- 1 G'day
- 2 History of Social Psychology-Early Theorists
- 3 The Psyche, Nature and Culture
- 4 The Self and The Social Self
- 5 Communication Levels
- 6 Communication Channels
- 7 Context Effects on Communication
- 8 Aggression-Rwandan Civil War
- 9 World Cup 2006
- 10 The Australian Eye
- 11 Culture Shock
- 12 Need to belong
- 13 Attraction to others
- 14 Rejection
- 15 Love
- 16 Sternberg’s Triangular Model of Love
- 17 Ending relationships
- 18 Groups
- 19 Prosocial Behaviour
- 20 Hugh Mackay: Australia’s Foremost Social Psychologist
This is the Wikiversity page of University of Canberra student Tim Malysiak. Created for the Social Psychology unit I'm undertaking, there will be roughly weekly postings outlining the work I complete and personal opinions on theories encountered
A few weeks worth of stuff people are welcome to read and comment on.
History of Social Psychology-Early Theorists
- While examining racing times of cyclists, he found that those competing against other cyclist performed better than people who competed against the clock.
- The presence of others enhanced task performance
• Conducted an experiment whereby men were asked to pull on a rope on individually, and do the same as part of a group.
• Found as group size increased, effort exerted by each individual decreased.
The decrease in exertion by the participants is an explicable curiosity. After all, in Triplett’s experiments the cyclist when part of a group demonstrated an increase in performance. The cyclists were competing against each other creating “nervous energy” enhancing performance. However, the participants in Ringelmann’s work were working simultaneously on a single task. The decrease in effort may be due to a belief amongst participants that less effort is required to achieve a goal with more people involved. Whether this belief is true, it can explain the reduction in exerted effort.
Other early social psychology theorists include Gordon Allport and Kurt Lewin. Allport believed understanding attitudes was crucial to exploring social psychology. Attitudes dominated research for decades. Lewin believed behaviour was a function of person and situation and that information about is required before behaviour can be understood. The Dimensions of Social Psychological Research
Research in social psychology concentrates on the effects of others on our thoughts, feelings and emotions. These three dimensions are known as the ABC Triad:
A. Affect: how people feel about themselves, others, and various issues.
B. Behaviour: all the various behaviours individuals engage in.
C. Cognition: what people think about themselves, others, and various issues in the social world.
The Psyche, Nature and Culture
• A broader term for the mind
• Emotions, desires, perceptions and all other psychological processes.
• People are born in a certain way
• Genes, hormones and brain processes will dictate actions as the individual grows
• Advocates of nature in psychology use evolutionary theory to understand behaviour patterns
• Focuses on what people learn from their parents, society and personal experience
• Refers to common characteristics of a large group of people
The Human Brain
• Evolved to adapt to culture
• Language greatly improves brain’s powers.
• The human mind is a duplex mind as it contains a conscious and automatic system
I’m of the belief that nature and culture interact. Although, on the available evidence, nature comes first and as we grow into our culture and society our ABC Triad is further shaped.
The Self and The Social Self
It seems the self can be broken down into three parts:
• Self-knowledge (self-concept): this aspect revolves around self-awareness and self-esteem. The self-concept includes the knowledge and beliefs we have about ourselves. Social roles, including group membership, are also a part of self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the way we would respond to people enquiring about who we are.
• Interpersonal (public) self: the image we attempt to convey to others. It is the aspect of self that works toward social acceptance. The things we do to impress employers, first dates, people at social events etc. It is important to note that the public self may not be a fully accurate representation of us as a whole.
• Agent (executive function) self: decision making and individual thought processes. The self-control aspect of the self as a whole.
An interesting topic discusses the possible existence a “true” self and a “real” self. According to those who believe it, the true self is an entity representing the way we feel, though it may not be expressed publicly. This entity has been given the title “self as impulse”. However, the public self we display in order to perhaps conform to the social situation we find ourselves in is defined as the “self as institution”. I think it is possible that the “true” and “real” self exist, though not as everlasting entities. I believe it would be more accurate to say that people learn over time when to act according to their “true” self, and when to publicly act differently in order to avoid negative consequences. This discussion leads then to the question:
• Do people act differently when interacting with one group than they would when interacting with another group?
According to the information highlighted it would seem that perhaps people do. However, an individual may begin to act one way with a group until they have a better understanding of the people in the group. When becoming a member of a new group, an individual may take time to understand which characteristics of them fit best. Once this has been achieved, the individual becomes more comfortable in such a group and a more active member. This can lead to a possible conclusion that the social self is entirely a function of the environment. Indeed, self-esteem is one aspect that could be argued is entirely dependent on the environment if it is accepted that people their self-worth in relation to they way they compare themselves to others.
However, this would depend on the evaluations people give themselves. For example, one university student (A) may simply wish to pass their courses in order to obtain a degree, though another student (B) may wish to gain distinctions while completing their degree because they believe that is what they need to be successful. Student A may find it easier to attain their goal and have a higher self-esteem as a result. Student B may find it more difficult to achieve their goal, which, if not reached, will lead to a more negative self-evaluation and consequent lower self-esteem. This example demonstrates that self-esteem may not be an entire function of the environment and may also depend on the individual’s self-concept.
The mere fact individual’s care about self-esteem reflects the society we live in. The level of an individual’s self-esteem seems to have a relationship with their perceived level of social acceptance. An increase in social acceptance elevates self-esteem.
Furthermore, a consistent desire for social acceptance to maintain self-esteem can have an inverse effect on individual motivation for achievement. Intrinsic motivation can diminish if extrinsic motivation for social acceptance is the dominating reason for participating and achieving in activities.
How do all the “Self” aspects interact?
There are so many aspects to the self that it can be confusing to understand how they actually interact. To discuss this, each possible aspect needs to be defined.
• Self-esteem: feelings of self-worth often based on social comparisons
• Self-presentation: behaviours used to convey desired image to others for social acceptance and identity.
• Self-concept: cognitive representations of one’s self, including sub-concepts like physical self-concept, academic self-concept, and social self-concept.
• Self-efficacy: individual’s belief of their capacity to succeed at any given task.
• Self-complexity: people generally see themselves as being more complex and others as less complex.
• Self-awareness: attention directed at the self often involving evaluative comparisons. Improves behaviour and makes individual more socially desirable.
Indeed, all these aspects have an influence on the self as a whole. Though their interaction with each other offers interesting scenarios.
For example, does the amount of self-awareness an individual maintains affect their perceived self-complexity? Meaning, it may be possible that people would perceive themselves as being less complex if they were less self-aware. Another example, is self-presentation just a function of self-awareness? Evaluative comparisons resulting from self-awareness improves behaviour so as to enhance social acceptance and desired identity, the main function of self-presentation.
These examples demonstrate possible interactions some aspects of “self”. It does not seem definite one way or the other how they interact, only that there are possibilities. I welcome further ideas as to their interactions and what effects they have on the “self”.
There have been two levels of communication identified, namely shallow and deep. Below is an outline of each.
Shallow communication is the basic small talk of a conversation. Examples include greetings and questions/comments regarding the weather. As a conversation continues dialogue may be directed to exchanges regarding the recent news events where opinions may be shared.
A deep level of communication will include personal feelings/emotions that may only be shared in special circumstances. Herein lies an important issue when it comes to communication.
The level of communication a conversation may reach depends largely on a number of factors. One of the first and most important factors regarding a conversation between two people is the relationship between the individuals. A conversation between individuals who share a close relationship is more likely encounter a deeper level of communication. The sharing of emotions is usually reserved for people we have a close relationship with because we know that our views will be understood they way we wish. The people we share feelings/emotions with are more likely to understand our thought processes and the reasons we have our opinions.
Another factor that influences the level of communication is the environmental setting in which a conversation takes place. It is much more difficult to exchange feelings/emotions about a topic of conversation in settings where clear communication is not possible. An example of such a setting is social nightspots. The dynamics of these places limit people to only a shallow level of conversation because the setting does not allow for an extensive exchange of feelings regarding any sort of topic. However, two people conversing in a coffee shop are more likely to communicate on a deeper level because of the generally quieter setting and more conversation friendly environment found.
Communications channels can be considered the mediums we use to share our thoughts, feelings or emotions. Two basic mediums are used for this purpose, discussed below.
Verbal Communication Channel
Verbal communication involves the way we use our vocabulary to articulate our thoughts/feelings/emotions. Indeed, it could be argued lexicon and articulation are the two main variables in this channel. It would seem one is dependent on the other. Meaning that the ability for a person to articulate their thoughts depends largely on the size of their lexicon. Inversely, the way a person articulates their thoughts depends on their choice of words from the lexicon.
Non-verbal Communication Channel
The non-verbal communication channel appears to have several more variable attached to it. These can be loosely divided into two categories.
Delivery of the Message
This group includes the following variables:
• Tone of voice: the pitch of the voice adopted by the person communicating in order to give a stronger meaning to the thoughts or feelings
• Speed of voice: a person may talk with a varying speed depending on the topic of conversation, other individuals involved in the conversation, and the setting in which the conversation is taking place.
Behaviour Of Communicator
• Body position: whether or not the individual is directly facing the other individual involved in the conversation
• Facial expression: the emotion demonstrated on an individual’s face can influence their message
• Gestures: similar to facial expression, however gestures can also be used to engage others in the conversation and broaden the depth of the conversation. Included in gestures can be the amount of physical contact and the proximity of each individual to those around them involved in the conversation.
• Level of engagement: how “into” a conversation someone might be. Influences their depth of response and articulation throughout the conversation
Though these variables interact in different ways to convey a message, context also appears to play an important role in determining which behaviours are used.
Context Effects on Communication
The context of a conversation hugely influences the importance of each channel, and our subsequent choice of communication channel. Variables associated with Context in this case instance are:
• Audience: depending on the group of people we are communicating to, we may need to vary the amount of verbal and non-verbal behaviour applied to express our message.
• Capacity to communicate: our ability to express ourselves using our lexicon and non-verbal behaviours.
• Physical environment: our proximity to others in the conversation determines our level of communication.
• Social environment: noisy environments may require us to use more non-verbal channels than we normally would because we may not be heard as clearly as we would in a quieter setting.
• Relationships: our relationship with others will influence the amount of physical contact we share during conversation.
The interactions between these variables will have a large influence on our communication channels. We may have an intimate relationship with an individual, but the conversation may be taking place via phone call. Consequently, verbal communication channels have a greater importance. However, if the physical environment allowed for more physical contact, actions may become more important.
The social environment also has implications on communication channels. Using the example of two people out having a couple of drinks, the social environment can dictate the communication channel one individual will use to offer the other a drink. In a quiet setting, it is more likely that an individual will simply ask, verbally, whether the other wants another drink. However, in a noisy nightclub setting, it may be that one is required to use non-verbal communication channels to offer the other a drink. The two individuals may have established a communication system that has proven successful through basic hand signals. This example demonstrates the importance of contextual variables in determining the most appropriate communication channel.
Aggression-Rwandan Civil War
The horror of the Rwandan Civil War highlighted the many concepts of aggression. Many forms of aggression have been operationalized in social psychology, even to the point where it has been argued that there are too many distinctions. To begin with though, it is important to understand each concept of aggression.
• Hostile aggression: impulsive, angry behaviour motivated by a desire to hurt someone.
• Instrumental aggression: pre-meditated, and very calculated behaviour motivated by extrinsic desires. Eg. Obtaining money, restoring an image or justice
The important distinction between each of these is the nature of the action. Hostile aggression involves an IMPULSIVE action, while instrumental aggression requires very CALCULATED behaviour. This distinction is important when discussing the Rwandan War.
• Passive aggression: producing harm to others by withholding a behaviour.
• Active aggression: harming others by performing a behaviour. It is clear that the Rwandan War was a form of active aggression. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed as a result of incredibly violent behaviour.
The violence in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis was a combination of Hostile and instrumental aggression. Though in the beginning most likely a form of Instrumental aggression, it seemed to descend into Hostile aggression as each group retaliated against the actions of the other. However, understanding the motivations behind such actions are crucial to understanding this example of modern conflict. Was their aggression learned or Innate? Were children wielding rifles simply because they were modelling the actions of elders in their group? These questions particularly pertain to children involved in committing such atrocious acts of violence. It is questionable whether the youngsters really understood the warfare they were participating in. It does not seem reasonable that youngsters involved had a sound understanding of the political motivations of the warfare. This may also be the case for many adults involved. Perhaps it was merely the social environment influencing the actions of those involved. If this is the case then it is expected that actions were learned, and not innate. Nurtured, rather than part of the nature of the population.
World Cup 2006
I can’t say I’m exactly sure where to include this discussion piece. I’m discussing the incredible influence a Football (Soccer) World Cup can have on the world, highlighting particular examples. I’ve retrieved most material from an article by Roy Hay and Tony Joel (2007) who discussed the fans of the world cup in their article. There are some particular examples of fan behaviour and social influences that make the sporting event so special. Personal experiences will also be included.
Hay and Joel make the first interesting point when they report the qualifying process undertaken to determine the 32 teams that will compete at the tournament involves more countries than there are United Nations members. This point alone demonstrates the importance of Football in the international community. How is it that countries come to the decision that competing in the world cup qualification process is more important than being a member of the UN? Football in Australia has long been referred to as a “sleeping giant” amongst the other Australian sporting codes. National League reforms yielded the current competition, the Hyundai A-League, now in it’s fourth season. By Germany 2006, the A-league had just completed its first season, and the success of Australia at the World Cup has seen the A-league grow in stature amongst Australian sport. However, football’s rise in Australia has still been subject to heavy scrutiny from other football codes. Heavy critics of Football came from The Footy Show, on Channel 9. However, once they realised how big tournament was the success that comes with qualifying, the members of this show travelled to broadcast from Germany. According to Hay and Joel, the fans were quite certain it was merely a stunt to jump on the bandwagon. Indeed, when the Footy Show members arrived in Munich the fans almost immediately got involved in an altercation that involved John “Sam” Newman, who himself had been one football’s harshest critics. Reportedly the altercation involved the fans spitting on Newman. Though inappropriate, the actions did reflect the feelings of most football fans in Australia. Football has been long criticised in Australia and unaccepted by the majority of the media and Australian population. It seems that this landscape is changing due to the influence of the World Cup on whole societies. Comments of Garry Lyon, am member of Melbourne’s version of The Footy Show that focuses on Australian Rules Football (AFL), reflect the changing attitudes to football in Australia. The authors highlight one comment of Lyon’s
“As for soccer, I have had no interest, other than to argue arrogantly that the game will never be known as football here in Australia and that I will be long gone before it threatens our beautiful game (AFL) as the no. 1 ball game in this country.”
However, after visiting Germany 2006, Lyon’s comments reflected a better understanding of importance of the sport in the world’s societies.
“To be over there was a humbling experience. It is hard to argue against those who say it is the biggest sporting event in the world. I have been to the Olympics and they have a dignified prestige attached to them that demands everyone’s respect. But the World Cup is a seething mass of emotion where the passion generated by coaches, players and supporters is the closest thing to war without weapons that you are likely to find. The focus on the games reduces presidents and prime ministers to the same level as factory workers and school kids; that of the everyday sports fan.”
These comments highlight the incredible influence of Football in any society. Indeed, the authors further demonstrate the impact of the tournament through comments of a radical feminist writer from some years ago who reported the only time the guns fell silent during the previous civil war in Lebanon was when the world cup was played. These examples are there in an attempt to demonstrate the social influence of football. However, personal experience can also indicate the social influence of such a tournament. When the world cup was on I ventured out to sports club with mates to watch each game. I forced me body clock to reverse itself during the early days of the tournament so that after the first few match-days I was up all night watching all the games. When Australia played Japan there were maybe around 100 people watching at the sports club. Every seat was taken, but plenty of space still remained. The game itself was incredible. Australia came from 1-0 down to win 3-1 in the final 10mins of the game. After the second goal in around the 88-89th minute, the crowd at the club were celebrating so much that we did not actually see the third goal scored. As the games progressed and Australia made it through the knockout stages to face Italy, the crowds had grown at the club so much so that it standing room only with hundreds of people inside the club to watch the game at around 4.00am. The experience likened to that of a very crowded mosh-pit at a rock concert. The increase in crowds demonstrates the increasing interest and influence of the football world cup. Just how it has such an influence is up for discussion, I don’t know. I’ve been to English Premier League games of my team Arsenal FC and been singing in the streets with fellow fans after a game that saw Arsenal move to the top of the league, though I still don’t know. If there is any social psychological explanation I’m ready to hear it.
An English author, Nick Hornby, wrote a book called Fever Pitch, which reflected his personal experiences as a lifelong Arsenal follower. His book was adapted into a film that starred Colin Firth as the lifelong Arsenal fan. A quote from the film sums up the thoughts of most football fans and perhaps some insight as to the importance and influence of football: “Football has meant too much to me, and come to represent too many things. After a while it all gets mixed up together in your head and you can’t remember whether life’s shit because Arsenal are shit or the other way around. Been to watch far too many games; spent too much money. Fretted about Arsenal when I should’ve been fretting about something else. And I’ve asked too much of the people I love. Ok I accept all that, but, I don’t know perhaps it’s something you can’t understand unless you belong. But what about this: Three minutes to go and you’re 2-1 up in a semi-final, and you look around and you see all those thousands of faces contorted with fear and hope and worry. Everyone lost, everything else gone out of their heads. And then final whistle blows, and everyone goes spare. And just for those few seconds you’re at the center of the whole world. And the fact you cared so much and the noise you made has been such a crucial part of it is what makes it special. Because you’ve been every bit as important as the players and if you hadn’t of been there then who’d have been bothered about football. The great thing is that it comes round again and again, there’s always another season. Lose the Cup final in May, well there’s the Third Round to look forward to in January. What’s wrong with that? Its actually pretty comforting if you think about it.”
The Australian Eye
Jane Elliot has been conducting her work on racism for many years, starting out with American children. Her program is based on discriminating between people based on their eye colour. She uses eye colour because it means that people who have different colour skin may be discriminated against because of their eye colour. The main aim of the program is to place white skinned individuals with a certain eye colour into a minority group. Eye colour was chosen because it is just as arbitrary as skin colour and no individual has control over either of these features.
The force with which Elliot delivers her workshop is very admirable. In this case, she discriminated against green-eyed individuals with such force that really upset some individuals. Some participants in the discriminated group where reduced to tears by the way Elliot treated them. However the message was delivered and some attitudes were changed. Elliot’s program does not seem to breaching any ethical guidelines. In this example some participants were reduced to tears in the discriminated group. However, those members of the other group, mainly of aboriginal descent, believed it was a good thing some were in tears (this was not meant in any malicious way), as it meant the pain of racism was felt by those of non-aboriginal descent. Her techniques have been adopted more widely in other settings. Employers have begun to use her techniques to reduce discrimination in the workplace. However, it’s most effective use must surely be in schools. Educating young children as to the damage racism can cause is the best way to lessen the frequency of racial behaviour in future generations. Her work in earlier years demonstrated the impact of her workshop on younger generations. Her techniques should be adopted as a requisite part of education in young children.
Culture shock is the physical and emotional discomfort experienced by people enetering a new society or group of people. However, it really does seem to just come down to knowledge. Before we enter a new culture, we may attempt to increase our knowledge of the place we are going to. By doing this we become aware of certain customs or rules that govern this society, but not ours. Customary greetings are an example of a custom that may differ from our own culture. Without the knowledge of these differences, we may find it hard to integrate into a new society and our experience of culture shock will be much stronger.
Culture shock can be experienced in many circumstances and is not dependent on visiting different countries. Starting a new job can produce the same discomfort. New colleagues will already be aware of their surroundings and be conscious of all the correct ways of doing things. The amount of success an individual has in becoming a valued member of the workplace is dependent on the amount of knowledge they gain from those around them. Increasing their knowledge of the company’s structures, working principles and attitudes will increase the chances of successfully moving into a new job and company.
Our knowledge of our new surroundings is probably the best adaptation method available. Many travellers use travel guides to educate themselves as to the important cultural details of their new surroundings. By doing this, the likelihood of embarrassment and “faux pas” is decreased.
The development of a cultural map will assist the integration to a new culture. Culture mapping is a clear description of how to behave in set social situation accompanied by an explanation of why these behaviours are preferred. Perhaps the most useful aspect of this process is first identifying how the specific situation would be dealt with in the current culture. This allows for the adaptation of the current behaviour with the knowledge of the behaviour expected in the new culture to ensure the behaviour change is understood relative to familiar situations from the individual’s previous culture.
Need to belong
The need to belong consists of two parts. Firstly, positive social contacts are a satisfying experience of desired social contact. People also need stable long-term relationships whereby there exists some sort of mutual concern for wellbeing. People ultimately tend to form groups of around five-six people for their close relationships. However, there does appear to be a personality variable that creates differences in people’s social contact. Some people seem to want more friends than others, opening a discussion on the influence of extraversion and introversion on people’s social contact. Given the nature of the two personality dimensions, it should be expected that extraverts would seek out more friends than introverts.
People’s need to belong to social groups is evident in many dimensions of society. For example, why would people regularly drink at the same pub or club? These people have probably found others they can relate to, and consequently form a social group that satisfies their need to belong. Just the same as people venturing out to watch the same sporting team every week. Though it is likely there will be more than five or six people there, supporting the team with possibly thousands of others doing the same further satisfies the need to belong to a social group.
Attraction to others
Opposites or “Birds of a Feather”?
Most social psychologists agree that opposites do not very often attract. Similarity is one the very things that attracts us to another individual. Therefore, it is generally agreed that “birds of a feather” flock together and stay together.
Continuing from the similarity idea, the matching hypothesis states that people tend to pair up with individuals who are equally attractive. Couples similar in attractiveness are more likely to progress toward a more loving and committed relationship.
People change to become more similar to those with whom they interact. People high in self-monitoring adapt to each social situation to get the most out of it. Those low in self-monitoring tend to stay closer to more permanent social connections and feelings. This could further be influenced by personality. Extraverts, due to their sociability, are probably more likely to adapt to the situation to create more social connections. Introverts are probably less inclined to do adapt in such a way, preferring to stay close to familiar connections that have been previously formed.
According to this theory, attraction is more likely if the person we are attracted to improves our feelings of wellbeing or provides some other positive reward. This explains why men will take a woman out for dinner, and pay. The man is trying to put himself in a positive position in the woman’s view by doing favours for them. Complimenting a woman is another strategy involved in the reinforcement theory. Praise is used as people feel good about a compliment. However, those who have negative experiences related to people who have previously behaved in this way could view the compliments as manipulative and disregard them.
Other theories of attraction exist in social psychology. The mere-exposure effect, positing we become attracted to an individual simply through our frequency of exposure to them. The “what is beautiful is good” effect is another. The effect is the belief that because an individual is attractive, they will be superior to others in other aspects. For example, we may believe someone we consider beautiful to be more intelligent, popular, and successful.
People who are rejected have a higher pain threshold than those who are accepted. This leads to the conclusion that emotion and pain reactions are intertwined. People who are often ostracized by others report a variety of personal problems, including suicidal thoughts and depression. Continual rejection can lead to the development of rejection sensitivity. If this trait is developed, those that are continually rejected will expect rejection from others. If this becomes serious enough, people may begin to push others away for fear of being rejected, thereby leading to more rejection and isolation.
Two types of love have been found to exist; passionate and companionate. Passionate love is characterised by deep feelings of longing, desire, and excitement. Companionate love involves more mutual understanding, caring, commitment, calm and serene emotions. Companionate love is a more critical component of a long-lasting marriage, though passionate love is more important for starting relationships. Many models have been developed to explain love.
Sternberg’s Triangular Model of Love
Sternberg broke love down into three different factors. The first of these is passion. Passion involves the attraction one feels, both physically and romantically, and the subsequent sexual interest. There are physiological characteristics defining this factor. Passionate feelings increase heart rate, and induce alertness and excitement. The second factor is intimacy, which Sternberg believed to be the core of all love relationships. When intimate, people have a real sense of caring and concern about one another. Empathy is also considered an important facet of intimacy because people have to have areal understanding of the other person in the relationship, and for the other to understand them.
Finally, Sternberg found that when discussing love, people often refer to a conscious decision. Sternberg believed emotions can come and go, though the decision made to commit to a person remains constant.
Sternberg emphasises that these three factors are not three different kinds of love. Rather, love was made up of some kind of combination of the three facets. Some relationships may be high in passion, but low on intimacy and commitment. However, others may be high in intimacy and commitment, but low on passion.
Other theories have been included in social psychology research on love. However, Sternberg’s theory seems most appropriate. Its flexibility allows for the formation of many relationships differing in their passion, intimacy, and commitment. Many different relationships can be formed between various levels of these factors.
Loving relationships can come to an end. Reasons for ending a relationship have been identified and broadly described as four factors.
· A new life seems the only alternative · Alternative partners are available · Expectations of relationship failure · Lack of commitment
Once a relationship does end, people seem to go through a series of stages.
· Loyalty: people will stay in the relationship with the hope of seeing some improvement · Neglect: people begin to neglect the relationship and allow it to deteriorate. This indicates alack of commitment to the relationship. · Voice behaviour: the two in the relationship may discuss the issues that they are faced with and attempt to resolve them. · Exit behaviour: the relationship ends.
I personally have experienced all these stages in order in past break-ups. Though accurate, I would argue it depends on the strength of the relationships according to each of the three factors of Sternberg’s model. Relationships high in passion may be less likely to end according to the four stages with the same amount of accuracy as relationships that are high in intimacy and commitment. Experience seems to indicate that relationships that are high in intimacy in particular will more likely progress through each stage because of the initial reluctance people may feel to end such a relationship.
A group is a collection of people being, or doing something together. However, this definition is weak. The example given in the textbook highlights forty sitting on a bus. Can this collection of people be considered a group? After all, they are all doing something together. But this is not a group because it’s unlikely they will personally know each other. Perhaps this collection of people could be a group if they were all travelling to the one destination. If a bus full of senior citizens arrive at a destination, they are automatically considered a group because they have all arrived together to participate in a single activity together. It is arguable whether a group of public servants taking the bus to owkr of a morning can be considered the same. It is far more likely that these workers are travelling to different destinations. According to the above example, a group is better defined by adapting the initial definition to include the singularity of the activity in which a collection of people participate, and the personal relations between them.
Perhaps the most interesting example of the effects groups have on people is that of Nazism. The textbook explains that the essence of fascist groups is to submerge an individual in a group so self-interest is subordinated to the best interests of the group. Nazism was so successful that the actions of the party degenerated into the destruction of their own country.
With groups come leaders. Most good leaders are perceived as having many basic traits. The textbook explains that leaders are decisive and competent at their tasks. Good leaders are also seen as having integrity and good moral character. Finally, a good leader has vision and uses this vision to motivate others.
However, leaders can be affected by the power they attain when becoming leaders. Some managers will simply use praise, advice and targets to motivate their workers. Others will use more threatening tactics like wage increases or decreases. Managers who use these more threatening techniques often view their workers more poorly than those less powerful managers. Powerful managers see their workers as just carrying out their commands, while less powerful managers believe that worker’s motivation and efforts are responsible for successful work.
The textbook argues that submerging an individual in a group often leads to bad outcomes. There are cases where this is true. The above example of Nazism supports that. However, the discussion on leaders leads me to believe that a good manager will have the ability to get more out of individuals in a group if their management skills are appropriate. If submerging individuals in a group really did lead to bad outcomes, as often as is implied, the world would be in a more negative state than it currently is.
Prosocial behaviour is defined as doing something that is good for other people or for society as whole. This definition does not really mean much to me. The most important variable in prosocial behaviour are the motives behind them. It is fine for an individual to behave in a way that benefits others and society. However, it has to be asked whether they were the intentions of an individual in the first place. People can behave in prosocial ways on the basis of personal motivations. For example, if I cover a shift for someone at work, I’m doing it for the extra money as much as I’m doing it as a favour for someone else. It’s rare I’m doing it for the pleasure of working extra hours. The textbook reports two motives for helping: altruism and egoism.
Altruistic helping occurs when someone does something for someone else, without expecting anything in return. Altruistic helping is apparently motivated by empathy: a response corresponding to the feelings of another person. The textbook introduces the empathy-altruism hypothesis: empathy motivates people to reduce other people’s distress. Psychologists have debated the concept of altruistic behaviour and in the textbook the story of Oskar Schindler is used as a case in point. Some argue that Schindler acted according to his own ego trip, rather than acting purely out of a desire to save as many of the Jewish population as he could. I disagree with this, Schindler spent a lot of time, effort, and money saving the people he did. There may have been some sort of personal motivations, though it would appear these were far outweighed by altruistic motivations to simply help people.
Egoistic helping is where the helper wants something in return. Essentially, the helper wishes to increase their own well being by first helping someone else. For some to argue that Schindler acted in this way, as opposed to helping altruistically, is a bit absurd. Though there may have been some personal motives, Schindler did not gain as much as he gave during, and after, his time saving the Jews he saved. He was forced to flea to safer grounds to escape the death penalty for assisting so many of Jewish population. Of course he is regarded as a hero by the Jewish race, and was granted his wish to be buried in Jerusalem. However, it does not seem fair to criticise someone for acting egotistically after he helped to save so many people.
Hugh Mackay: Australia’s Foremost Social Psychologist
During his speech at the 6th Annual Manning Clark lecture, Hugh Mackay raises some interesting discussion points. Citing the Gender Revolution as a major factor, Mackay reports “we have reached a stage where around 45% of marriages will end in divorce. This is a staggering statistic compared with the 8-9% divorce rate of around 25 years ago. The reasons for this appear to stem from two areas: the conflict resulting from chagiong gender roles, and the postponing of commitment that is so characteristic of the younger generations. It appears that constant change is the norm; the young generations are continually seeking the new thing, Mackay describes this as the “keep your options open” generation. Reasons for this are due to the environment these generations have grown up in. the pace of change has taught them to anticipate and embrace change to use Mackay’s words. The mean age for marriage has increased and subsequent birth rate has gone down. This is symptomatic of the changing gender roles. More women are pursuing tertiary education and entering the full-time workforce, resulting in less time to give birth to and raise children. Those that do have children will often seek to return to the workforce. After all they spent years studying do they could work full-time, why should they stop once the child is old enough to go to school? Therefore, there is less time for children. This reaction of mothers has further ramifications for the younger generations. To explain I need to refer to a book written by Mackay in the Mid-90’s called “Reinventing Australia” I took to reading after we discussed the Manning Clark speech in tutorials. In this book, Mackay discusses at length the effect full-time working mothers have on the next generation. When mothers work full-time, they are sacrificing a great deal of quality time spent with their children during the day. This time is crucial of course for the child’s physical and psychological development, but it is also important for the development of a child’s understanding of the world. Therefore, with less time spent with children generally, any time that is found will be spent in an attempt to cram in all this important interaction in terms of raising the child. Ultimately, Mackay reports in his Manning Clark speech this will result in over-protected, over-indulged children. However, in Reinventing Australia, Mackay offers far more discussion on this. Mackay argues his qualitative research found there is a feeling of guilt on the mother’s part for not always being there for their children in the same way their mother was. This is down to the fact that they have decided to participate in full-time work and part-time motherhood. Consequently, any time found for their children must be spent in such a way that will make for all the quality time missed while at work. Unfortunately, Mackay argues this has resulted in generations of children who lack boundaries because the parents want to be seen positively.
Though I will comment further on Hugh Mackay’s Manning Clark speech and his book I have some thoughts on the above discussion. Frankly, though I have no issue at all with mothers working full-time, unfortunately with the rising divorce rate some have no choice at all, the seemingly resultant lack of boundaries that has been a result of the above discussion is plainly clear to me. When reflecting on the people I know and their various familial backgrounds, it is easy to see what he means. Though it doesn’t lead me to think any less of anyone I know in the slightest possible way, Mackay’s words have certainly cleared some confusion I had regarding the way some people of my generation seem to think and act. After reading his words, I gained a greater understanding of the way I was brought up. Quite frankly, he is spot on when it comes to the interactions of working mothers and their children.
Mackay raises issues in other areas of society. Perhaps most interestingly, he reports in his Manning Clark address that although unemployment may be quite low, the real truth of the matter lies in UNDERemployment. This relates largely to the fact that the gap between the richest 20% of the population, and the poorest 20%, has been growing larger and larger. Basically, although unemployment may be low, underemployment is a far greater problem due to the fact that the bottom 20% of the population has an average income of just $12,000 dollars. Therefore, although unemployment is low, a large portion of the population are living on unsustainable incomes.
Tim Malysiak 00:16, 1 November 2008 (UTC)