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Description: Social Psychology Attribution Theory: Heider noted that behavior is either based on internal disposition or external ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Social Psychology
How we think about, influence, and relate to one
Attribution Theory
  • Heider noted that behavior is either based on
    internal disposition or external situation
    (attribution theory)
  • Teacher notices an aggressive student
  • Is the students hostility reflecting an
    aggressive personality?
  • Is the students hostility a stress response?

  • Fundamental Attribution Error
  • Tendency to attribute others behaviors to
    dispositional causes and our own to situational
  • Overestimates influence of personality and
    underestimates influence of situation

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Fundamental attribution error
  • Social liberals are more likely to ascribe
    poverty to situational attributes than social
  • Difference between theory and error?
  • Errors occur when we see people in only ONE role,
    not both
  • Remember our attributions to individuals
    dispositions or to their situations should be
    made carefully. They have consequences

  • Attitudes Beliefs and feelings that predispose
    our reactions to objects, people and events.
  • Attitudes will guide our actions if
  • Social pressure is minimal.
  • Attitude is specifically relevant to behavior
  • cheating on taxes, isnt cheating.
  • We are keenly aware of attitude.

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Attitude affects Action Persuasion and Decisions
  • Central Route to PERSUASION is when you think
    and analyze people focus on facts/arguments and
    respond w/favorable thoughts
  • Peripheral Route people influenced by incidental
    cues using heuristics, famous peoples
    endorsements, jokes to persuade, or sound bytes.
  • Often times the faster route, snap judgments
  • Think no child left behind

Actions affect Attitudes
  • Foot in the door phenomenon
  • tendency to comply with larger request after we
    have complied with a smaller one. Simple to get
    people to agree, start small, end big
  • Gateway drugs. Stealing. Racism.
  • People can be move away from their attitudes
    because they begin rationalizing behavior at
    smaller steps.

Milgram Experiment
  • Unethical, yet still produced
  • http//

Milgrams Experiment
  • Predicts thru a survey professionals said only
    1 would go all the way and kill the person
    because 1 are sadists (fae)
  • overestimates power of individuality,
    underestimates situation
  • 63-65 of subjects went to danger
  • 19 variations on Milgram experiment with up to
    90 obedience

  • Compliance was greatest when
  • Person giving orders was close and a legitimate
    authority figure from a prestigious institution.
  • When the victim was depersonalized.
  • There were no role models for defiance.

  • Why do actions change attitudes?
  • We feel motivated to justify our actions.
  • When aware of conflict between attitude and
    behavior we feel tension called cognitive
  • The more dissonance the more likely we are to
    change attitudes.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory
  • Theory that we act to reduce the discomfort
    (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts
    (cognitions) are inconsistent.
  • For example when our awareness of our attitudes
    and of our actions clash, we can reduce the
    resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes
  • Conclusion Cruel acts shape the self. But so do
    acts of good will. Act as though you like
    someone, and you soon will. Changing our behavior
    can change how we think about others and how we
    think about ourselves.

  • Lessons of obedience studies.
  • Experiments are not designed to replicate
    everyday behaviors, but study underlying causes.
  • When kindness and obedience clash, obedience
  • Its enough to have ordinary people corrupted by
    an evil situation.
  • Leadership counts, dissent!!!

Role-Playing Affects Attitudes
  • Role (cluster or prescribed actions) playing can
    affect attitudes.
  • Adopting a new role feels phony at first, but
    then you start acting in the role, eventually
    the role becomes you.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo
  • Wanted to study evil from the inside
  • What makes good people go wrong?
  • Too vague a question, but guided his study
  • Ex Poverty
  • Described as systemic evil
  • 1/5th children group up in poverty, ghetto
    defined by Zimbardo as personal growth in absence
    of nature and people die young
  • Epigenetics of poverty growing up poor remakes
    genetics to be prone to disease, etc

Zimbardos Research Evil
  • Harm (psychological)
  • Hurt (physical)
  • Destroy (morally)
  • Crimes against humanity (genocide)
  • Most evil is done by systems

Expanded Evil
  • Is it just a case of bad apples?
  • Is it a bad barrel?
  • Is it a bad barrel maker?

  • 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment
  • At first role will feel unnatural, but eventually
    you become the role.

Real world Abu Gharib
  • SPE 5th night, prisoners began to simulate anal
  • AG took weeks
  • SPE bags over head for parole board
  • AG bags over head for interrogation
  • AG ultimate dehumanization
  • Box picture torture mask, stand on box until
    you fall, attach false electrodes until he fell
    and would shock, no shock, just laughter, for fun
  • All AG torture happened at night, not day shift
  • Night shift was told to get info by any means
    necessary without authority
  • Zimbardos conclusion
  • our soldiers were good, their barrel was bad
  • Rumsfeld approved torture in BARREL not outside

The Lucifer Effect
  • Lucifer Effect individuals in groups who are
    good become situationally evil
  • What do you think it is? Do you agree with
  • Bad apples? Bad barrel? Bad barrel maker?

Why turn evil?
  • Dehumanization
  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • Obedience to authority (Milgram studies)
  • Group pressure
  • Moral disengagement (Bandura)

Systemic Evil
  • China kills 1 million annually
  • Encouragement of smoking
  • 54 of men smoke, masculine culturally
  • Controlled media, forbids anti-smoking campaign
  • Women dont smoke
  • Sichuan Tobacco Primary School Ingenuity is
    fruit. Tobacco will help you succeed
  • Evils war/genocide, poverty, slavery, sex
    traffic (most profitable), climate change (evil
    of inaction)

Situation Evil
  • Milgram 1st research to quantify evil,
    electrocute a stranger
  • Background Jewish kid, not far separated from
    Holocaust, wanted to know why there was blind
  • Studies were done at Yale
  • All evil is the cloak of semantic confusion
  • Israel/Palestine BOTH have moral reasons for
    killing each other how does this make sense?

Are there circumstances that make people good?
  • We have no idea
  • Heroes dont exist in psychology today, they
    exist in situation
  • Without heroism, compassion is useless
  • Heroism is the highest civic virtue
  • Very gray area between shift of good and evil

Prosocial networks positive deviancy Can one
person make a difference?