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Social Psychology


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Title: Social Psychology

Social Psychology Dr. Will Reader
  • Theory of mind
  • Attitudes
  • Making attributions
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Aggression
  • Affiliations
  • Power, obedience and conformity
  • Stereotypes, stigma and scapegoating
  • Group conflict and influence

Theory of Mind
Theory of mind
  • Underpins most social behaviour
  • The ability to understand other peoples
  • Thoughts
  • Emotional states
  • Perceptual states (see, hear etc.)
  • And the understanding that these can be different
    from your own (and that your own can change)
  • That beliefs can be false

Unexpected Transfer (Maxi) Task
Unexpected Transfer (Maxi) Task
Test Where will Maxi look for his chocolate?
Memory Where did Maxi put his
chocolate? Reality Where did Mum put his
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Triad of Impairment (Wing Gould, 1979)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Socialisation - indifference to other people,
difficulty making friends - difficult to
understand other people's thoughts and emotions
- seem to be 'in a world of their
own Communication - don't develop the usual
verbal or non-verbal (eg pointing) skills of
other children the same age (protodeclarative and
protoimperative pointing) - unable to understand
jokes or sarcasm - difficulty to read body
language and facial expressions (Temple
Grandin) Interest - inability to play
imaginatively with objects or toys (pretend play)
or others - may be overly interested in
repetitive activities, resistance to novel topics
Sally-Anne problem
Baron-Cohen, Leslie, and Frith (1985) Social and
emotional problems secondary to cognitive problem
Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste Plumb
What is an Attitude?
  • Attitude is defined as tendencies to evaluate an
    entity attitude object into some degree of
    favour or disfavour, ordinarily expressed in
    cognitive, affective and behavioural responses
    (Eagly Chaiken, 1993)
  • Different from beliefs which are things held to
    be true and often do not have an evaluative side

Attitude Definitions
  • Attitudes involve associations between attitude
    objects and evaluations of these objects (Fazio,
  • Attitudes are evaluations of various objects that
    are stored in memory (Judd et al., 1991)
  • Attitude is a psychological tendency that is
    expressed by evaluation of a particular entity
    with some degree of favour or disfavour (Eagly

Component Theories of Attitude
  • Unitary model. Attitudes are a single positive or
    negative evaluation of an attitude object
  • Dual model. A mental state of readiness and
    therefore guides some evaluation or response
    towards and object
  • Tripartite model. Include feeling (affective),
    action (behavioural), and thought (cognitive)
    components ABC

Tripartite Model?
Attitude object Beer
What are Attitudes Used for?
  • Attitudes serve as conscious and unconscious
    motives and have four functions (Katz, 1960)
  • They assist in helping us make sense of our
    world and to organize the information we
    encounter (c.f. cognitive economy) (KNOWLEDGE
  • They help us make behave in socially acceptable
    ways to gain positive and avoid negative outcomes
  • They act as a guide to behaviour in social
    situations and help us in self- and social-
  • They allow use to preserve a positive sense of

Attitude-Behaviour Relationship
  • Of principle concern - if attitudes dont guide
    behaviour then their efficacy and utility as a
    construct is greatly reduced
  • Classic study LaPiere (1934) restaurateur's
    attitudes towards Asians in 1930s USA-
    questioned validity of the attitude-behaviour
  • Wicker (1969) attitudes were very weakly
    correlated with behaviour across 45 studies
    (average r .15)
  • Gregson and Stacey (1981) only a small positive
    correlation between attitudes and alcohol
  • Stimulated study into the personality,
    contextual, temporal and methodological
    influences on the attitude-behaviour relationship

Attitude-behaviour relationship
  • Reasons for lack of a relationship
  • Unreliability and low validity of attitude and/or
    behavioural measures
  • People sometimes don't care about their attitudes
  • Often it is difficult to put attitudes into
    practice (perceived behavioural control or
  • Recent research includes the latter two (e.g.
    Armitage and Conner, 2001) stronger
    attitude-behaviour relationships Theory of
    Planned Behaviour (TPB)

Measuring Attitudes
  • Thurstone (1928) check all items that apply (can
    be weighted)
  • Likert (1932) scale n (usually 5)- point scales
  • Semantic differential scale (Osgood et al., 1957)
    uses word pairs
  • All above can be used to derive numerical values
    relating to attitudes

Thurstone scale
A 7-Point Likert-Type Self-Rating Scale
Are you favour of having nuclear power plants in
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Rating The Concept of Nuclear Power on a
7-Point Semantic Differential Scale
Issues with scales
  • Scales must be reliable all items must measure
    the same thing (e.g. depression) in order for
    them to be added up
  • This can be computed statistically
  • Scales must be valid they must measure what they
    are supposed to measure
  • E.g. by comparing scale results with objective
    measures (e.g. of depression)

Measuring Implicit Attitudes
  • Attitudes may be explicit (conscious awareness),
    or implicit (unconscious/automatic)
  • Implicit attitudes may exert effects on behaviour
    outside of conscious awareness
  • May show unbiased attitudes (may not)
  • Measured with Implicit Association Test
    (Greenwald, McGhee, Schwartz, 1998)

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Attribution is the process of assigning causes
for our own behaviour to that of others Hogg
Vaughan (2005)
Heiders Naïve Scientist
  • Suggests that people create theories of other
    people based on observation of behaviour
  • Inferring unobservable causes from observable
    behaviour or other perceived information

Everyone is a naïve scientist
  • Internal (dispositional) attributions
  • personality characteristics
  • beliefs
  • External (situational) attributions
  • situational pressure/influence
  • Example Student turns in papers late
  • Internal lazy, partying all the time
  • External family problems, working,
    boy/girlfriend problems

Self-serving bias
Take credit for success (attribute
internally) But not for failure (attribute
externally) Maintains control and
consistence E.g. student will take credit for
doing well in an exam Student will blame test
difficulty or lecturers tough marking policy for
Self serving bias
  • Harré, Brandt Houkamau (2004)
  • The attributions of young drivers for their own
    and their friends' risky driving
  • Dispositional attributions e.g., "Showing off,
    acting cool" used more for friends than self
  • Situational attributions e.g., "In a hurry, late"
    used more for self than friends
  • Participants also rated their friends as taking
    more risks than themselves

The myth of pure evil
  • Tendency to interpret wrong-doers as depraved
    psychopaths Baumeister (1997)
  • E.g. demonising leaders of 'rogue' states
  • (part of fundamental attribution error see later)

Baumeister's narratives
  • People asked to describe a situation in which
    they were the angered someone and which they were
  • Found two distinct types of narrative that of
    the perpetrator and that of the victim

Perpetrator's narrative
  • The story begins with the harmful act. At the
    time I had good reasons for doing it. Perhaps I
    had been responding to extreme provocation. Or I
    was just reacting to the situation in a way that
    any reasonable person would. I had a perfect
    right to do what I did, and it's unfair to blame
    me for it. The harm was minor, and easily
    repaired, and I apologised. It's time to get over
    it, put it all behind us, let bygones be bygones

Victim's narrative
  • The story begins long before the harmful act,
    which was just the latest incident in a long
    history of mistreatment. The perpetrators
    actions were incoherent, senseless,
    incomprehensible. Either that or he was an
    abnormal sadist, motivated only by a desire to
    see me suffer, though I was completely innocent.
    The harm he did is grievous and irreparable, with
    effects that will last forever. None of us should
    forget it.

The moralisation gap
  • (Part of the self-serving bias)
  • We see ourselves as more moral than others and
    our reasons more justified and coherent
  • 'Why everyone (else) is a hypocrite' (Kurzban,

The Fundamental Attribution Error
  • Ross (1977) when observing behaviour people tend
  • Overestimate the significance of DISPOSITIONAL
  • Underestimate the significance of SITUATIONAL
  • Jones and Harris (1967) classic experiment
    illustrated this bias
  • Participant's had to rate people pro-Castro
    biases based on some writing they did

Jones and Harris (1967) Study Design
IV2 Writers Position
Pro-Castro Anti-Castro
Chosen Choice, Pro-Castro Choice, Anti-Castro
Not Chosen No Choice, Pro-Castro No Choice, Anti-Castro
IV1 Writers Ability to Choose position
Hypothesised Summary of Results
Summary of Results
Reasons for these attributions
  • Self serving bias
  • We wish to appear competent to other people (to
    influence them, gain their trust, gain their
    cooperation, etc)
  • Generally believing we are can encourage them to
    believe this
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Focus on individuals other influence is just
  • Less prominent in collectivist culture (Miller,

  • We sometimes believe our own lies
  • Participants asked to plan a study in which half
    of them have a pleasant and half an unpleasant
  • Ran in pairs participants asked to decide who
    did which task
  • Could choose themselves OR use a number generator
  • Most chose the easy task and said that this was
  • HOWEVER if they were asked while doing a memory
    span test they judged themselves harshly
  • Valdesolo DeSteno (2008)

  • Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance
When prophecy fails (Festinger, Riecken,
Schachter, 1956)
Studied an American cult called 'the
seekers' Believed that the world would end on
December 21st 1954 They would be rescued by a
flying saucer just before They had given up their
jobs, money, possessions and families The flying
saucer never came The world didn't end What
happened to their beliefs?
When prophecy fails
Festinger noted that rather than giving up their
beliefs the seekers redoubled their efforts to
recruit new followers They concluded that their
piety had been recognised and their actions had
saved humanity ! Why?
Cognitive dissonance
  • When there is conflict between a belief or
    attitude and an event or behaviour this produces
  • This is uncomfortable so to maintain consistency
    people are motivated to alter one of the elements
  • They can
  • Change their attitudes
  • Change their behaviour
  • Cognitively reappraise the situation

Examples of Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Attitudes Dissonant Element Source of Dissonance Strategy
Seekers believe that the world is going to end The world does not end Conflict between what was thought to happen and what happened Behavioural Fake the end of the world Attitudinal recognise that they were wrong Add consonant elements the world didn't end because of our efforts
A student believes hes intelligent and that intelligent people perform well at school He gets bad grades all the time Discrepancy between belief in intelligence and performance Behavioural Tries harder to get good grades Attitudinal Believes hes not that intelligent Add consonant elements I dont have time to study My teacher is rubbish and unfair Grades arent a good indicator of intelligence, anyway
Induced dissonance
Festinger Carlsmith (1954) participants had to
perform a dull task (turning pegs for an
hour) They paid either 1 or 20 for this They
were then asked to tell a potential participant
(stooge) that it was interesting They then rated
the interestingness of the task Who found the
task more interesting?
Induced Compliance
Rating of liking for the task
Source Festinger, L. Carlsmith, J.M. (1959).
Cognitive consequences of forced compliance.
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58,
Explaining this
  • Belief 'This is a dull task'
  • Behaviour 'This is an interesting task'
  • Therefore DISSONANCE
  • 20 group had a motivation for lying, 1 had none
    so had to internalise the attitude
  • ALSO if it is dull, why did I do it? Payment of
    20 give justification, 1 did not
  • Unpaid dull jobs seem less boring than paid ones

What is Aggression?
  • Definitions have some commonality Intent to
    harm (Carlson et al., 1989)
  • Means used in previous research to measure
  • Punching a inflatable plastic doll (Bandura et
    al., 1963)
  • Pushing a button to ostensibly deliver an
    electric shock (Buss, 1961)
  • Pencil-and-paper ratings by teachers and
    classmates of a childs aggressiveness (Eron,
  • Self-report of prior aggressive behaviour (Leyens
    et al., 1975)
  • Verbal expression of willingness to use violence
    (Geen, 1978)
  • Ethical considerations in level of aggressive
    acts people can be induced to do in experiments
  • The above measures are an analogue for measuring
    real aggression

Evolutionary/ethological theories
  • Aggression is natural and sensible (Lorenz, 1966
    Ardrey, 1966 Morris, 1967)
  • Innate aggression triggered by situation
  • Individual protects itself and its offspring from
  • Competition for resources (including mates)
  • In many mammalian species male-male aggression
    greater than other forms

Evolutionary/ethological theories of aggression
  • Aggression often doesn't lead to violence
  • Aggression 'displays' in animals and humans
  • Hope one animal backs down without risking costly
    fights (but this is principally intrasexual
  • When personal risk is lower, violence is more
    common across the animal kingdom (e.g. chimps,
    Goodall see later)

Theories of Aggression
  • Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis (Dollard et
    al., 1939)
  • Aggression the product of an anger response to
    the frustration of goals and desires
  • Aggression directed to perceived source of
  • e.g. terrorism might be spawned by chronic and
    acute frustration over the ineffectiveness of
    other means (e.g., negotiation) to achieve
    socio-economic goals
  • However, limited because frustrating events
    (e.g., job loss, refereeing decisions, traffic
    jams) lead to lots of frustration but seldom
    aggression (Berkowitz, 1993)

Theories of Aggression
  • Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977, 1997)
  • Observational learning (imitation and vicarious
    experience) during childhood may contribute to
    violent actions
  • Bobo doll experiments
  • Bandura et al. (1961) 4 year olds watched an
    adult playing with Bobo doll (5-foot inflated
    plastic doll)
  • Children exposed to the violent model displayed
    significantly more aggression toward the doll

Theories of Aggression
Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977, 1997)
Source Bandura Walter (1963)
Factors Influencing Aggression
  • Sex, Evolution and Socialisation
  • Men are more likely to engage in aggressive
    behaviour (Wrangham Peterson, 1996)
  • Men are also more likely to display aggressive
    attitudes and beliefs (Eagly Chaiken, 1993)
  • This may be due to
  • Elevated levels of androgens (e.g., testosterone)
  • Evolutionary benefit to aggression in terms of
    status and dominance
  • Socialisation of aggressive tendencies during

Human relationships
  • Fiske (1991) four basic types of human
  • Communal sharing
  • Share with no counting of cost (friendships,
  • Authority ranking
  • Dominance and hierarchies
  • Equality matching
  • Reciprocation, payment 'in kind'
  • Market pricing
  • As above but a 'token' economy (money)

  • Affiliation The urge to form connections and
    make contact with other people
  • The need to affiliate is powerful and pervasive
    across people and determine the formation of
    important interpersonal relationships (Baumeister
    Leary, 1995)
  • Affiliative behaviour Acts that indicate that a
    person (or organism) chooses to engage in social
    relationships with others
  • Governed by rules of Communal Sharing (Fiske,

With whom do we affiliate?
  • Generally people that are similar to us
  • Homophily (McPherson, Smith-Lovin Cook, 2001)
  • Also exists for social media where physical
    proximity isn't a requirement (Murthy, 2012)
  • Similarity reduces conflicts of interest and
    increases shared interest (important in
    cooperation, Tooby Cosmides, 1996)

Power, dominance, obedience and conformity
  • To what extent are we 'wired' for dominance (c.f.
    Fiske's authority ranking)?
  • Obedience and authority
  • Conformity to group norms

  • Most non-human primate societies organised into
    dominance hierarchies (male and female)
  • Brain regions associated with dominance
    (periacquaductal gray, hypothalamus, amygdala)
  • All contain testosterone receptors (Panksepp,
  • Anterior preoptic hypothalamus twice as large in
    men as women

Testosterone and male dominance
  • Testosterone associated with violence (Dabs
    Dabs, 2000)
  • Principle focus is on male dominance violence not
    violence per se
  • Higher in high status men, both a cause and an
    effect of status (Dabs Dabs, 2000)
  • Increases following a win in sport, decreases
    following a loss (Johnson et al, 2006)
  • Similar results for women but less pronounced

Social influence
Being influenced
  • Obedience explicitly complying with
    instructions usually from an authority figure
  • Conformity implicit compliance, usually to
    group norms or high-status people
  • Compliance can describe both of the above

Social influence processes
  • Milgram (1963) Classic but controversial study
    of compliance under duress from an expert
  • In Milgrams study, participants were asked to
    deliver different voltages (0-450 volts) as a
  • to the learner in a mock learning experiment
  • Milgrams question was at what point would
    subjects refuse to deliver shock to another

Social influence processes
  • Results Near lethal electric shocks applied to
    stooge connected to apparatus in the mock
    learning trial (65 administered the full 450v)
  • Milgram (1974) explained that subjects felt under
    pressure but did not believe that the
    experimenter would allow harm to come to
  • Nothing is bleaker than the sight of a person
    striving yet not fully able to control his own
    behaviour in a situation of consequence to him
    (Milgram, 1974, pp. xiii) .

Milgrams studies
  • Sample to participants at 45 Volts
  • 75V Ugh!
  • 150V Get me out of here! My hearts starting to
    bother me! I refuse to go on! Let me out!
  • 180V I cant stand the pain!
  • 220V Let me out! Let me out!
  • 270V Agonised screams
  • 300V Refuse to answer and agonised screams
  • 315V Intensely agonised screams
  • 345V on Silence
  • Throughout if the participant was hesitating,
    the experimenter told him/her to go on.

Social influence processes
  • Milgrams study replicated in both male and
    female groups
  • Replicated in many countries
  • Spain and Holland 90 compliance rate (Meeus
    Raaijmakers, 1986)
  • Italy, Germany, Austria 80 (Mantell, 1971)
  • Australian men 40, Australian women 16
    (Kilham Mann, 1974)

Social influence processes
Obedience Explanations
  • One explanation is that people have committed
    themselves to an action that was difficult to
  • Immediacy is an influential factor how close a
    person is to the learner
  • Unseen and unheard 100 compliance
  • Pounding on the wall 62.5
  • Visible during experiment 40
  • Holding hand to electrode 30 (!)

Obedience 40 years on
  • Burger (2008) replicated (as much as he could)
    the Milgram study
  • 70 still went up to 150 Volts
  • But twice as many (30) disobeyed the
  • Things are changing but not as much as we might

  • All of these people were inexperienced in torture
    !, well educated, and clinically normal
  • Psychopathy, sadists and torturers tend to
    habituate to their particular role (Baumeister,
  • They can come to enjoy it following repeated

Conforming to the group
  • Stanford prison experiment (Haney, Banks,
    Zimbardo, 1973)
  • UG students volunteered to participate in the
    study 2-week study
  • Randomly assigned to roles of prisoners and
  • Guards given power over prisoners control of
    resources, mete out rewards and punishment

Power and Influence
  • Entire basement of Stanford University Psychology
    Department used to set up a mock prison
  • Prisoners were arrested at their residences,
    made to wear prison issue uniforms (dresses),
    placed in cells, limited freedom to exercise,
  • Guards observed to resort to tyranny
  • and anti-social behaviours to keep
  • prisoners in line

Power and Influence
  • Brutality of the guards and suffering of the
    prisoners resulted in the experiment being
    abandoned after only 6 days
  • Suggestion that guards were depersonalised in the
    group and their role losing their individuality
  • Therefore tyranny was embedded in the
    psychology of powerful groups group of people
    in social roles create group norms and comply
    with them
  • Group norms acceptable beliefs and behaviours
    in a group

Social influence processes
Conformity Asch (1952) Classic experiment
examining normative influence effects.
Estimation of line lengths by individual in group
comprised of experimenters confederates
Social influence processes
  • Conformity
  • Results 37 gave erroneous errors compared to
    0.7 in control group. Powerful effects of
    conformity but dependent upon a number of
  • The ambiguity of the task
  • The group structure (one or more deviants)
  • Individual differences
  • Cultural expectations of conformity
  • Bond and Smiths (1996) meta-analysis of 133
    studies using Aschs paradigm found that
    conformity was significantly higher in
    collectivist cultures.

Pro and anti-social behaviour
  • The bystander effect
  • The case(?) of Kitty Genovaise murdered following
    a 30 minute attack
  • No one helped, no one called the police
  • Lataney Darley (1979) 80 failed to respond
    when stooge also failed, when alone only 30
    failed to respond

Research on Prosocial and Altruistic Behaviour
  • Research into prosocial behaviour and altruism
    was stimulated by the Kitty Genovese murder
  • Despite a horrific attack lasting 30 minutes not
    one of her neighbours assisted or called the
  • The story became the journalistic sensation of
    the decade. Apathy, cried the newspapers.
    Indifference, said columnist and commentators.
    Moral callousness, dehumanisation, loss of
    concern for our fellow man added preachers,
    professors and sermonisers. Movies, television
    specials, plays and books explored this incident
    and many like it. Americans became concerned with
    their lack of concern (Latané Darley, 1976, p.

Bystander effect
  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • People use others as a source of information (if
    they don't respond, maybe everything is OK)
  • Often fear of putting oneself in danger (why
    should I be the first to stand up to the
  • People (usually) more likely to help when alone

Pluralistic ignorance
  • An explanation for why people engage in some
    anti-social behaviour
  • Everyone does something because they assume
    everyone expects them to (and often incorrectly)
  • Similar to Asch's conformity studies
  • A few true believers can cause an idea to spread
    among non-adherents (Centola, Willer Macy, 2005)

PI and the false consensusWiller, Kuwabara
Macy (2005)
  • Participants sampled wine (one spiked with
  • An 'expert' pronounced the spiked wine the best
  • Everyone agreed except a stooge who pronounced it
  • Everyone rated everyone else in public or private
  • Those rating in public derogated the stooge's
  • Those rating in private praised his honesty

Increasing pro-social behaviour
  • Reduce anonymity
  • People are concerned about their reputation
  • Permit punishment
  • Sounds odd but if there is a comeback people are
    nicer (Fehr Gachter, 1999)
  • Education about the lives and feelings of others
  • Need to see the consequences of action (Pinker,

  • Stereotypes

Stereotypes and stigma
  • Greek stereos solid, typos impression
  • A cognitive shortcut enabling us to think about
    categories of individuals without the (important)
    clutter of individual variation
  • Think of a bird
  • How big is it?
  • What does it eat?
  • How does it get about?

Stereotypes and stigma
  • Generalisations are (usually) OK with birds, but
    with people they can cause problems
  • Each individual inherits stereotypical group
  • Sometimes based on ignorance
  • Often have negative connotations (c.f. Out-group

Sex Stereotypes and Discrimination
  • Sex stereotyping social stereotypes of women as
    nice and incompetent and men as competent but
    not so nice prevail across cultures and in both
    genders! (Fiske, 1998)
  • But research suggests that people do not actually
    describe themselves in terms of this sex
    stereotype (Martin, 1987) (e.g., women and
  • People actually represent the sexes as
  • Housewife Businessman
  • Sexy woman Macho man
  • Career woman
  • Feminist/athlete/lesbian
  • Men and women generally see women as more
    homogenous than men (Lorenzi-Cioldi et al., 1995)

Sex Stereotypes and Discrimination
  • Why are there these differential stereotypes
    which prevail across genders?
  • Sex roles Behaviour viewed as sex-stereotypically
  • Socialisation into sex roles so do sex
    stereotypes reflect actual differences in
    psychological factors or role assignment?
  • Very few differences on psychological dimensions,
    but large differences in terms of perceptions of
    sex roles
  • Therefore certain roles are sex typed (Eagly
    Steffen, 1984)
  • E.g. role assignment in jobs

Sex Stereotypes and Discrimination
Women Men
Restaurant servers Lawyers
Telephone operators Dentists
Secretaries Lorry drivers
Nurses Accountants
Babysitters Business executives
Dental hygienists Engineers
Nursery school teachers
Sex Stereotypes and Discrimination
  • Glass-ceiling effect Stereotypes prevent
    promotion due to competence perceptions e.g.
    female in upper management, males in flight
  • Maintaining sex stereotypes Media largely
    responsible unsubtle vs. subtle
  • Face-ism Media depiction gives greater
    prominence to the head and less prominence to the
    body for men, but vice-versa for women (Archer et
    al., 1983)

Sex Stereotypes and Attributions
By a MAN attributed to ability or high level of
Performance viewed as more deserving of reward or
Successful task performance
By a WOMAN attributed to luck or an easy task
Performance viewed as less deserving of reward or
Sex Stereotypes and Attribution
More to luck
Female actor
Ratings of Target
More to ability
Male task
Female task
Source Deaux and Emswiller (1974)
  • Racism Prejudice and discrimination against
    people based on ethnicity or race
  • Much research focused on anti-black attitudes
    among whites in the United States
  • Dramatic reduction in unfavourable attitudes
    since 1930s
  • Similar reduction toward ethnic minorities in
    Britain and Western Europe

Percentage of white respondents selecting trait
Source Dovidio et al. (1996)
New Racism
  • Racial stereotypes have not gone away but changed
  • Theories of new racism suggest that people
    experience conflict between prejudiced attitudes
    and modern egalitarian values
  • Although explicit attitudes might appear
    egalitarian, implicit 'attitudes' suggest that
    'racism' might still be at play

Theories of prejudice
  • Loads of these (see textbook) but important
    factors are
  • Official sanction
  • E.g. racial segregation in US South Africa
    women not being given the vote, anti-homosexual
    proclamations in religious texts inclusion on
    DSM II, etc, etc

Group behaviour
  • People affiliate with groups
  • Mostly these are enduring and rooted in history
  • Sometimes transitory and ephemeral
  • Group are one way we achieve more than as
  • But they can be dysfunctional

Group Polarisation
  • Polarisation refers to the enhancement of the
    dominant group perception or opinion after
    discussion/negotiation (Moscovici Zavalloni,
  • People become more polarised from initial
    starting position e.g. Myers and Bishop (1970)
    prejudice levels after a group discussion

Group Polarisation
  • Three Theoretical Explanations
  • Normative influence People maintain their
    beliefs in the socially desirable direction so as
    not to stand out
  • Informational influence (Isenberg, 1986) New
    information is made available and the shift is a
    function of the proportion of arguments in favour
    of one side, their clarity and novelty.
  • Social Identity (Turner et al., 1989) People
    construct a group norm and then conform to that
    norm, results in a polarised in-group norm.
    Processes of self-categorisation and
    deindividuation occur.

Minority vs. Majority
  • Minority Influence
  • Moscovici (1969) demonstrated that a minority can
    influence the majority perceptions if the
    minority were consistent and perceived as viable
    (couldnt be explained away in terms of dogma,
    eccentric, weird)
  • Mugny Papastamou (1980) found that minority
    groups can be influential if their message is
    consistent yet flexible and open to reach
    compromises c.f. Film about jurors 12 Angry Men

Minority vs. Majority
  • Majority Influence
  • Groupthink Psychological drive for consensus at
    any cost suppressing dissents and alternatives in
    cohesive decision making (Janis, 1972). Five
  • A cohesive group
  • High stakes
  • Insulated from external information
  • No searches for alternatives
  • Time pressure an urgency to decide
  • Directive leader

Minority vs. Majority
  • Majority Influence
  • Groupthink Symptoms
  • Illusion of moral high ground
  • Dissent from leader discouraged group norm
  • No consideration of strengths weaknesses
  • Not willing to listen to other opinions
  • Mindguards discourage dissent
  • Can lead to flawed decision making

Minority vs. Majority
  • Majority Influence
  • Groupthink Techniques to avoid
  • Criticism should be encouraged
  • Input for external non-group members
  • Sub-groups formed and feed-in to main group
  • Group leader should not be invulnerable

Groups and group conflict
  • The history of humanity is a history of
    inter-group conflict between
  • Countries
  • 20th Conflicts in Europe (inc. two world wars)
  • Religions
  • Northern Ireland protestants vs catholics
  • Ethnicities
  • Hutus versus Tutsis in Rwanda

  • In addition to personal affiliations and personal
    identities people also have a group or social
  • (or more correctly they can have many)

Social Identity Theory
  • Self-concept is linked with the social groups
    that we identify with
  • Tajfel (1979) proposed Social Identity Theory to
    explain how group concerns can become personal
    concerns and vice-versa
  • Aims to explain inter-group processes as well as
    how peoples cognitions are affected by group
  • People undergo an identification process that
    leads them to group affiliation

Social Identity Theory
  • Affiliation to groups is determined by 2
  • Social categorisation
  • Process in which people categorise social stimuli
    to reduce cognitive load
  • Social comparison
  • Tendency to make comparisons between groups and
    positively evaluate in-group members
  • Social Identity Theory has much to offer in
    explaining choices of group membership but also
    inter-group and intra-group behaviour (as we
    shall see later)

Self-Categorisation Theory
  • People in groups tend to categorise themselves as
    group members
  • Tend to internalise the attributes that are
    common to group members and make self-evaluations
  • E.g. Lawyers will assume the characteristics of
    other lawyers e.g. using legal-speak, wearing a
    suit in court, charging high fees etc.

Personal Identity
Social Identity
Group I.D. self- descriptions made in terms of
membership of social categories e.g. race, sex,
nationality, profession, religion, sports team,
hobbies etc.
Personal I.D. self- descriptions - denote
specific aspects of the individual
Turner (1982) These represent different levels
What is Intergroup Behaviour?
  • Intergroup behaviour is any perception,
    cognition, or behaviour that is influenced by
    peoples recognition that they and others are
    members of distinct social groups (Hogg
    Vaughan, 2005, p. 392)
  • Examples of intergroup behaviour
  • International and intra-national conflicts
  • Political confrontations
  • Interethnic relations
  • Negotiations between unions and management
  • Competitive team sports

Collective Violence
  • Race riots in Watts suburb of Los Angeles in 1965
    occurred after the perceived injustice of the
    arrest of 3 black family members
  • Tensions boiled over and riots broke out
  • 35m property was damaged, 34 people were killed,
    and the military had to be called in to restore
  • High level of unemployment, deprivation, and
    highly secularised (99 of the population were

Collective Violence
  • Race riots in South Central Los Angeles in 1992
    were seen as a direct response to the jury
    acquittal of 4 white policemen for the beating on
    Rodney King
  • Set against a background of rising unemployment
    and deep disadvantage in black communities
  • 50 dead and 2300 injured
  • Attacks symbolised by beating of white truck
    driver Reginald Denny

Intergroup conflict in non-humans
  • Ants, bees and other social insects will often
    experience intergroup rivalry
  • Chimpanzees have conflict over resources (Wilson
    Wrangham, 2003)
  • Especially (but not exclusively) when resources
    are scarce

Realistic Conflict
  • Competition between groups over scarce resources
    results in conflict and ethnocentrism
  • E.g., Sherifs (1966) summer camp experiments
  • Example of realistic intergroup hostility and
  • Four phases
  • Spontaneous friendship formation
  • Ingroup formation
  • Intergroup competition
  • Intergroup cooperation (superordinate goals)

Realistic Conflict
  • Notable points from Sherifs (1966) summer camp
  • Latent enthnocentrism existed in absence of
  • Ingroups formed despite the fact that friends
    were actually outgroup members
  • Prejudice, discrimination, and ethnocentrism
    arose as a consequence of real intergroup
  • Boys in summer camp did not have authoritarian or
    dogmatic personalities
  • Simple contact between members of opposing groups
    did not improve intergroup relations

Realistic Conflict Theory
  • Sherif (1966) proposed realistic conflict theory
  • Individuals who share common goals that require
    interdependence will tend to cooperate and form a
  • Individuals who have mutually exclusive goals
    (e.g., scarce resources) will be involved in
    inter-individual competition which prevents group
    formation and contributes to the collapse of an
    existing group
  • At the intergroup level, mutually exclusive goals
    between groups results in realistic intergroup
    conflict and ethnocentrism while shared
    (superordinate) goals results in cooperation

Social Identity Minimal Groups
  • Formation of groups spontaneously creates
    intergroup conflict and ethnocentric attitudes
    very quickly even without realistic conflict
  • Spontaneous emergent of conflict studied by
    Tajfel et al. (1971) using the minimal group
  • Minimal group paradigm Experimental methodology
    to investigate the effect of social
    categorisation alone on group behaviour
  • Truly a minimal group effect
  • Groups formed on a flimsy criterion
  • No past history or possible future
  • Members had no knowledge of other members
  • No self-interest in the money allocation task

Social Identity Minimal Groups
  • Allocation of points in grid game to ingroup and
    outgroup in minimal group paradigm
  • Four possible strategies
  • Fairness
  • Maximum joint profit
  • Maximum ingroup profit
  • Maximum difference

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Social Identity Minimal Groups
  • Therefore
  • Mere awareness of being in a group can influence
    individuals perceptions of other group members
  • Individuals become depersonalised group
    attributes rather than personal become salient
    in group situations
  • The group does not have to be well defined
  • Strong effect in hundreds of minimal group
    experiments which
  • Allocated people to groups completely randomly
  • Removed the money-points

  • Prejudice involves a negative attitude toward
    specific people based on their membership in an
    identified group
  • Three components of prejudice
  • Stereotypes are thoughts and beliefs about people
    based on their group membership
  • Strong emotional feelings about the object of
  • Predispositions to act in certain negative ways
    toward the group (discrimination)
  • Eliminating prejudice may require
  • Cognitive retraining
  • Increased group contact

Sources of Prejudice
  • Learning Prejudice is acquired through
    classical and operant conditioning and through
  • Cognitive processes People use mental shortcuts
    to categorise others
  • Ingroup versus outgroup categorisation
  • Economic/Political competition Prejudice arises
    when financial resources are limited
  • Displaced aggression Persons may displace their
    frustration onto non-threatening groups, a
    practice known as scapegoating
  • Black-sheep effect When an ingroup member
    holding attitudes dissonant to other group
    members is derogated (scapegoating)

Reducing group conflict
  • Realistic conflict theory (Sherif, 1966) suggests
    that the existence of superordinate goals and
    cooperation reduces intergroup hostility, also
    avoidance of mutually exclusive goals
  • Social identity theory (Tajfel Turner, 1979)
    suggests that hostility will be reduced if
    intergroup stereotypes become less derogatory and
    polarised and legitimised non-violent forms of
    intergroup competition exist
  • Jaw jaw rather than war war, sanctions etc.
  • Education?

Promoting inter-group co-operation
  • Solutions sought to break down out-group
    prejudice are...
  • (1) Promoting interpersonal contact to break-down
    attitudes derived from social comparison
  • (2) Creating super-ordinate goals to promote
    intergroup cooperation on a task with mutual
  • . Minimising importance of group boundaries and
    perceptions of group differences

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The process of civilisation
  • No one would deny prejudice and conflict are
    still with us
  • But things may be getting better
  • Although humans still have a dark side education
    and the rule of law means that it may be less
    prominent (see Pinker, 2011)

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  • It is in our genes to be social
  • But we are not a superorganism
  • Humans are conditional cooperators
  • We are wired to influence other and to form
  • We affiliate with groups
  • Which can lead to conflict
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