-censorship: ie don't want to rock the boat as you think everyone else agrees) / illusion of invulnerability (when the experts all agree, nothing can go wrong)/ moral superiority / underestimating opponents

  • committees: fail to live up to their promises: one reason is that members of a committee want to get along with each other, so they focus more on what they have in common than on their different perspectives. These pressures toward group harmony end up stifling the free exchange of information. Information is lost rather than gained.
  • risky shift: a tendency for groups to take greater risks than the same individuals would have decided (on average) individually [see next point]
  • group polarisation effect: a shift toward a more extreme position resulting from group discussion: research showed that rather than the 'risky shift' the primary effect of the group was toward a greater extreme in whatever direction it was already headed. If the group leans initially toward risk, then group discussion will yield greater risk. If the group leans toward caution, discussion will make it even more cautious.

Power and Leadership Example given in Text of a study of corporate success showed that the successful companies had one thing in common: new CEOs that had taken over and improved the company's performance. [In a world where it seems unfair to hear of someone's head rolling just because a company performs worse than the previous year - it appears that the one at the top is more important than may have been understood, at least by me]

  • two traits of successful CEOs: being modest and humble [I bet no one ever expected that! I surely didn't, but to stop and think about it, I think I can understand that those two traits would certainly help] - Another trait was extreme persistence [this trait surely is no surprise - and looking at the example of the Ford company given in the Text, without persistence in the face of defeat this company may not have existed at all, I thought it was amazing that Henry Ford actually suffered two defeats and tried a third time - I feel that many people would, after the second failure, think 'am I flogging a dead horse'?
  • other important traits include: make a decision and stick with it [although I can see the benefits, I can also see big problems with this one, particularly if the decision hasn't been thought out properly in the first place and all known alternatives considered]: good leaders are competent at the group's tasks: have integrity: honesty: good moral character (or at least perceived that way): have vision, and use this to motivate people.
  • power: one person's control over another person: (power has been linked to belongingness and loneliness: ie the need to belong but with inequality therefore = loneliness)
  • effects of power on leaders: makes you look down on others: underestimate their worth: interested only in their self-serving individual goals, take credit for themselves (highly powerful individuals): take advantage of the weak: tendency to corrupt.
  • power: crucial elements: emotion (people with power, more likely to feel positive emotions, people with low power are prone to negative emotions, guilt, depression) / reward vs. punishment (those with power look for opportunities to get what they want, money, sex, attention, food, success : those that lack power attend to threats and focus on not losing what they have) / what can you do for me (or vice versa) (powerful people tend to think of others as a means to their own ends ie what can you do for me: low power people tend to think of themselves as how useful they are to others ie what can I do for you) / the duplex mind (power makes people rely more on automatic processing whereas people lacking in power engage in more controlled thinking (due to greater vulnerability, and more accountability of low power people - powerful people are rarely told they are wrong) / approach vs. inhibition (power removes inhibitions against acting, whereas a lack of power makes people more inhibited. This can be both good and bad, depending on the action involved.
  • effects of power on followers: people with less power will be especially prone to fostering peace and harmony. They also tend to adapt to the expectations of high-power people, even without realising it.
  • legitimising myths: explanations used to justify why people in power deserve to be in power, such as superior merit, being smarter, more talented, harder working than those ranking below them. They must find a reason that everyone will accept as being fair and legitimate, and they must continually be on the lookout for ideas to justify their position of influence over others.


Prosocial Behaviour: Doing What's Best for Others

Prosocial Behaviour: Can be part of your employment or something you voluntarily do
  • prosocial behaviour: doing something that is good for other people or for society as a whole
  • reciprocity: the obligation to return in kind what another has done for us
  • norms: standards established by society to tell its members what types of behaviour are typical or expected
  • equity: the idea that each person receives benefits in proportion to what he or she contributes
  • equality: the idea that everyone gets the same amount, regardless of what he or she contributes
  • sensitivity about being the target of a threatening upward comparison: interpersonal concern about the consequences of outperforming others
  • normative social influence: pressure to conform to the positive expectations or actions of other people
  • informational social influence: pressure to accept the actions or statements of others as evidence about reality
  • public conformity: going along with the crowd outwardly, regardless of what one privately believes
  • kin selection: the evolutionary tendency to help people who have our genes
  • egoistic helping: when a helper seeks to increase his or her own welfare by helping another
  • altruistic helping: when a helper seeks to increase another's welfare and expects nothing in return
  • empathy: reacting to another person's emotional state by experiencing the same emotional state
  • empathy-altruism hypothesis: the proposition that empathy motivates people to reduce other people's distress, as by helping or comforting
  • negative state relief theory: the proposition that people help others in order to relieve their own distress
  • bystander effect: the finding that people are less likely to offer help when they are in a group than when they are alone
  • pluralistic ignorance: looking to others for cues about how to behave, while they are looking to you: collective misinterpretation
  • diffusion of responsibility: the reduction in feeling responsible that occurs when others are present
  • audience inhibition: failure to help in front of others for fear of feeling like a fool if one's offer of help is rejected
Being involved with the elderly

Re: bystander effect '''bystander effect'''above and helping behaviour generally and why some do it and some don't: SBS program 'Insight', 17 Sept '08; 'Finding Courage':

  • feeling of connection with people (ie something in common - common experience, not just the event but in the words of a victim and helper in a plane crash - the fact that she had talked with those people prior to the crash, setting up a feeling of connection, or 'knowing' those people in the plane with her.
  • medical doctor in the Bali bombings: knowing another bomb might go off, difficult decision, took 20 minutes, went back in and was inspired by other people's behaviour in those circumstances. Also felt a sense of duty as was familiar with the health system in Bali: helped out in the hospital as there seemed to be no other doctors? on duty. Decided to help in a context where he knew his skills would be of most benefit to those needing them.
  • context mentioned: ie the boy that jumped off the bridge to save a woman in the river: no people present when aid needs to be given - bystander effect.
  • the man who thought he was saving someone who used to live in a particular house (engulfed in flames) - stated that this drove him to take the risk (ie 'knowing' the person) - to find someone else in the house, and to learn later that he had saved the arsonist! He reflected that had he known at the time he believes he would have changed his course of action, however also reflected that 'a life is a life'.
  • author of book entitled 'courage': I liked many of her comments, particularly about not disregarding all those every day acts of courage people perform in order to keep going in their particular situation - she sees courage as a commitment, and as a lifelong commitment at that - I thought this was quite a precise and apt description and really liked many of the comments she made - because I believe they are true and also because the way she describes courage is a positive way to describe it which I feel would make a lot of people think about what their particular difficulty in life may be and to see their continued perserverance as a good thing, to actually see the positive side and to put a positive spin on themselves as well.

Web address is: [1]

TUTORIAL No.4 - Cross-Cultural Training[edit]

Unfortunately had to miss this tutorial. Will have a look at others' comments and will provide brief comments on preparatory readings:

EXCELL Social Learning Program:

  • EXCELL: Excellence in Cultural Experiential Learning and Leadership
  • aims to help recent arrivals to develope their confidence and skills in a range of

academic and social contexts in a relatively short time-frame.

  • 4-6 three hour sessions
  • offered in Australia, NZ, Canada, UK & the Netherlands

The Program sounds quite good, it would be good to know how much feedback they have had from the participants and whether the participants found it practical and useful. I see a small note regarding an evaluation of the Canadian and Australian programs (on last year's lecture notes on the program). Would be interesting to see a little more info on these evaluations.


  • artistic technique of forcing the audience to see common things in an unfamiliar way, in order to enhance perception of the familiar. The term is credited to Viktor Shklovsky (1917) where he was referring to the comparison of poetic language to everyday language, and that the difference is due to the difficulty in understanding poetic language. ["This difference is the key to the creation of art and the prevention of 'over-automatisation' which causes an individual to 'function as though by formula']

Cultural Mapping: looks like a very useful exercise for any student that is a newcomer to any country. Also for Australians and others abroad, as being geographically isolated I think some Australians have a tendency to think in one direction (perhaps the English and Americans are similar) in that these groups tend to see others as different but not themselves as different. Even when visiting another country the 'others' are seen as 'different' even though the person visiting is actually the one that is different. Probably this may be true of the majority of Westerners, mind you this doesn't mean that people of Eastern, or African or European decent don't think the same way. We probably are more alike than different in our thinking. We probably all think 'they' are different to 'us'.


Had a look through the Text: shocking to read that the rate of population increase is close to 80 million a year!! Also quite meaningful and frustrating to read about the Tragedy of the Commons - which is happening all the time, everywhere. This is something that often frustrates me, and others I am sure - but I am constantly asking the question: why don't people take responsibility on an individual level? Mind you I can see a few areas where I have perhaps lost a bit of interest because it has become trendy, for example: recycling, my parents and I always recycled, fixed things instead of buying new items, were careful (to some degree) with water usage eg never ran the tap when brushing teeth etc etc however I find the recycling campaign lacking real meaning. Everyone puts their bins out - so? But are they really recycling or just doing their little bit and that's that. Do they then go out and have a picnic or b-b-que and leave their papers, and empty cans blowing in the wind, just because there isn't a bin, or it's too far to walk to find one? I still think the mentality is too much on the individual and not on the individual's impact on others. The thing is, if we thought about others just a bit and they thought about others just a bit etc etc then eventually some of all of our needs would be met. We don't need to get totally paranoid about it, however if we all show consideration for the environment, for others, for animals, for wildlife etc then the line becomes a circle and the circle comes round to meet each individual in a more pleasant way.


  • nature's imprint on consciousness: the large use of graphics using animals and natural scenery in children's literature and by adults' use of these same themes in pictures hung on walls etc. The psychological effects these pictures bring.
  • green presciptions: use in promoting health, in prevention and treatment regimes: this is a wonderful thing each person can do for themselves, what this can do is not only restore one's balance but also provide a self-discipline where you are in control of looking after yourself, and altering your own behavior, cognitive ability and environment even if only for a short while.

Chapter 11: E-reserve: main reading