kinc0027: February 2012 Archives

Chapter 13-Social Psychology

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Chapter 13 focuses on social psychology and how others affect us. Social psychology is defined as the study of how people influence others' behavior, beliefs, and attitudes. The main points of this chapter include humans as social species, factors that influence us to conform or make obedient decisions, and prosocial behavior and aggression. The topic that seemed most intriguing to me as I assessed the chapter was conformity versus individuality. In the 1950's, Solomon Asch conducted a study to discover the psychological reasoning behind conformity. The three main factors shown from the study were unanimity, size, and difference in the wrong answer. More recently the idea that social pressure influences perception was tested by Gregory Berns. Both of the studies showed that when placed together and asked to call out answers to certain questions, participants were more likely to choose the incorrect answer in order to follow the group norm. The chapter also discusses the idea of deindividuation, which makes humans more vulnerable to conformity. The main reasons people experience deindividuation include a feeling of anonymity and a lack of individual responsibility. In certain situations, it is easy for people to lose their typical social identities and create new ones, which causes deindividuation. This can occur when wearing costumes, particularly with masks, hanging out in dark clubs or bars, or joining in a mob.


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