Social Psychology

Report
Social Psychology
Karen Thomson
Department of Psychology
Glasgow Caledonian University
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Definition of Social Psychology:How the presence of (imagined or real) others influences our thoughts,
feelings and behaviours
Topics to be covered:• Communication - non-vocal behaviour
- paralanguage
• Attitudes - nature; formation; measurement
- cognitive dissonance
- persuasion
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Aggression & altruism
The Self - self concept and self esteem
Groups and identity - leadership
Social Influence - conformity
- compliance
- obedience
Communication
• Verbal communication in the form of language, is better for
conveying logical or abstract ideas.
• Non-verbal communication is regarded as better for
conveying emotions, the type of relationship existing
between two people and regulating/ manipulating
interpersonal interaction.
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Basic facial expressions (Ekman, 1980)
Personal Space
Paralanguage
Detection of deception (DePaulo et al., 2003)
• Non verbal communication & mental health (Hall, 1966;
Jourard, 1966; Argyle & Ingham, 1972)
Consider typical communication
disruptions for the following
disorders...
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Sensory Impaired
Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Other Childhood Disorders
Cognitive Disorders
Schizophrenia
Attitudes:
The nature of attitudes
“An attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness, organised through
experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s
response to all objects and situations with which it is related” (Allport,
1935; 198)
Structural Approach (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975)
• Cognitive Component
• Affective Component
• Action Tendency Component
It is assumed that each of these components may vary in strength quite
independently of the others
Attitudes:
The formation of attitudes
Acquiring Attitudes via Social Learning
• Classical Conditioning
• Instrumental Conditioning
• Modelling
Acquiring Attitudes via Direct Experience
• Stronger
• Respond more quickly
• More resistant to change
Attitudes:
The Measurement of Attitudes
Direct Measures
• Self-reports
• Attitude scales
- verbal and non-verbal
- Thurstone scale (1928)
- Likert scales (1932)
- Semantic Differential scale
(Osgood, Suci & Tannendaum, 1957)
• Observations
Indirect Measures
• Subtle measurements
• Bogus lie detectors
- projective techniques
Attitudes: The relationship
between attitudes & behaviour
• LaPierre (1934)
• Wicker (1969) reviewed 47 studies between 1934 and 1969
and found a very weak correlation
• Intervening Factors
• Attitude Specificity
- a specific attitude
- a general attitude
Attitudes:
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
When people become aware that their attitudes are
inconsistent with their behaviour an uncomfortable state of
tension occurs - this is called cognitive dissonance
(Festinger, 1957)
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Festinger & Carlsmith (1959)
Dissonance is reduced by: • Changing attitudes so they are consistent with behaviour
• Changing beliefs about behaviour
• Acquiring new information
• Minimising the importance of the inconsistency.
Attitudes: Persuasion
The traditional approach to persuasion (The Yale Model)
• Source
• Communication
• Audience
There are 8 characteristics
of the source,
communication & audience
The cognitive approach concentrates on:• what we think about when being exposed to appeals
• how our thoughts determine whether, and to what extent we
experience attitude change
• cognitive heuristics
The Elaboration Likelihood Model
(ELM): Two routes to persuasion
High
Central
elaboration
route
Careful
processing of
Degree of attitude
change depends on
quality of argument
information
Persuasive
message
Low
Peripheral
elaboration
route
Careful processing of
information does not
occur
Attitude change
depends on
presence of
persuasive cues
(Petty & Cacioppo, 1986)
Persuasion
Fear-Based Appeals
VD study (Watson & Lashley, 1921)
• Using storyline techniques is risky since viewers follow the action rather
than the information
• Young people respond with flippancy to sex information
• Only work in the short term
• Incorrect information is retained
• Adolescents think they are invincible
Baggaley (1991) Reviewed all media campaigns on HIV/AIDS
When Attitude Change Fails:
Resistance to Persuasion
• Reactance - Protecting one’s personal freedom
• Forewarning - Prior knowledge of persuasive intent
• Selective Avoidance - A tendency to direct our attention
away from information that challenges our existing
attitudes

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