PSY205: Part One - Social Thinking (The Self in a Social World…
PSY205: Part One - Social Thinking
The Self in a Social World
Spotlight effect and its relation to the illusion
The belief that others are paying more attention to our appearance and behaviour than they really are.
Illusion of transparency
The illusion that our concealed emotions leak out and can be easily read by others.
Relationship between spotlight effect and illusion of transparency
The combination of spotlight effect and the illusion of transparency leads us to overestimate certain social consequences when we accidentally commit a social blunder, evoking unnecessary anxiety.
The spotlight effect and the related illusion of transparency are two of many examples of the interplay between our sense of self and our social worlds. Examples include
Social surroundings affect our self-awareness.
When we are the only member of our race, gender, or nationality in a group, we notice how we differ and how others are reacting to our difference. (Evoking a sense of self-consciousness by virtue of being socially different)
Self-interest influence our social judgement.
When problems arise in a close relationship such as marriage, we usually attribute more responsibility to our partners than to ourselves. When things go well at home or work or play, we see ourselves as more responsible.
Self-concern motivates our social behaviour.
In hopes of making a positive impression, we agonize about our appearance. We monitor others’ behaviour and expectations and adjust our behaviour accordingly
Social relationships help define our sense of self
We may evoke different situational identities based on our social relationship to identify with.
Determining the 'Self'.
Alludes to our self perception.
Our selfconcepts are determined by multiple influences, including the roles we play, the comparisons we make, our social identities, how we perceive others appraising us, and our experiences of success and failure
Beliefs about self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information. Are the building blocks or elements of self-concepts.
Our self-concepts include not only our self-schemas about who we currently are but also who we might become.
That is, Possible selves i.e. Images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
Self in action
Limits to self-capacity
Effortful self-control depletes willpower and may lead to irregular behaviours and exhaustion
People who exert self-control tend to quit faster.
People who tend to control emotions also exhibit decreased physical stamina, poor ability to control and regulate innate sexual drive and aggression.
Although the self’s energy can be temporarily depleted, a positive self-concept may alleviate stresses on our self-energy
positive thinking can be presented through self-efficacy
Self efficacy refer to a sense that one is competent and effective (i.e. a self-evaluation of one’s ability, distinguished from self-esteem, which is one’s sense of self-worth).
Locus of control
The extent to which people perceive outcomes as internally controllable by their own efforts or as externally controlled by chance or outside forces.
How much control we feel is related to how we explain setbacks.
The sense of hopelessness and resignation learned when a human or animal perceives no control over repeated bad events.
When people are given too many choices, they may be less satisfied with what they have than when offered a smaller range of choices.
Alludes to social roles and influences that contributes to self-identity
Refers to a social evaluation between social circles on a person’s current position, opinions and abilities
Positive comments general boost our self-esteem. That is why we closely monitor responses from our social surrounding.
One theory which presents an explanation to how our self-perception of social judgment may influence attitudes is the Looking glass theory.
Self and culture
Cultures can also change over time, and many seem to be growing more individualistic. This change demonstrates something that goes deeper than a name: the interaction between individuals and society (i.e. is the individual influencing the development of culture or vice versa?)
The concept of giving priority to one’s own goals over group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications.
Construing one’s identity as an autonomous self.
in individualistic cultures, self-esteem is more personal and less relational.
Giving priority to the goals of one’s group (often one’s extended family or work group) and defining one’s identity accordingly.
Construing one’s identity in relation to others.
an interdependent self, one has a greater sense of belonging
If they were uprooted and cut off from family, colleagues, and loyal friends, interdependent people would lose the social connections that define who they are
Self esteem and self concept
Self-esteem in collectivist cultures correlates closely with “what others think of me and my group.” Self-concept in these cultures is malleable (context-specific) rather than stable
Our self-knowledge may be inaccurate as it is difficult to determine intuitions and influences of intuitions. The unconscious, implicit processes that control our behavior may differ from our conscious, explicit explanations of it.
We also tend to mispredict our emotions. We underestimate the power of our psychological immune systems and thus tend to overestimate the durability of our emotional reactions to significant events.
A person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self-worth.
influences our cognitive
processes and impacts directly (i.e. impacts on our locus of control)
Refers to the esteem that is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, money, or others’ approval.
It is conducive to long-term well-being
High – self-esteem may give rise to narcissism. Narcissism and self-esteem interact to influence aggression.
Low self-esteem have been associated with antisocial behaviours
Self-serving bias and its adaptive and maladaptive aspects
The tendency to perceive oneself favorably
Self-serving bias also appears when people compare themselves with others.
A form of self-serving bias; the tendency to attribute positive outcomes to oneself and negative outcomes to other factors.
I got the A in history because I studied hard. I got the D in sociology because the exams were unfair
We exhibit unrealistic optimism about our futures.
This illusory optimism increases our vulnerability and lull us into a false sense of security. Thus, we fail to take sensible precautions.
can be counter-balanced with deffensive pessimism
The adaptive value of anticipating problems and harnessing one’s anxiety to motivate effective action.
Can sometimes assist to counteract unrealistic optimism
Even though 50% of marriages fail, I know mine will be enduring joy.
False consensus effect
A tendency to enhance our self-images by overestimating or underestimating the extent to which others think and act as we do
I know most people agree with me that global warming threatens our future.
Adaptive and maladaptive aspects
May induce unhappiness.
People who blame others for their social difficulties are often unhappier than people who can acknowledge their mistakes.
Self-serving biases also inflate people’s judgments of their groups, a phenomenon called group-serving bias. When groups are comparable, most people consider their own group superior.
Group serving bias is the explaining away outgroup members’ positive behaviours and attributing negative behaviours to their dispositions (while excusing such behaviour by one’s own group).
Acts as a stress-coping mechanism by inducing positive sense of self and also inhibits depression and anxiety
management and behaviour.
People will engage in self-handicapping with self-defeating behaviours to protect self-esteem and self-image by providing excuses for failure.
To varying degrees, we manage our impressions based on social acceptance.
includes the following to factors
refers to our wanting to present a desired image both to an external (others) and internal (self) audience
Being attuned to the way one presents oneself in social situations and adjusting one’s performance to create the desired impression.
Social Beliefs and Judgements
the extent to which our assumptions and prejudgments guide perceptions, interpretations, and recall.
Our preconceptions strongly influence how we interpret and remember events.
In a phenomenon called priming, people’s prejudgments have striking effects on how they perceive and interpret information.
The mutual influence of bodily sensations on cognitive preferences and social judgments
is the phenomenon in which people cling to their initial beliefs and the reasons why a belief might be true, even when the basis for the belief is discredited
our memories are actually formed when we retrieve them, and they are subject to strong influence by the attitudes and feelings we hold at the time of retrieval
Incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event, after witnessing an event and receiving misleading information about it.
JUDGING OUR SOCIAL WORLDS
We have an enormous capacity for automatic, efficient, intuitive thinking. Our cognitive efficiency, although generally adaptive, comes at the price of occasional error.
Because we are generally unaware of those errors entering our thinking, it is useful to identify ways in which we form and sustain false beliefs.
we often overestimate our judgments.
This overconfidence phenomenon stems partly from the much greater ease with which we can imagine why we might be right than why we might be wrong.
Moreover, people are much more likely to search for information that can confirm their beliefs than for information that can disconfirm them. (Confirmation bias)
REMEDIES FOR OVERCONFIDENCE
Three techniques have successfully reduced the overconfidence bias
unpack a task
—break it down into its subcomponents and proceed to peg a realistic target for each sub components.
Consider negative outcomes
. a third way to reduce overconfidence is to get people to think of one good reason why their judgments might be wrong; that is, force them to consider disconfirming information
confirmation bias A tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions.
moods infuse judgments. Good and bad moods trigger memories of experiences associated with those moods.
Moods color our interpretations of current experiences. And by distracting us, moods can also influence how deeply or superficially we think when making judgments.
A thinking strategy that enables quick judgments.
The tendency to presume, sometimes despite contrary odds, that someone or something belongs to a particular group if resembling (representing) a typical member.
Deciding that Carlos is a librarian rather than a trucker because he better represents one’s image of librarians
May Lead to
Discounting other important information
A cognitive rule that judges the likelihood of things in terms of their availability in memory.
If instances of something come readily to mind, we presume it to be commonplace
Estimating teen violence after school shootings
May lead to
Over-weighting vivid instances and thus, for example, fearing the wrong thing
we are often swayed by illusions of correlation and personal control.
It is tempting to perceive correlations where none exist (illusory correlation) and to think we can predict or control chance events (the illusion of control).
illusion of control
Perception of uncontrollable events as subject to one’s control or as more controllable than they are
Imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened, but didn’t.
EXPLAINING OUR SOCIAL WORLDS
The theory of how people explain others’ behaviour—for example, by attributing it either to internal dispositions (enduring traits, motives, and attitudes) or to external situations.
Attributing behaviour to the person’s disposition and traits.
Attributing behaviour to the environment.
Mistakenly attributing a behaviour to the wrong source.
Theory of correspondent inferences
we often infer that other people’s actions are indicative of their intentions and dispositions.
i.e. If I observe Rick making a sarcastic comment to Linda, I infer that Rick is a hostile person
Spontaneous trait inference
An effortless, automatic inference of a trait after exposure to someone’s behavior.
Harold Kelley’s Theory of Attributions/ Commonsense attributions
Three factors—consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus— influence whether we attribute someone’s behaviour to internal or external causes.
: How specific is the person’s behavior to this particular
: To what extent do others in this situation behave similarly?
: How consistent is the person’s behavior in this situation?
Fundamental Attribution error
The tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences upon others’ behaviour. (Also called correspondence bias because we so often see behaviour as corresponding to a disposition.)
WHY DO WE MAKE THE ATTRIBUTION
PERSPECTIVE AND SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Attribution theorists have pointed out that we observe others from a different perspective than we observe ourselves
Cultures also influence attribution error. i.e. A Western worldview predisposes people to assume that people, not situations, cause events.
EXPECTATIONS OF OUR SOCIAL WORLDS
A belief that leads to its own fulfilment.
A type of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby people’s social expectations lead them to behave in ways that cause others to confirm their expectations.
WHAT CAN WE CONCLUDE ABOUT
SOCIAL BELIEFS AND JUDGMENTS
Research on social beliefs and judgments reveals how we form and sustain beliefs that usually serve us well but sometimes lead us astray. A balanced social psychology will therefore appreciate both the powers and the perils of social thinking.
Behaviour and Attitudes
A favourable or unfavourable evaluative reaction toward something or someone (often rooted in one’s beliefs, and exhibited in one’s feelings and intended behaviour).
Attitudes can be used to predict behaviour
when four conditions are present
on what we say are minimal.
on behavior are minimal.
Principle of aggregation:
The effects of an attitude become more apparent when we look at a person’s aggregate or average behaviour
to the behaviour are examined.
Theory of Planned Behaviour
one’s (a) attitudes, (b) perceived social norms, and (c) feelings of control together determine one’s intentions, which guide behaviour.
i.e. Compared with their general attitudes toward a healthy lifestyle, people’s specific attitudes regarding jogging predict their jogging behavior much better
when attitudes are
The attitudes that best predict behavior are accessible (easily brought to mind) as well as stable
social psychologists measure expressed attitudes. Like other behaviours, expressions are subject to outside influences.
To minimise social influences, Social psychologist measure implicit (unconscious) attitudes—our often unacknowledged inner beliefs that may or may not correspond to our explicit (conscious) attitudes.
implicit association test (IAT)
A computer-driven assessment of implicit attitudes.
The test uses reaction times to measure people’s automatic associations between attitude objects and evaluative words. Easier pairings (and faster responses) are taken to indicate stronger unconscious associations.
When does our behaviour affect our attitudes?
A set of norms that defines how people in a given social position ought to behave.
Why does our behaviour affect our attitudes?
Three competing theories explain why our behaviour affects our attitudes:
refers to the tension that arises when one is simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions. (i.e. smoking even though he/she is conscious of the detriments.
To reduce the dissonance (unpleasant feelings), the student may modify one of the cognitions/internally adjust the behaviour in a variety of ways: (i.e. I’m not a heavy smoker).
Dissonance theory further proposes that when external justification for our undesirable actions is insufficient, we will experience more dissonance, thus, leading to more attitude change.
assumes that we have strategic reasons to express attitudes that appear consistent with our behaviour. We adjust our attitudes (spend on clothes, cosmetics and even plastic surgery) because we’re concerned about what other people will think of us—we want to create good impressions!
In addition, there are benefits such as gaining social and material rewards, feeling better about ourselves, becoming more secure in our social identities.
In the process of adjusting our attitudes, genuine attitude change also occurs.
Self-perception theory suggests that when we are unsure of our attitudes, we infer them much as would someone observing us, by looking at our behaviour and the circumstances under which it occurs.
Therefore, issuance of unnecessary rewards to a person who is doing what they like might undermine a person’s self-perception that they are doing what they like because the rewards make them attribute their behaviour to the reward.
Thus, unnecessary rewards tend to have a cost involved. This is known as the over justification effect. By comparison, when people do what they enjoy doing without reward (or coercion), they are likely to attribute their behaviour to their love of the activity [intrinsic motivation].