- 1 Unit Topics
- 2 Tutorial Topics
- 3 References
Social Psychology – How the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. There are three dimensions of social psychology that examine feelings, behaviours and cognitive processors. These dimensions are considered to be a fundamental part of social psychology and are known as the ABC Triad (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008).
- A = Affect - the way in which individuals feel about themselves, others and personal issues.
- B = Behaviour - the prosocial and anti-social behaviours and actions that individuals engage in.
- C = Cognition - Thoughts and beliefs that individuals have.
By examining the ABC Triad and other social psychology theories like it, I would like to gain a better understanding of why humans behave the way they do. Several questions I would like to address during this semester in order to better understand the process of human behaviour include:
- Why is the need for affiliation so important?
- Do opposites really attract?
- Why is an individual’s behaviour influenced by the presence of others?
- Is honesty really the best policy?
- How effective was charivari as a punishment in medieval Europe?
I went online and took the CengageNow pre-test for chapter one: The Mission and the Method and chapter two: Culture and Nature. The personalised study program indicates that I need to focus on the following areas:
- 1.2 What do social psychologists do?
- 1.4 Why people study social psychology
- 1.6 How much of social psychology is true?
- 2.2 The individual and society
- 2.3 Facts of life
- 2.4 Important features of human social life
Three domains of the self:
- Self Knowledge – Information about the self
- Interpersonal Self – The image of the self that is presented to others.
- Agent Self – Enables the self to exert control when making decisions.
Who Makes the Self: The Individual or Society? This section of the chapter examines the concept of whether the self is defined more significantly by our personal thoughts and self beliefs or the sociocultural networks by which we associated ourselves with. In the reference to Ralph Turner’s article where it is discussed whether public actions or inner feelings define the self more truly, the terrified coward or heroic soldier example cannot be clearly defined as the self being one or the other. I believe that the self is capable of evolving, adapting and achieving required expectations. Therefore, although the self’s initial impulse was fear and the desire to run and hide, the influence of the self as institution allowed him to perform acts of heroism. In doing so, the self as impulse perception changed and enabled the self to overcome the fear associated with battle. Whilst researching my essay topic ‘How are social psychological principles applied in marketing, advertising and branding?’ I came across the concept of self presentation. This refers to any behaviour that seeks to convey an image or information about oneself to another individual. The self-presentation of a product or brand is an essential part of developing an effective advertising campaign. The product must visually appeal to consumers and leave a lasting impression. It is also important that advertisers and salesmen present themselves in a favourable manner to the consumer in order to establish grounds in which to employ several principles of persuasion, which are:
- Reciprocation: the obligation that individuals have, which requires them to give back the form of behaviour in which they have received (Brock & Green, 2005).
- Commitment/consistency: the internal and external pressures felt by individuals to behave consistently and uphold the terms of a commitment once a commitment has been made (Weyant, 1996).
- Liking: the willingness expressed by individuals to be more inclined to assist the needs and requests of friends rather than strangers (Jackson, Hunter, & Hodge, 1995; Kim & Na, 2007)
- Authority: an individual should be more willing to follow the suggestions of another individual who is viewed as an authority figure (Shuart, 2007).
- Scarcity: opportunities appear to hold more value when they are scarce or less available compared to when they are plentiful (Stock & Balachaner, 2005).
I took the CengageNow pre-tests for chapter three: The self and chapter four: Behaviour control, the self in action and the personalised study program indicates that I need to focus on the following areas:
- 3.1 What is the self?
- 3.2 Where self-knowledge comes from
- 3.3 Self and information processing
- 4.1 What you do, and what it means
- 4.2 Freedom and choice
- 4.3 Self-regulation
- 4.4 Irrationality and self destruction
Social Cognition – refers to the study of thinking by people, about people and social relationships. There are three main types of goals that influence how people think. Firstly, individuals want to find the right answer to a question in to determine why something happened. Secondly, individuals want to confirm a desired answer to a question, and thirdly, they want to reach a decision quickly. The concept of framing is discussed in this chapter and is another important strategy that is often used in marketing and advertising. Framing refers to whether an advertising message implies potential gains by being positively framed or whether potential losses could occur by negatively framing a product. For example, when consumers are confronted with prospect of spending $75 on an item worth $100 or saving $25 on an item worth $100, the positive framing of saving money is more appealing to consumers even though they would be spending $75 either way. Health clubs and gyms use positive framing tactics to promote the benefits of exercising in order to increase ones health whereas smoking campaigns use negative framing to promote the potential for developing smoking related illnesses and diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease. Cognitive dissonance theory is also addressed in this chapter and is another example of how persuasion techniques can be used in marketing and advertising to influence a consumer’s attitude and increase product purchase. The theory implies that when individuals experience inconsistency, a psychological discomfort will occur leading those individuals to rationalise their behaviour or change their attitudes. Individuals feel an internal desire to maintain a level of consistency and therefore if inconsistencies arise individuals will experience an unpleasant mental state. This concept is an effective principle used in marketing as once an individual makes a commitment to purchasing a product; they feel obligated to up hold their commitment in order to maintain internal consistency. This principle also reflects the concept of the self and self-presentation as individuals like to present others with a favourable image and breaking a commitment could alter one’s perception of that person. The personalised study plan for chapter five: Social cognition indicates that I need to focus on the following areas:
- 5.1 What is social cognition?
- 5.3 Heuristics: mental shortcuts
- 5.4 Errors and biases
- 5.5 Are people really idiots?
During the lecture this week we watched the documentary Ghosts of Rwanda. There were a lot of different reactions expressed towards this film during the tutorial sessions. Most individuals conveyed thoughts of disbelief and shock that the slaughtering of over 500,000 Tutsis by Hutu militia occurred with such little intervention from the United Nations. From the discussions that took place it was interesting to note that a lot of the tutorial members regardless of age had no real recollection of media reports from that period reporting that genocide was occurring. I personally feel that this is perhaps the reason I felt somewhat desensitized to the images and personal accounts that were expressed during the documentary as I too was unaware of what was happening in Rwanda, 1994. As I watched the documentary I found myself repeatedly asking why the genocide was not recognised by international countries. Was pluralistic ignorance to blame? Everyone was looking at one another for cues on how to act, three months later someone finally reacted. The concept of deindividuation was heavily present in the documentary as members of the rebel army slaughtered victims with a sense of anonymity. In a large group, this loss of individuality signals the increased likelihood that individuals will engage in antisocial behaviour. It appears that accountability is the single biggest factor in predicting aggression. When individual’s can be held accountable for their actions it is unlikely that they will deviate from societal norms. The readings for this week looked at aggression and antisocial behaviour. Aggression refers to any behaviour that is intended to harm another individual who is motivated to avoid the harm. Coming from a family where I have three siblings, I found it quite interesting to read that the sibling relationship is the most violent. Looking back on arguments and fights that I have had with my brother and two sisters I wonder what the underlying cause for the aggression was. Perhaps it was to establish a hierarchy or peaking order amongst the four of us or vying for the attention of our parents. I believe that a lot of displaced aggression and triggered displaced aggression has been the cause of my verbally aggressive behaviour towards my siblings as I’m sure a lot of theirs is too. In attempting to resolve a dispute, angry individuals may not only display aggression towards those whose behaviour caused the aggression but also to annoying or innocent bystanders. This form of aggression that is directed at individuals who are innocent targets is known as displaced aggression (kicking the dog effect). An individual may have the desire to attack one person (e.g. their boss) but ends up verbally attacking another (e.g. their partner). Triggered displaced aggression is another form of aggression and occurs for example, when an individual arrives home from work after having a heated argument with their boss about their poor work quality. Before leaving that morning they left behind instructions on how to make dinner and asked their partner to have it ready by 7pm. At 6:50 the individual walks through the door only to find that their partner had not yet started on dinner. This minor offence of not starting dinner causes the individual to start yelling and cause an argument. However, this over reaction to dinner would not have occurred had it not been for the previous argument early that morning. Unpleasant environments such as hotter climates, loud noises, overcrowding and chemical influences have also been associated with increased levels of violent and aggressive behaviour. However, these external causes of aggression will be discussed in a later entry as environmental influences are covered in week 13. The study plan for chapter nine: Aggression and anti social behaviour will focus on improving my knowledge of the following topics:
- 9.4 Interpersonal causes of aggression
- 9.5 External causes of aggression
- 9.6 Self and culture
The following is a list of key terms that were addressed in the lecture and associative examples that were evident in the documentary 'The Australian Eye'.
- Discrimination: Is unequal treatment of different people based on the groups or categories to which they belong. For example, individuals with blue eyes were ostracised and made to feel inferior.
- Ingroup Favouritism: Is preferential treatment of, or more favourable attitudes toward, people in one’s own group. For example, brown eyed people were allowed to sit on chairs, whereas blue eyed participants were made to sit on the floor. Jane Elliott continually praised the brown eyes for their behaviour and criticised the blue eyes for their bad attitudes.
- Prejudice: Is a negative feeling toward an individual based solely on his or her membership in a particular group. For example, brown eyed individuals started to refer to the blue eyed individuals as unintelligent, arrogant, rude and disrespectful because they had blue eyes.
- Salience: Is being obvious or standing out. For example, the blue eyed participants were made to stand out by wearing green collars around their necks.
- Social Categorisation: Is the process of sorting people into groups on the basis of characteristics they have in common. For example, each participant was placed into a category based on their eye colour.
- Stereotypes: Are beliefs that associate groups of people with certain traits. For example, Jane Elliott addressed the issue of whether or not individuals have previously felt discriminated against because they had been viewed by others as a specific stereotype.
Aggression: Key terms addressed in the documentary
- Antisocial Behaviour: Is behaviour that either damages interpersonal relationships or is culturally undesirable. For example, the attitudes and disobedient behaviour displayed by some of the blue eyed members was considered by Jane Elliott to be antisocial behaviour.
- Fight or flight syndrome: Is a response to stress that involves aggressing against others or running away. For example, this flight syndrome was evident when a blue eyed female revealed that when she became upset by Jane Elliott’s comments she just pretended like it wasn’t affecting her and tried to think about being elsewhere. This form of escape was deemed by Elliott as ‘white freedom’.
- Humiliation: Is a state of disgrace or loss of self-respect (or of respect from others). For example, the blue eyed participants reported feeling a sense of humiliation as they were scrutinised and manipulated into believing that they were the inferior group.
- Instrumental Aggression: Is cold premeditated, calculated harmful behaviour that is a means to some practical or material end. For example, Jane Elliott deliberately antagonised and bullied the members of the blue eyed group in order for them to experience discrimination and racial prejudice.
Prosocial: Keys terms addressed in the documentary
- Conformity: Is going along with the crowd. For example, at the beginning of the workshop an indigenous female does not want to participate by discriminating against the blue eyed participants but reluctantly conforms after Elliott convinces her too.
- Obedience: Is following orders from an authority figure. For example, each participant was instructed to follow the orders of Jane Elliott. Those who did not follow orders were asked ostracised for be unintelligent or a trouble maker and two males were asked to leave the workshop for not displaying obedience.
On page 419 of the textbook a table providing explanations as to why prejudice exists is outlined. I thought I would adapt this table and include it as part of my entry as I have found it incredible helpful when it comes to revision for the exam. I find tables and visual stimulation a more effective strategy to use when revising for an exam as I seem to be able to recall information better when it is laid out in a logical format. I also thought I would include it in case anyone else may be browsing my page and has not come across it in the textbook.
Explanation & Definition of Why Prejudice Exists
- Competition – Intergroup hostility and conflict can arise when competition over scarce resources occurs.
- Ignorance – Stereotypes are formed when individuals attempt to form ideas of a specific group in which they have limited knowledge and information about.
- Rationalisations for oppression – Powerful groups justify and rationalise prejudice against groups that they believe are inferior to them, in order to make maintain their status.
- Stereotypes as heuristics – By relying on group stereotypes, individuals are able to make mental shortcuts in order to simplify their complex life.
- Prejudice boosts self-esteem – individuals will often feel good about themselves if they consider their group to be superior to others.
In order to improve my knowledge on this topic, the study plan has created a plan that focuses on learning material based upon:
- 12.2 Why prejudice exists
- 12.4 Inner processes
- 12.5 Overcoming stereotypes, reducing prejudice
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Or, is out of sight out of mind a more appropriate saying when discussing personal attraction and relationships? Do birds of a feather flock together? Or, do opposites attract? Research indicates that birds of a feather are more inclined to flock together rather than opposite’s attracting. A key factor influencing initial attraction between two individuals involves the concept of ingratiation – what individuals actively do to make others like them. The main conclusions indicate that similarity is a high indicator of two individuals being drawn to one another. For example, if you identify yourself on a scale based on major life categories; it is likely that the individuals you consider to hold close, trusting relationships with, will also possess many of the qualities and characteristics that you do. In fact, the matching hypothesis also indicates that individuals tend to pair up with others who are equally attractive. This theory can be applied to both friendships and intimate relationships also. Therefore, it would be highly likely that your behaviour and mannerisms often reflect close individuals around you and visa versa. Furthermore, if you have suddenly looked across the room and realised that your partner could pass as your sibling, don’t be concerned as this is just part of the many fascinating concepts in which social psychology is based upon. Research also indicates that liking begets liking; therefore reciprocity is another factor that draws two people together. When an individual hears that another person likes them, a surge of affection is felt towards that person in return (a little shallow but nevertheless an effective way to make friends). During the readings I found an interesting section regarding jealousy and possessiveness. In medieval Europe, if an individual’s behaviour deviated away from societal norms than the community would often take action by staging a charivari. This would consist of the entire community rallying outside the offender’s home and would bang pots and other items together whilst yelling insulting remarks and obscenities directed at the offender. What I found to be most interesting about charivari was that in the case of an adulterous woman, instead of the woman or her lover being humiliated by charivari’s, it was in fact her husband who would be criticised and punished for not being able to satisfy his wife’s needs or control her devious behaviour. I don’t think this strategy would be entirely effective in today’s society as most people tend to condemn the unfaithful spouse and empathise with the cheated individual. The readings further discussed a cultural perspective of jealously and potential partner infidelity. Based on this perspective, it is believed that jealously is a product of society and cultural expectations. In some cultures extramarital sex is considers acceptable whereas in other cultures women can be stoned to death for such deviant acts. Extensive research indicates that at the root of all human nature, sexual possessiveness affects and influences us all.
The CengageNow study plan for chapter ten: Attraction and Exclusion and chapter eleven: Close relationships: passion, intimacy and sexuality indicate that I need to improve my knowledge in the following areas:
- 10.2 Attraction: who likes whom?
- 11.2 Different types of relationships
- 11.3 Maintaining relationships
For this week’s entry I would like to readdress the discussion topic I had with tutorial members during week two regarding leadership, power and factors that influence group followings. Firstly we need to establish what a group is. A group is a collection of people that interact with one another, share a common identity and accept rights and responsibilities within that group. It would appear that the main characteristics associated with good leadership are modesty, humbleness and persistence. Decisiveness, integrity and honesty are also identifiable characteristics of a good leader. When an individual is placed in a position of leadership, a sense of power is also established. So how does power affect leaders and what are the effects of power on a crowd of followers? Firstly, leaders are capable of either using or abusing the power in which they have. It would appear that when power is used in a corruptive and vicious manner, leaders often underestimate the quality and worth of employee’s in more subordinate positions. Corrupt leaders are also more likely to take personal credit for accomplishments achieved by the team. However, not all power is abused and it is often used as a technique to motivate individuals to achieve maximum performance through verbal, positive encouragement, rewards and by building better relationships within the office environment. This open interaction within the work place is the most effective way in producing a wide range of ideas and concepts between colleagues. However, in order to avoid the potential for conflict and differing opinions, individuals are highly likely to adopt the self-censorship concept where individuals will choose not to express their concerns or other information if it goes against the group’s views and decisions. This creates an illusion of consensus where everyone agrees to a decision despite what they really think of the product.
After undertaking the pretest for chapter 14: Groups, I need to improve in areas regarding:
- 14.3 Group action
- 14.5 Power and leadership
This week’s reading introduced the topic of the ‘beautiful victim’. Literature indicates that people are more inclined to help and to receive help according to physical appearance and attractiveness. The more highly attractive a person is considered, increases the likelihood of that person receiving assistance when required. The concept of the ‘beautiful victim’ captured my attention quite significantly as I was drawn back to a conversation I had with a friend, about a situation she recently encountered involving the theory of the ‘beautiful victim’. Whilst walking through civic on a lunch break my friend was approached by a dishevelled looking male and asked if she could give him $10 Pique Technique for a taxi as he needed to get to the hospital. After politely informing the male that she had no cash in her wallet, he continued to pursue the situation and asked if she could withdraw money from an ATM that was close by. After hearing this she told the male that she felt uncomfortable in doing so and proceeded to walk off. During my discussion with her, I asked whether she had considered the male to be attractive. She jokingly replied saying that he wasn’t however if he had been, not only would she have given him $10 from her purse she also would have given him her number. I find this story fascinating as it is a prime example of the ‘beautiful victim’ concept. My friend (without appearing too desperate) would have been more than willing to assist the male had he resembled the likes of Brad Pitt.
The lecture this week examined the concepts of obedience, conformity and the bystander effect. I find the theory of the bystander effect to be quite fascinating. Since enrolling in psychology and learning about this concept I have felt the need to offer assistance to individuals to whom I believe may need assistance or display signs of wanting help. As a society I find it incredible that as individuals we are often blinded by pluralistic ignorance and only interpret an emergency as such when other individuals react accordingly. Earlier this week I observed pluralistic ignorance displayed by customers in a shopping centre. When customers and staff were advised to evacuate the building, people continued about their business browsing the store and admiring the clothes. It was not until they were asked to leave the store and witnessed other shoppers heading towards the exits that others became concerned about the evacuation sirens echoing throughout the centre. According to the CengageNow study plan for chapter eight: Prosocial behaviour. Doing what's best for others, I should revise the following topics:
- 8.2 Your fair share
- 8.3 Cooperation, forgiveness, obedience and conformity
- 8.4 Why do people help others?
- 8.5 Who helps whom?
- 8.6 Bystander helping in emergencies
How is our relationship and behaviour affected by built and natural environments? Unpleasant environments such as over crowding, hotter climates, loud noises, and pollution have been reported to affect one’s mental and physical health through illness and increased levels of aggression, frustration and deviant behaviour. In order to control unwanted arousal, behavioural freedom and reduce stress, individuals attempt to maintain a certain amount of personal space between themselves and others. However, with high population density, individuals can often feel over crowded when they experience sensory overload. This occurs when the amount of information to be processed exceeds the individual’s capability to sort relevant data from irrelevant. When an individual feels as though their personal space is being entered they will attempt to rectify this by adapting to this change in crowd density. For example when an individual is at a concert chances are they will be standing relatively close to complete strangers and must therefore compromise by having a smaller personal space. The hotter the climate the more likely individuals are going to display acts of aggression. Loud noises such as big city traffic and pollution are other unpleasant environmental factors to cause individuals displeasure and discomfort. I personally would have really enjoyed examining this topic in greater detail for more than just one week as I think it is a major issue in today’s society. Global warming and the effects on the environment are substantial and individuals need to become more educated about what they can do in order to play their part by assisting in environmental preservation. Education and awareness is a key factor in getting people to save the environment and this could be done by using social psychology programs to target behaviour.
Even after reading the section in the textbook regarding environmental psychology I feel I still know relatively little about this topic. Therefore, in revision for the exam I intend to focus on the major key points addressed in the textbook and also on e-reserve as CengageNow does not have an environmental section in which to study.
“If the only road to social acceptance requires putting your head into a toilet, many people will do it” (Baumeister, & Bushman, 2008; pg. 329).
I thought the above statement was a perfect way to start off my tutorial entries as each semester students are required to participate in ice breaker activities and present small personal facts about themselves to the other members of the tutorial. Everyone tries to present a favourable image of themself to other members of the tutorial whilst avoiding revealing any information that could be considered bizarre or deviating away from social norms. The need for affiliation among humans is strong and everyone would like to feel socially accepted. I often wonder the lengths some people would go in order to gain acceptance from others. Is putting your head in the toilet to achieve basic social interaction to much to ask?
My personal understanding and definition: Social Psychology: The study of human behaviour and the cultural and environmental factors that influence individual behaviour. Although I am aware of the basic concepts, theories and important figureheads, my current understanding and knowledge of social psychology is still quite limited as it is such a broad topic to study. On completion of this unit I would like to have further developed my knowledge in such areas regarding the psychological theories behind human behaviour and social interaction, the need for affiliation, prosocial behaviour and theories of attraction. The essay topics and brainstorming ideas that my group discussed during the tutorial included the ‘tween’ epidemic, where fashion magazines and advertising campaigns are being directed towards preadolescent girls influencing them to dress and behave in a more provocative and grown up manner. Secondly, we discussed the theories of attraction and whether people are more trusting and accepting towards others depending on physical appearance. Finally, we discussed personalities and the idea of leadership. We expressed opinions regarding what qualities we thought would make a good leader and factors that influence the support of followers.
Essay topic: How are social psychological principles applied in marketing, advertising and branding?
Successful communication will depend on the sender’s ability to accurately identify and communicate the cognitive abilities and interests of their audience (Nohre, MacKinnon, Stacy & Pentz, 1999).
The minefield game was an exercise in communication skill and trust. Members of the tutorial were split into pairs and partnered with a peer whom they didn’t really know. In this exercise one person (with their eyes closed) was navigated from one end of the room to the other by listening to their partners verbal instructions. The goal of this activity was to avoid stepping on or bumping into objects that had been littered around the room. This was successfully achieved if team members were able to communicate in an effective manner that enabled the blind partner to move around the room and avoid the objects. In an exercise that is based on communication and trust, I started to think about the different partnerships that formed between members of the tutorial. It would appear that the teams that got safely from one side of the room to the other were better at communicating and listening to instructions. So, was this a team effort where both individuals in the partnership had to be good communicators or could the partnerships afford to have one individual whose great communications skills compensated for the poor communication skills of their partner? In order to successfully communicate with another individual, the pair must overcome noise barriers to understand and comprehend the sender’s intended message. This concept can be further outlined by the Shannon-Weaver Model where in order to achieve successful communication the receiver must encode the sender’s message, decipher the intended message and transmit back to the sender a summary description of the original message. During the tutorial we also discussed the various levels and channels in which people can communicate with others. Firstly, we looked at shallow interactions that often take place between individuals who have just met or who hardly know each other. Shallow communication will often involve polite greetings, small talk such as the weather and recent news stories and the exchange of basic personal information such as age, occupation and interests. As communication progresses to the deeper levels, individuals will disclose personal information such as thoughts, beliefs and emotions. This level of disclosure is usually experienced between family members, partners and individuals who share a close, trusting relationship.
- Shallow → Greetings → Small Talk → Information/Facts → Self Disclosure → Thoughts → Emotions/Feelings → Deep
In order to receive and interpret an intended message, individuals rely heavily on another person’s channels of communication. In fact 93% of communication is non-verbal and individuals are often prompted by another’s body language or tone of voice. It is for this reason that so much of an intended message is lost through emails and text messages as it is harder to convey sarcasm or intense emotions through written communication. The following channels of communication were discussed during the tutorial.
Communication Channels - Verbal (7%)Non-Verbal (93%)
- Body Language
- Tone of Voice
I found this to be quite an interesting tutorial as communication plays a huge role in the way in individuals interact and socialize with others. This semester I enrolled in an education unit ‘Students with Severe Disabilities’. In this unit we are constantly discussing ways in which students with severe and profound disabilities are able to communicate with others as their language skills and body movements are quite limited. Basic eye contact or a slight hand movement may be the only way in which a student can communicate their preferences and dislikes. Therefore it is important for the receiver to understand that way in which students are communicating. Barber (2007) states that having understandable social transactions are a profoundly important aspect to an individual’s quality of life. A Credo for Support is an enlightening article written from the view point of a person with a disability communicating their desire to be respected and accepted as contributing member of society.
During this tutorial we watched the controversial documentary “The Australian Eye”. This documentary is one of many anti-discrimination and prejudice awareness workshops conducted by Jane Elliot. The American educator first conducted the ‘Blue eyed/Brown eyed’ experiment on her third grade class, in order to establish anti-discrimination awareness among the children of a predominantly all white American community in April, 1968. Two years later, the “Eye of the Storm” documentary featured a class of third grade students participating in Jane Elliott’s eye colour exercise. This is an amazing documentary to watch as the children begin to judge and discriminate against each other on the basis of their eye colour. Children begin to be teased, ostracised and alienated on the playground and begin to perform poorly in the classroom all because they have been told that having a certain eye colour makes them an inferior person. I was fortunate enough to watch this documentary several years ago and found it to be an insightful and meaningful way to approach a topic that is still heavily present in today’s society. After watching the Eye of the Storm and seeing the effect it had on the children, then and as adults, I was interested in watching The Australian Eye to see how effective Jane Elliott’s reconciliation workshop would be.
As this was a reconciliation workshop, instead of the groups being split by just the arbitrary factor of eye colour, the groups were mainly segregated (unintentionally) into race as well. This was a result of all Indigenous participants having brown eyes with the non Indigenous participants having blue eyes (with the exception of several non-Indigenous females who were placed in the brown eyed group). I actually found this documentary to be less effective in terms of bringing about anti discrimination awareness than any other of Jane Elliott’s workshops I have previously seen. A lot of personal stories were shared and Australian history of the stolen generation was discussed and I felt that these discussions overshadowed the workshop itself. I found it especially frustrating to watch when an ethnic male in the blue eyed group began to tell his personal story of be ostracised and bullied at school because of his cultural background. Once he had finished sharing his experience of being bullied at school, he was ridiculed by members of the brown eyed group who dismissed his story because they felt he had not experienced the same level of discrimination which they have. I thought this was a very shallow and immature outlook for individuals to have. Where instead of listening and providing empathy towards this mans experience because he too had been discriminated against, members of the brown eyed group felt it necessary to measure and compare his experience of discrimination to their own. Believing that this male had not suffered the same level of harassment, brown eyed members began to chuckle and disregard his comments. How on earth is a workshop promoting anti-discrimination and prejudice awareness suppose to achieve a successful outcome if participants aren’t even willing to accept that they are not the only individuals that have experienced discrimination in their lifetime?
During this tutorial we explored the cultural history behind one’s name, one’s cultural identity, groups in which we belong and cultural maps and situations which we abide by. The history behind one’s name can provide great detail about that individual. First names, surnames, and affectionate nicknames are all titles which define a specific part of who we are. As tutorial members introduced each other, the history of one’s name became quite fascinating as we listened to stories about families migrating to Australia, decisions to keep one’s surname after marriage and deciding on an appropriate baby’s name. The one difficulty that most people (including myself) seem to encounter with their surname is that it is often spelt incorrectly by others. The cultural identity of individuals within the tutorial included: student culture, drinking culture, working culture, family culture, campus resident culture, driving culture, and a sporting culture. The concept of a culture shock was also discussed and examples were provided as to when individuals felt to have experienced culture shock. A personal experience that I felt to be quite significant was when I progressed from high school to college. That was a major culture shock for me regarding the amount of ‘freedom’ which students had. If you didn’t have a class, it was possible for you to arrive later or leave earlier, and also during lunch periods students were allowed to leave the school premises. This social script was completely new to me as the previous twelve years of schooling required me to attend from 9am till 3pm everyday. The interaction between students and teachers was also quite different as teachers were addressed by their first names and spoke to students as young adults rather than as children. The transition into this culture did not take long as it was a welcomed change and also a transitional phase into adulthood. Another example of culture shock was experienced when I had a knee reconstruction and was in a leg brace and on crutches for two months. Being apart of a culture where you have a visually recognisable disability apparently gives others the immediate right to give you a condescending smile and a look of sympathy. I felt somewhat of an outsider. The major culture shock for me whilst having the leg brace and crutches was realising the amount of steps I had to struggle up and down just to get to classes and up to the front door of my house. Coordinating the crutches and my feet so I didn’t trip up that stairs was a huge challenge as my leg brace did not allow me to bend my knee which made moving around quite difficult. Also, individuals are either extremely arrogant or oblivious to individuals hobbling around on crutches and display antisocial behaviour by not moving out of the way in order to make the process of moving from one destination to another easier for those with a (temporary) disability.
“Many respondents in my own research program report that life feels out of control to them – almost as if they are on a runaway train speeding towards an unknown destination. They are too frightened to jump off because they know they will be left behind, so they hang on but have no real sense of where they are going” (Mackay, 2005).
I had intended on providing an in depth discussion on Hugh MacKay’s view of Australian zeitgeist. However, instead of regurgitating his comments and overall beliefs, I decided to focus on the above paragraph that I found to be the most personally significant. There have been many times when I have felt in a similar state of mind to that of Hugh MacKay’s many research respondents, where life has felt completely out of control. When I graduated from college four years ago I had no real sense of the direction in which I wanted to go or what I objectives I wanted to pursue. That was one of the key reasons of why I enrolled in university, as I thought if I kept studying for another three years I would have a better understanding of what other avenues I would like to follow. After taking a year off from studying between college and university I was still in the state of mind that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. In my first year at uni, I spent nearly the entire first semester incredibly unmotivated and uninspired to be studying again. Three years down the track and in my final semester I can’t believe how quickly time has past and I feel I’m reaching the same predicament that I faced when I left college. Once again I feel like I’m on a runaway train with no real direction or understanding of my destination. I have contemplated enrolling in a marketing or business degree for 2009 but feel that once again I would just be covering up my uncertainties with a Band-Aid that will once again be ripped off in another two years.
Hugh MacKay addresses the fact that Australian culture has become selfish and the ‘me’ generation is coming into play. I was shocked by the statistics of the divorce rates and I started to rethink about the concept of the self. Chapter 3 addresses the fact that wedding ceremonies and the religious significance of the union between two individuals are secondary factors when a culture places greater emphasis on the self as impulse. The concept of the self comes into account when individuals separate or divorce. When one or both partners feel that staying in the union would compromise being true to themselves, the union will often end despite the commitment and religious vows given to one another. I think the comment by Baumeister and Bushman (2008; pg. 73) sums up this concept well by stating that a “marriage is only as good as the current emotional state of the partners”. Therefore, once two individuals fall out of love with one another or feel that greater happiness can be found elsewhere, they will not remain in a union in which they are unhappy.
In the final tutorial we discussed and had clarified any questions regarding assessment pieces and marking criteria. During the discussion of the e-portfolio, the concept of social comparison (examining the difference between oneself and another person) was argued as many of the tutorial members had mixed feelings towards this form of assessment. The main point of discussion was that fact that our e-portfolio was able to be viewed and subsequently critiqued by our peers. The main concerns presented by the tutorial members were in reference to the length and quality of the assessment piece. Some individuals have entries that detail in great lengths the weekly lectures, readings and fortnightly tutorials, whilst other individuals have briefly touched on these areas but focus mainly on subtopics of personal interest that have been briefly outlined in the book or lectures but require further research and analysis. The weekly log book sessions do feel like a slight invasion of privacy as Wiki is able to display the entire history of an individual’s work. I feel it triggers a sense of insecurity and self doubt in one’s writing ability as every spelling mistake, thought process and idea has the potential to be publicly viewed. This may be the possible reason behind why I have waited until the final week of the semester to finally start posting my weekly entries. Finally I would like to comment on my opinion of the unit and whether my understanding of social psychology and the subcategories of this topic have changed. In tutorial one I stated that on completion of this unit I would like to have developed my knowledge in areas such as social interaction, the need for affiliation, prosocial behaviour and theories of attraction. I feel that during this semester I have been able to further develop my understanding and knowledge in these areas. However, I still feel that I have only briefly been able to touch on these topics as the research and theories regarding human behaviour and social interaction are incredibly vast and far too in-depth to be covered in one semester.
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