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Discussion Questions
What are the “feeling rules” in the following settings?
* College Classroom
* Church
* Hospital
If one isn’t experiencing the “correct” emotion, what
form(s) might emotion work take?
In American culture, are feeling rules different for men
and women?
Emotions and Role Attachments
Role Embracement – Identifying strongly with a role
and allowing it to shape how we think, feel, act,
and interact with others.
Role Distance – Performing role in a detached way;
our sense of self is not invested in the role.
Social Structure & Personality
Social Structure – Consists of positions,
roles, social networks.
Occupational experience varies on 3
1. Closeness of supervision
2. Routinization of work
3. Substantive complexity of the work
(Consider status at work - “status
Occupational Roles and Physical Health
2 key ways in which occupational roles
affect physical health: 1) exposing
workers to health hazards, 2) stress
Social Structure & Personality
Job conditions that may lead to stress:
* the design of tasks
* management style
* interpersonal relationships
* work roles
* career concerns
* environmental conditions
Social Structure & Personality
We have two kinds of energy:
adaptation energy, which is capable of being replenished
within a 24-hour period;
energy reserves, which are your stores of energy
Distinction between “stress” and “stressor”:
Stress is the utilization of energy beyond that which can
be replenished in a 24-hour period.
Stressor is an environmental event which calls for
special efforts of adaptation.
Social Structure & Personality
David Elkind says that a person’s attitude toward stressors
is extremely important in determining whether he/she will
experience stress.
STRESSOR -----> Interpretation----> Attitude
A positive attitude will help one to cope with stressors in
a way that uses energy more efficiently.
A general point with regard to stress: Are we experiencing
the tyranny of the urgent ? (fast-pace of life;
emphasis on time, etc.) Examples? Implications?
Social Structure & Personality
Your place in the workplace – shaped by gender
In what ways do our adult relationships and work
experiences reflect our childhood socialization?
Prejudice and Discrimination
Origins of prejudice:
Realistic Conflict Theory – Prejudice stems from competition among social
groups over valued commodities or opportunities.
Social Categorization – People generally divide the social world into two distinct
categories: “us” and “them”.
(We may commit the ultimate attribution error).
Social Learning – Prejudice is learned.
Stereotypes – These generalizations about the typical characteristics of
members of various groups exert strong effects on the way we process
Illusion of Out-group Homogeneity – This is the tendency to perceive persons
belonging to groups other than our own as all alike.
Prejudice and Discrimination
Ways to combat prejudice and discrimination:
Contact Hypothesis – Increase the degree of contact
between different groups. (This tends to work under
certain circumstances – e.g., the groups are roughly
equal in status; the groups are working toward shared
goals; contact between the groups is informal; contact
occurs in a setting where norms favor group equality).
Re-Categorization – Eliminate “us-them” boundaries.
Reduce the impact of stereotypes
Love is not just a private
phenomenon; it is part of
our public culture. Love
is a narrative.
3 components of love:
intimacy, passion,
What is the difference
between love and
The Romantic-Love Ideal (5 beliefs):
1. Love at first sight.
2. One true love.
3. Love conquers all.
4. Our beloved is perfect.
5. Follow feelings.
Love is powerful – e.g., allows people to accomplish things;
overcome great obstacles. Also, love is powerful in the
sense that, for two people in a romantic relationship, love
gives each power over the other. From Social Exchange
Theory, consider the terms:
Comparison Level (CL) – The minimum level of
positive outcome one expects in a relationship.
Comparison Level for Alternatives (CLalt) – The
minimum level of positive outcome one will accept
in a relationship, given his/her alternatives.
Group Dynamics
Dyadic Relationships
Functions of a dyad:
* Expression of feelings.
* Confirmation.
* Change/influence.
* Creation/work.
Characteristics of dyads:
* Uniqueness.
* Completeness.
* Building block.
Group Dynamics
Dyadic Relationships
Relationship Stages:
1. Initiating
2. Experimenting
3. Intensifying
4. Integrating
5. Bonding
Group Dynamics
Dyadic Relationships
The Stages of Coming Apart:
1. Differentiating
2. Circumscribing
3. Stagnating
4. Avoiding
5. Terminating
Group Dynamics
Primary Groups – Characterized by face-to-face communication,
cooperation, permanence.
Secondary Groups – Characterized by formality, task-orientation, and
being short-lived.
Functions of group membership – i.e., why do we join particular
• Help satisfy psychological and social needs.
• Help us achieve goals.
• Provide us with knowledge and information.
• Contributes to the establishment of a positive social identity.
Group Dynamics
“The Third Place” (Ray Oldenburg)
These are places that exist outside the home and beyond the
work place.
* pure sociability
* voluntary participation
* diversity
* novelty
* common meeting ground
* spontaneous
* emotional expression
* contributes to mental balance
Group Dynamics
Functions of Third Places:
* “sorting areas”
* “staging areas”
* welfare for one another
* entertainment
* forum for politics
* intellectual forum
Group Dynamics
Social Facilitation – The finding that the presence of others
enhances performance on easy tasks and impairs
performance on difficult tasks.
Social Loafing – A reduction in individual output.
Cohesiveness in groups – Exemplified by the use of “we”
and “us” instead of “I” and “me”; joking & laughter;
early arrival/late departure; nonverbals.
Groupthink – Group decision-making style characterized by
an excessive tendency among members to seek
Group Dynamics
Famous study: Stanley Milgram (1960s)
At least 3 factors have been identified as affecting
the degree of obedience:
1. the authority figure
2. the proximity of the victim
3. the experimental procedure
Group Dynamics
Conformity – The tendency to change perceptions,
opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent with
group norms.
Well-known social psychological studies:
Sherif’s experiment in 1936
Asch’s experiment in 1951
Why do people conform? reference groups,
informational influence, normative influence,
identification, cohesiveness, social support
How can we explain non-conformity?
Group Dynamics
Compliance – Efforts to influence others through direct
techniques: ingratiation, “foot-in-the-door,” and
“door-in-the face”
Sociological conception of deviance:
*Deviance is much more than a personal characteristic.
*Deviance can be viewed as a form of social control.
Power, then, is an importance resource.
*Nothing is inherently deviant.
*Deviance can be understood in terms of choice,
selection, and purpose.
*Diversity is often labeled deviance.
stigma – Any physical or social attribute or sign that
devalues an actor’s social identity such that he/she
is disqualified from full social acceptance.
Goffman distinguished 4 types of stigma:
abominations of the body, blemishes of character,
tribal stigma, courtesy stigma
2 basic strategies that deviants use to manage stigma:
1. try to hide or change the stigmatizing condition
2. learn to live with the stigma
Deviance in everyday life
“Everyday deviances” are occasional slip-ups which
temporarily mark individuals as nonconforming or
awkward. In an attempt to avoid these everyday
deviances, we make an effort to control:
Techniques we may need to draw upon: disclaimers,
Social Psychological Theories of Deviance
Social Control Theory – The stronger one’s bond to
society, the less likely is deviant behavior.
When one’s bond to society is weak or broken,
then deviant behavior may result. Travis Hirschi
identified 4 components of the social bond:
attachment, commitment, involvement, beliefs.
Differential Association Theory – Deviance is learned
through association with others. The likelihood that
a person will engage in deviant activity depends on
the frequency of association with those who
encourage norm violation compared with those who
encourage conformity.
Labeling Theory – Focuses on the process by which the
social audience creates deviance and deviants by
so defining the acts and actors that way.
Collective Behavior
Collective Behavior – Relatively spontaneous activity,
involving a large number of people, that doesn’t conform
to established norms.
In situations of collective behavior, at least 4 features are
free play of emotions (people experience “emotional
high degree of personal influence
give and take of political competition
emergence of transitory opinions and allegiances
Collective Behavior
Theories of collective behavior:
Contagion Theory – Crowds can exert a hypnotic
influence on their members.
Convergence Theory – There is like-mindedness
before the group comes together.
Emergent Norm Theory – Patterns of behavior
emerge within the crowd.
Collective Behavior
Examples of collective behavior:
Crowds (types include casual, conventional, expressive, acting, and
[What kinds of crowd situations have you experienced?
Can crowds create heightened conformity as well as outbursts
of deviant conduct?]
Riots – Characterized as highly emotional, involving violence and
destruction, and no clear goal. Stages: precipitating event,
confrontation, the carnival phase, siege
Rumor – Unsubstantiated information spread informally.
Fads & Fashions
[List current fads and fashions in clothes, music, art, or some
other area and determine why they are currently popular]
Social Movements
A social movement refers to a collection of individuals
who organize together to achieve or prevent some social
or political change.
There is a direct link between social movements and
social change.
Deprivation Theory – attempting to bring about a more
just state of affairs
Resource Mobilization Theory – success requires
money, labor, contacts with the media, etc.
Social Movements
What may draw people into participating in a
social movement?
Mass Society Theory would say that social
movements attract socially isolated people.
Social Networks – People may get involved because
of relationships they have with others who
already belong to the movement.
The ideological appeal made by the movement
might draw people in to the movement.
Understanding Aggression
Freud’s Instinct Theory – We have an innate urge to
Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis – When we are
frustrated, we become motivated to aggress.
Arousal Transfer Model – Arousal in one situation can be
transferred to a second situation.
Social Learning Theory – We learn to behave
aggressively by imitating others.
Situational Impact on Aggression – i.e., What
characteristics of a situation might lead to acts of
1. Reinforcements
2. Modeling
3. Norms (e.g., retribution, revenge)
4. Stress
5. Aggressive Cues
Personal Causes of Aggression:
1. Type A behavior
2. Hostile Attribution Bias – The tendency to perceive
hostile intent in others, even when it’s totally lacking.
3. Shame
Gender Differences in the experience and expression of
How can aggressive behavior be reduced?
1. Reducing Frustration (e.g., allocate resources more
2. Punishing Aggression
3. Non-aggressive Models
4. Catharsis
Also, think about the relevance of empathy.
How could we cultivate empathy?
Prosocial Behavior
Why people help others:
1. Sociobiological Explanation – Help others to ensure
survival of your genes.
2. Social Evolution Explanation – Our altruism is
adaptive for the survival of society.
3. Good Mood Effect – The effect whereby a good mood
increases helping behavior.
4. Negative State Relief Model – The proposition that
people help others in order to counteract their own
feelings of sadness or depression.
Prosocial Behavior
5. Guilt – This feeling may lead us to help others in order
to feel better about ourselves.
6. Social Norms – e.g., norm of reciprocity, norm of
equity, norm of social responsibility
7. Personal Norms – An individual’s feeling of moral
obligation to provide help when needed.
8. Characteristics of the person in need (e.g., what
caused this person’s problem?)
Prosocial Behavior
In emergency situations, people often do not become
involved; why don’t people help?
Latane & Darley conducted research studies in the
1970s, arriving at the bystander effect, which is the
effect whereby the presence of others inhibits helping.
Steps in the decision-making process involved in
emergency interventions:
Notice that something is happening.
Interpret the event as an emergency.
Take responsibility for providing help.
Decide how to help.
Prosocial Behavior
Prosocial Behavior
empathy-altruism hypothesis – The proposition that
empathic concern for a person in need produces an
altruistic motive for helping.
So…altruism is manifested when: we take the
perspective of the other, our emotional response is
empathic concern, our motive is altruistic, and we gain
satisfaction from the person’s reduction in distress.
Research Methods
Review Important Concepts:
independent and dependent variables
internal and external validity
experimental and control groups
Basic Methods used in Social Psychology:
Survey Research
Participant Observation
Ethics in Research
Studies which generated debate (e.g., Milgram’s
Obedience Studies, Zimbardo’s Prison Study)
Importance of informed consent and debriefing.
informed consent – Giving research participants as
full a description of the procedures as
possible, prior to their participation.
debriefing – After the procedure, giving the
participants a full explanation of the study.