User:Jane D

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Crystal Clear app kfm home.png This user is a participant in the Social psychology unit.
Writer1.gif This page is an e-portfolio. Also see other participants' pages.

Introduction to my E-portfolio[edit]

This user page is for my 3rd year social psychology course. I’m not much of an internet user so I hope it doesn’t end up set out too badly. The instructions for what I’m meant to be writing here seem pretty open ended, so I’m just going to do what I hope is right. I’m not going to use this as simply a regurgitation of knowledge because that is what is needed for the exam, instead I’m doing to use this assessment item to explore my thoughts, ideas, opinions and questions in relation to the content of this unit.

Week 1[edit]

Introduction to Social Psychology[edit]

This week was a basic introduction to what exactly is social psychology. Social psychology can be defined as thoughts, feelings and behaviours which are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. The course sounds quite interesting, though I am a little unsure of how I will go about organising a web page.

During the lecture James spoke about how social context has a dramatic influence on people’s behaviour. My thoughts immediately turned to World Youth Day and its interesting effects on people’s behaviour. I was in Sydney with my mum for the Thursday and Friday of that week. Walking through Hyde Park on the Friday I witnessed nuns and friars in traditional clothing playing hacky sack with children, people reading from the bible to groups of believers, people dancing around crosses singing hymns, all of which created and amazingly peaceful vibe. Though it got me thinking, would these young people who were all so happy to celebrate their faith be willing to do so without the amount of other young people who were doing the same thing? Would just one person on an ordinary weekday stand in the middle of the city preaching from the bible? I highly doubt it, mainly due to fear of rejection by others. For me, this was an obvious example of how the social context of an environment can cause a person to behave in a very different manner to how they would normally behave.

However, in spite of what I just wrote… I believe that it is the person not the situation that determines how a person will behave in the majority of situations. Sure there are some exceptions like the one mentioned above, but I believe that a good person will 99% of the time, in any situation, act in a good/right manner. However, the course has just started and maybe by the end of it I will have changed my mind.

Week 2[edit]

The Social Self[edit]

One’s self consists of a collection of cognitively-held beliefs which a person possesses about themselves. The self comprises of 3 main parts.

  • Self knowledge
  • Interpersonal Self
  • Agent Self

The self is made up of many components including attitudes, emotions, social identity, memories, beliefs, possessions, images and social roles. A large amount of one’s self and behaviour is socially influenced.

What are you prepared to defend?[edit]

In this weeks lecture one of the slides displayed the question what are you prepared to defend? This started me thinking. What am I prepared to defend? My family and friends of course, along with an elderly lady being picked on by a group of children, but would I be prepared to defend my ‘self’? In all honesty I half came to the conclusion no. For example, I am comfortable with my appearance, yet if someone was to call me fat it would affect me. I believe that I am an open and friendly person yet if someone was to say that I was rude, I would not defend myself. On the other hand however, I am also quite religious and if someone were to insult my religious beliefs I would have no hesitation in defending them. I guess my self is like most, an average self esteem that relies heavily on the opinion of others, mixed with a strong set of beliefs. I would agree with the idea that the self is largely a function of the person’s environment. I would think that a persons impression of themselves come mostly from how they believe other people view them.

Week 3[edit]

Social Thinking[edit]

Social thinking or social cognition, deals with the way people form judgements about other people and unusual situations. There are aspects of the mind which help cognition become a quick process, such as schemas, priming and framing. Evidence has shown that when a person’s capacity for thinking is already preoccupied they take even more shortcuts to reduce further need for thought. This is known as a cognitive miser. Humans have the tendency to attribute reasons as to why people behave the way they do. Until stated in the lecture that people generally assume that people choose to behave the way they do, I had never thought that there could be any other reason. In my mind I was thinking of course people decide how to act. I had never really thought that the situation or my own attributions were influencing the actions or perceived actions of others. I was horrified to see that people would, when a business man and a Mexican were together and the business man pulled a knife that people could report that it was the Mexican who had pulled the knife. Though the self serving bias talked about makes perfect sense. Understandably people want to feel as though they are a good person, and so when a positive thing happens they are more likely to feel that it was a result of something internal rather then something external.

Attitudes, Influence and Persuasion[edit]

I was surprised to find out that people start to like things simply because they are exposed to them. I had thought that people would maybe become more used to something, or accept the presence of something, but to actually come to like something for no other reason then the fact that it is around you seems quite far fetched to me.

Social learning is that people are more likely to imitate behaviours if they have seen other people rewarded for them. Social influence is when people make an effort to change the attitudes, behaviours or beliefs or others. People tend to go with the crowd in an attempt to be liked and fit in, people are scared to deviate from a group of people. There are many techniques for influencing someone including:

  • Foot-in-door
  • Low-ball
  • Bait-and-switch
  • Labelling
  • Door-in-face

Week 4[edit]


Aggression is a behaviour that is designed to hurt another person or people. There are several types of aggression including





Aggression is not always a bad thing, though the word does imply, to me at least, a negative connotation. Aggression can be useful however. Aggression has a protective function, it can be used to help to defend the young, it helps to space out resources for a species and it is used to create a pecking order within the animal world. Aggression can stem from internal causes or from environmental and external causes. This week during the lecture this week the documentary Ghosts of Rwanda was shown. I decided not to go because when I watch things which are disturbing I tend to think and dream about them for a long time and it really plays on my mind.

Week 5[edit]


This entry will most probably come across as a bit of a rant, but I’m going to write my opinions and experiences of prejudice.

Growing up I attended a public primary school, though for high school I attended a catholic college. The only reason for my move was because my best friends from primary school were going there. Because of going to a catholic high school I experienced prejudices from many people I would meet outside of school, because they would instantly thinking I was a rich, snobby catholic. An incorrect prejudice.

My best friend from high school was Lebanese and there were many times when teachers and other students would judge her because of that. In turn, many Lebanese people would then begin to judge Australians, especially because they were being judge themselves.

Prejudice in my experience produces only more prejudice. People do not like being judged and the more a person is unfairly judged, without any logical cause the more that person is prone to hate. An eye for an eye only leads to blindness, and I believe that prejudice ignites further prejudice and all that leads to is more hate in the world.

Week 7[edit]


A group can be defined as two or more people doing something together. Groups come in a wide variety of types, sporting, work groups, etc. Groups, when working effectively are more efficient then what people working individually would be. Groups tend to share a common identity, similar values and tend to be working towards the same goal. A group will perform better, especially in the work force if members of the group feel that they are still retaining some of their individuality as well as feeling that they can be held responsible for their actions. Members of a group should bond to make the group feel more comfortable and to create a sense of unity among the team.

Organisational psychology is a field which concentrates on the human aspect of organisations. Organisational psychologists can provide consults who by using team learning and team building can improve the efficiency of a group.

Essay Thoughts[edit]

The topic I chose (admittedly it was not my 1st preference) for my essay was about teamwork. What teamwork is and how social psychology can be used to help make teams more effective. At first I thought it would be easy, there are teams everywhere right? But then I got to thinking about a few issues relating to teams that I did not have the chance to go into in my essay. A team can be defined as a group of two or more people who are doing something together, yet as the textbook states, on page 480, teams can be defined in many different ways. The text book looks at the idea of a country being a group but continues on to say that it is very big, diverse and how many people don’t know each other. It then states that people waiting in a line for a football match, to but tickets, may be more like a team given their common goal.

However it got me thinking that those people in a line could actually be less like a team then classifying a whole country as a team. Because, yes the people in the line all want to buy tickets to the game, however some my be buying it for a friend, others may have a real interest in the games, others may have been dragged there unenthusiastically by their partners and others still may just be coming for the cheerlearders. On the other hand, people living in a country, Australia for example, have many things which unite them. For example, all use the same money, speak the same language, live with the same anthem, flag and under the queen. They are subject to the exact same laws as everybody else and whilst they may not know each other, they can still, especially outside of Australia, quite easily identify each other as belonging to the same group. The same could not be said for the people in the football line. Teams in my opinion should offer a sense of belonging to the members of the team. People waiting in a line would (in my opinion) feel no sense of belonging to one another where as people living in the same country share a sense of patriotism with each other.

Summary of the unit[edit]

Overall I found this course to be a very interesting one. The topics that we studied were incredibly easy to apply to real life situations. I found myself noticing things in the actions of others that I would normally not. For example, I noticed the way that people try to manipulate me in to doing things that they want. I also noticed myself using these approaches on others, I work in the retail industry and the Door in face technique is particularly useful. I never ended up working out how to put pictures on a website, but aside from that I think the course went well. I still stick to my original belief that it is the person not the situation, in a majority of the cases, the influences the way a person behaves.