Walden Discussion: Social Influence
Walden Discussion: Social Influence
Walden Discussion: Social Influence
Walden Discussion: Social Influence and Group Processes
This Discussion focuses on social influence and group processes. As you likely know from your own experience, the presence of others impacts an individual’s behavior, an individual’s behavior often impacts another’s, and individuals’ behaviors often impact that of an entire group.
Conformity is the tendency to change one’s beliefs or behaviors to match those of others. There are many theoretical reasons suggested by social psychologists for why people conform. Obedience is believing that a legitimate authority has the right to make a request and then adhering to this request. Social psychology studies the concept of obedience to help analyze the reasons that people disobey legitimate authority, as well as why people obey perceived authority, even when the requests go against their personal beliefs. In addition, various group processes affect whether people conform or obey in a given situation.
To prepare for Walden Discussion: Social Influence and Group Processes:
· Review Chapters 8 and Chapter 9 of your course text, Social Psychology, focusing on the factors that are associated with social influence on behavior.
· Think about examples in the news in which people did or did not demonstrate conformity or obedience.
Note: One way to find examples of news events for these concepts is to go to a major search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), click on the “news” tab, and type in appropriate search terms.
By Day 3 of Walden Discussion: Social Influence and Group Processes
Post a brief description of a contemporary example from the news in which people did or did not demonstrate conformity or obedience. Use a theory discussed in Chapter 8 to explain how or why the behavior illustrates conformity or obedience. Use information from Chapter 9 to explain how being in a group might influence behaviors in your example. That is, in your example, how might group processes, characteristics, or functions explain behavior?
Walden Discussion: Social Influence and Group Processes Notes:
· Please do NOT select the Holocaust or Milgram’s studies as your example.
· Support the responses within your Discussion post, and in your colleague reply, with evidence from the assigned Learning Resources.
· You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. (2016). Social psychology (9th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
· Chapter 8, “Conformity: Influencing Behavior”
· Chapter 9, “Group Processes: Influence in Social Groups”
Discussion: Social Psychological Approach to Insights on Human Behavior
Before you begin to explore aggression and apply concepts from social psychology to it, it is important to examine one of the most fundamental social psychological concepts: construals. A construal is defined as the way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world. The concept of construal has its roots in Gestalt psychology—a school of psychology that stresses the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in people’s minds, rather than the objective, physical attributes of the object.
Social psychologists have found that two motives are of primary importance in determining human thoughts and behavior: the need to feel good about ourselves and the need to be accurate. Self-esteem is people’s evaluation of their own self-worth, or the extent to which people see themselves as good, competent, and decent. Most people have a strong need to maintain a high self-esteem. This need can clash with the need for accuracy, referred to as the social cognition motive, leading people to distort their perceptions of reality (e.g., by explaining their personal deficiencies in more positive ways) so as to preserve self-esteem. Such distortions are more “spins” on the facts rather than complete delusions.
Consider, for instance, a man who proposed marriage and had his proposal rejected in front of his girlfriend’s entire family. This person faces a conflict between the need to maintain self-esteem and the need to be accurate. What should he think about being rejected by his girlfriend? He could protect his self-esteem and assume it was not his fault at all that she said no, or he could try to get an accurate assessment of what happened (e.g., perhaps proposing in front of her family was a bad idea; perhaps his relationship was not as solid as he thought) so it will not happen again. Social psychologists study people’s subjective construals of situations and how these construals are influenced by their self-esteem and social cognition motives.
An important application of this study is to better understand aggressive behavior, a social psychology topic that has far-reaching implications for individuals, groups, and society as a whole. One of the most important reasons for studying aggression is the goal of reducing violence. For example, individuals can be counseled to change the parameters of their situation, trained in communication and problem-solving skills, or provided with ongoing interventions such as anti-bullying programs. Social psychologists seek answers to questions such as: In aggressive situations, do people learn to be aggressive or is their behavior a function of their environment? Do some people have aggressive attributes and tendencies or do they become aggressive because of their unique situations? Are individuals from some cultures more aggressive than those from others?
A fundamental difference between social psychologists and lay people is the application of this construal approach in understanding how aggressive situations and other types of behavior arise. Social psychologists recognize and examine the power of the situation in influencing people. Lay people often cite the situation to explain their own behaviors, but they overlook the situation and instead cite personality to explain others’ behaviors. This is termed the fundamental attribution error.
For this Discussion, you consider why some individuals are aggressive toward others and how aggression escalates or can be reduced. You will compare how social psychologists and lay people might each explain various types of aggressive behavior, and in doing so, apply many of the concepts you explored in the Learning Resources this week, including construals, the fundamental attribution error, and the sometimes competing motives of self-esteem and social cognition.
· Review Chapter 1 of the course text, Social Psychology, focusing on how social psychologists would view or attempt to explain a specific situation. Note the example about Edward Snowden on page 16.
· Review Chapter 12 of the course text, Social Psychology, focusing on aggression.
· Consider the following five social situations in which aggressive behavior is demonstrated and how social psychologists versus laypeople might treat each situation:
· A high school or college campus shooting
· An act of domestic violence or child abuse within a family
· Looting of shops and homes after a natural disaster
· Domestic or global terrorism
· White collar financial embezzlement
· Select one of the five aggressive behaviors listed above for your Discussion post.