Response-Stimulus-Response model of
learning (R-S-R)
Behavior produces an environmental effect
which affects the likelihood of similar behavior
in the future.
*Behaviors are shaped by the
consequences they produce.
Positive Reinforcement – When stimulus events
have the effect of increasing the probability
that a response will occur again.
Negative Reinforcement – Removing a stimulus,
usually an aversive one, when this removal
makes a specified response more likely
to occur.
Punishment – Presentation of a stimulus that
makes a specified response LESS likely.
The bottom line is: We repeat behaviors which have, in
the past, produced reinforcement, and we shy away from
behaviors which have produced punishment.
Other Important Terms:
Extinction – A decrease in strength of a conditioned
response when it is no longer reinforced.
Shaping – Reinforcing successive approximations to
some final response.
Social Learning Theory
A person learns through conditioning, but also by
vicarious reinforcement (i.e., observers increase
behavior for which they have seen others
The heart of this approach says that we learn
through observation/imitation. This is a process
Motor Reproduction
Individuals are viewed as trying to maximize rewards
and minimize costs.
Outcomes = Rewards – Costs
(Rewards include anything positive, desirable.
Costs include anything negative, undesirable.)
One of the most reliable sociological findings is that
people’s attitudes and behaviors vary according to the
social position they occupy in the social structure.
Structural Role Theory would say that people are like
actors following a script (role consensus is assumed).
Consider the term, role conflict. In essence, this can
occur when a person experiences two of his/her
roles “colliding”.
The Fundamental Attribution Error
The tendency to discount the role of the
situation in affecting a person’s behavior
and to over-estimate the importance of personal
or dispositional factors.
Why do we commit this error?
A key point of Lovaglia’s: The situation is much more
powerful than we think!
How might a person use this information?
Statements about what is good and positive
for you.
Techniques: making positive statements
(in writing and/or verbally); visualizing
Can affirmations work?? If so, why?
Social Psychology tells us…Affirmations are
behavior; we become what we do.
Self-Perception Theory
Just as we observe others’ behavior, we also
observe our own behavior. We infer how we
feel by observing our own behavior.
Consider your attitude on an important topic.
List the people and experiences that have contributed to
the development of this attitude.
What is an “attitude”?
A relatively enduring organization of
beliefs around an object or situation.
(Each attitude is really a package
of beliefs).
How do we acquire attitudes?
Instrumental Conditioning
Direct Experience
Genetic Factors
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Overturns the common sense notion that:
“Dissonance” is a state of tension produced when elements are in
Think of it this way (Equilibrium Process Model):
equilibrium-----------dissonance-producing situation------------------dissonance ----------attitude change---------equilibrium
How can we reduce dissonance?
Selective attention
Lower expectations
Seek support
When is dissonance likely?
After making a big decision.
When there is inadequate external justification for behavior.
(“external justification” is situationally-determined)
e.g., Festinger & Carlsmith study, 1957)
The key idea: If we can’t find sufficient external justification for our
behavior, then we attempt to justify internally, by changing our
attitude in the direction of our behavior.
George Herbert Mead
Herbert Blumer coined the term, “symbolic
Blumer’s Propositions:
Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings that
things have for them.
These meanings arise out of social interaction.
Social action results from a fitting together of individual lines of
Two Schools of Thought: the Chicago School and the
Iowa School
Symbolic Interactionism
This perspective emphasizes the production of society
as an ongoing process of negotiation among social
1. Symbols transfer meaning in human interaction.
2. The individual becomes humanized (socialized) through
interaction with people.
3. Reality is a process.
4. Human beings have the ability to act upon
the environment.
What kind of image do we get of the human actor?
active, creative, shapers of our own reality, goal-seeking
Symbolic Interactionism
Key Terms:
Definition of the Situation – One’s cognitive idea
of his/her place in social time and space
that constrains behavior.
Taking the Role of the Other
Application: Labeling
Symbolic Interactionism
Distinction between signs and symbols:
A sign is directly connected to an object
or event and calls forth a fixed or
habitual response.
A symbol is something that people
create and use to stand for
something else. (e.g., object,
gesture, word)
Symbolic Communication & Language
Communication requires 2 things: Speaking & Listening
What do we mean when we say to our interaction
partner: “Are you listening to me?!”
Listening requires our responsive attention.
“pseudo-listening” – We really aren’t paying
attention to what the other person
is saying, although we act as if we are.
What are some listening situations that are difficult?
Symbolic Communication & Language
Two types of meaning:
denotative meaning – The literal, explicit
properties associated with a word.
(The dictionary meaning)
connotative meaning – Cognitive and emotional
responses one has to a word.
(These meanings are personal)
Importance of social context – Who are we with, and
what is the situation?
Symbolic Communication & Language
Nonverbal Communication
paralanguage – All vocal aspects of speech other
than words.
body language – The silent movement of
body parts.
interpersonal spacing – How we position ourselves
at varying distances and angles from others.
choice of personal effects – Choices of clothing, etc.
Fun with images
What do you see here?
Two Group Portraits
What's that in the middle?
Young Woman/Old Woman
The perceptual process involves a sequence of external
events followed by internal events.
Visual agnosia is a neurological disorder characterized
by the inability to recognize familiar objects.
physical behavior
verbal behavior
dispositional traits
1. Primacy Effect – People rely more heavily on the
first information they get on a person and tend to discount
later information.
2. Implicit Personality Theory – Network of assumptions people
make about the relationship among traits and behaviors.
3. Stereotypes – Given a group membership, we assume traits
about a person.
Attribution – The process of inferring the
cause of others’ behavior.
Attribution Theory is concerned with how
people assign causes to events.
2 types of explanations of behavior:
dispositional & situational attributions
1. Fundamental Attribution Error
2. Actor-Observer Differences – A difference
between two points of view (that of the actor
and the observer).
3. Self-Serving Bias – The tendency we have to
attribute positive outcomes to our own
dispositions and negative outcomes to
situational causes.
4. Self-Defeating Bias – Undesirable behavior is
attributed to negative aspects of the self.
Harold Kelley’s Attribution Theory
We use 3 types of information in making decisions about
the causation of action in a situation:
1. Distinctiveness – Observe actor in similar situations.
(low distinctiveness implies personal cause;
high distinctiveness implies situational cause).
2. Consensus – Compare actor’s behavior to others’.
(low consensus implies personal cause;
high consensus implies situational cause)
3. Consistency – Observe actor’s behavior over time.
(low consistency implies situational cause;
high consistency implies personal cause)
Other factors that are relevant to attribution:
Do we like the person whose behavior we are observing?
Is there a reward or punishment attached to the behavior?
Applications of Attribution Theory:
Appraisals (e.g., self/peer/subordinate)
Marketing (e.g., advertising – do consumers attribute claims
about a product to the company’s desire to sell the product, or to
actual, positive attributes of the product?)
Socialization is the process by which we acquire
those modes of thinking, acting, and feeling that
enable us to participate in the larger human community.
Agents of Socialization are persons or institutions
which influence our thoughts and behaviors.
Reciprocal Socialization – Recognizes that socialization
is not a one-way process; e.g., kids influence adults.
Developmental psychologist Kenneth Kaye
“frames” – Tools that parents/adults use
to organize time and space for child.
Examples: nurturant, protective,
instrumental, feedback,
Socialization is like an apprenticeship (i.e., it is
a process; it is relational).
Social Learning Theory
Socialization is accomplished through two processes:
1. Direct Learning – We are first
socialized via our parents’ rewards
and punishments (i.e., external
reinforcement). Over time, we control our
own behavior through self-reinforcement
(internalization makes this possible).
2. Observation/Modeling
Piaget – Cognitive Developmental Theory
Socialization is a process by which the individual develops from
simple to complex. 4 stages:
1. Sensorimotor
object permanence, cause-effect, recognitory schemes
2. Pre-Operational
knowledge of symbols
3. Concrete Operational
concrete operations such as conservation
and serialization
4. Formal Operational
abstract thought
Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson
8 Psychosocial Stages:
1. Trust vs. Mistrust
2. Autonomy vs. Doubt
3. Initiative vs. Guilt
4. Industry vs. Inferiority
5. Identity vs. Role Confusion
6. Intimacy vs. Isolation
7. Generativity vs. Self-Absorption
8. Integrity vs. Despair
Piaget’s Theory of Moral Development
1. The Pre-Moral Period
2. Heteronomous Morality – Strong respect for
rules. Child is likely to judge the
naughtiness of an act by its objective
consequences rather than the actor’s
3. Autonomous Morality – Rules are viewed as
arbitrary agreements that can be
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development – 3 levels:
1. Pre-conventional – Oriented to personal needs.
2. Conventional – Oriented to social rules.
3. Post-Conventional – Oriented toward making
autonomous decisions.
These developmental models feature stages that are
step-wise and sequential – i.e., people go through the
stages one after another. But…might individuals
regress in their morality? Also, might one’s actual
behavior fail to correspond to his/her moral judgments?
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory – The key is the
process of identification.
Social Learning Theory – Imitation, reinforcement.
Cognitive Development Theory – Gender is an
organizing scheme for the developing child.
Symbolic Interactionism – “doing gender” refers
to seeing gender as an activity accomplished
through social interaction.
Resocialization – The process through which adults
learn new values, norms, and expectations when they
leave old roles and enter new ones.
Total Institutions – Place where individuals are cut off from the wider
society for an appreciable period and where together they lead an
enclosed, formally administered life.
 Contact with outside world controlled; new recruits & inmates not
allowed to see family, old friends, former associates.
 Examples: Army, prisons, mental hospitals, convents,
 The “Stripping process”
Cooley’s Looking-Glass Self
The process through which we develop our sense
of self based upon the reactions of other people
to our actions.
G.H. Mead’s Stages to Becoming a Self:
1. The Play Stage
2. The Game Stage
3. The Generalized Other
Two aspects of the self: “I” and “Me”
self-concept: The sum total of beliefs you have
about yourself.
self-esteem: The evaluative component of the
situated self: The subset of self-concepts that
constitutes the self we know in a particular
self-monitoring: Extent to which people use information
about the environment as a basis for modifying
mutable self: A self-concept that is highly
adaptive to rapid social and cultural change.
Identity Salience
Our identities are organized hierarchically based
on salience. Implications?
1. The higher the salience of an identity,
the more often we will try to draw
on that identity.
2. If a given identity is defined as highly
important, we will be more inclined
to develop it.
3. Highly salient identities can carry over.
Aaron Beck’s concept of “personal domain” –
Inclusive notion of what a person’s self consists
of; everything that you care about and that is
important for you to maintain. For example:
personal goals/motives
moral rules/principles
significant others
groups that have symbolic significance
Appearance and the Self
Consider the tee shirt.
What gets communicated via tee shirts? (e.g., think about
messages of style, politics, status, interests, beliefs, etc.)
Characterized by the “cognitive triad” (Aaron Beck, MD)
1. negative conception of self
2. negative interpretation of life experiences
3. fatalistic view of the future
The depressed person engages in “selective abstraction” –
overinterpreting daily events in terms of loss.
Cognitive Therapy and Depression
What we consciously think is what mainly
determines how we feel. 5 tactics:
1. Learn to recognize automatic thoughts (ATs).
2. Learn to dispute the ATs by marshaling contrary
3. Learn to make different attributions (reattributions)
and use them to dispute your ATs.
4. Learn how to distract yourself from depressing
5. Learn to recognize and question assumptions that
govern much of what you do.
For Discussion:
Attributional style of depressed person: He/she
attributes bad events to causes that are internal, stable,
and global. Good results are believed to result from
situational, unstable, and specific causes (e.g., luck).
Attributional style of ‘non-depressed” person: He/she
takes a bright view of good events, attributing them to
internal, stable, global causes, and also a bright view of
bad events, attributing them to situational, unstable,
specific causes.
Do those who are depressed take an unrealistically dark
view? OR, do the non-depressed take an unrealistically
bright view?
Consider the studies by Alloy and Abramson in the 1970s -- People
who are not depressed distort reality, while those who are
depressed judge reality more accurately. Non-depressed subjects
had an “illusion of control”.
Applications of this knowledge…
Langer and Rodin’s study of residents in a nursing home –
residents who were given increased control over their lives
were more active, sociable, and vigorous than those who were
not given increased control.
Other applications?
Optimism and Illusion
Martin Seligman’s theory of learned helplessness
says that when people see that how they respond
has no effect on a problem, they learn not to
respond to problems in their lives.
Seligman distinguishes between a pessimistic and
an optimistic attributional style:
Pessimistic: permanence, stability, self-blame
(these factors lead to helplessness)
3 Crucial Dimensions to your attributional style:
1. Permanence (permanent vs. temporary)
2. Pervasiveness (universal vs. specific)
3. Personalization (internal vs. external)
Good Outcome – the optimist attributes this
internally and stable; the pessimist attributes this
externally, unstable.
Bad Outcome – the optimist attributes this
externally, unstable; the pessimist attributes this
internally, stable.
How can we influence
* Smile at people
* Physical Attractiveness
(this is a “central trait”)
* Apologize when you
offend someone
* Self-Disclosure
* Impression
Impression Management
This approach comes from Erving Goffman. It is also
known as “self-presentation theory” or “dramaturgical
Front Stage – Where we try to manage our impressions.
Back Stage - Where we plan.
Use of props – Just as in theater, we use objects in
our environment.
Impression Management
Self-Presentation Strategies:
* Intimidation
* Supplication
* Self-Promotion
* Ingratiation
What happens if we fail in our presentation of self?
We feel embarrassed.
We help one another save face.
Impression Management
Another motive for impression management:
self-construction (i.e., constructing a public image
that is congruent with one’s ideal self)
In our efforts to maintain a positive image, consider the
importance of “definition of the situation”.
We attempt to align our definitions and actions with one
another. We may use techniques, such as:
“disclaimers” and “accounts”
What we bring to a social gathering:
How do these things affect our presentation of self?
Ethnomethodology – The study of the everyday,
common-sense understandings that people have of the
world around them. (Harold Garfinkel)
“breaching experiments” – Disrupt normal
Why do people get so upset when apparently
minor conventions of talk are not followed?
Why study the common place?
Garfinkel’s “etcetera principle” – We use certain words or
phrases in interaction to gloss over possible disruptions
or misunderstandings – e.g., “you know,” “and so on”.
Other examples?
“Playing the Game” – Conversing with others about
topics even though you do not have any expertise in the
When can this be dangerous?
What if we were to refrain from playing the game?
In what ways are people “victims” of persuasion
every day? (i.e., what are the sources of persuasion?)
Are you and I susceptible to persuasion?
“the third person effect of communication” – When exposed to an
advertisement or some other form of persuasive communication,
we commonly think that it has a greater effect on others than on
What are the factors that make a person persuasive?
* Credibility
* Attractiveness
* Content of message
* Maintaining a positive mood
* Leading questions
* High status
The Persuaders (PBS Frontline Program, 2004)
Consider the ubiquity of advertising – people trying to figure out how
to persuade us what to buy, whom to trust, what to think.
What impact is this having on us?
The Persuaders program explores the idea that Americans are
seeking and finding a sort of identity in buying/joining a brand.
What is this about?
Is advertising a business or an art form?
Structural Role Theory
Role is seen as the set of expectations that society
places on an individual.
Role consensus is assumed.
How does the interactionist perspective differ?
Role is seen as something that is constantly
negotiated between individuals.
Secord & Backman - Negotiated Role Theory
>> Roles emerge out of an interactional process.
>> Rather than following rules, people are assumed to
follow goals.
When is role negotiation an especially important
determinant of role behavior?
* Limits of role are broad
* Role expectations held by actors are not in agreement
* Actor’s characteristics preclude performing role in
usual way
* Situational demands interfere
* Other roles intrude upon performance
* Actor and role partner have relatively equal power
Role-Taking – An imaginative process in which we
evaluate ourselves and our actions from the
standpoint of others.
How do we acquire role-taking abilities?
1. Social experiences
2. Conventionality of identities and performances
3. Familiarity
Role-Making – Constructing a role performance that
fits with the definition of the situation while also
remaining attuned to personal goals and inclinations.
What is required in role-making?
>> self-consciousness (i.e., knowing who you are and
in what situation you are operating)
>> role-taking
A Challenge: Role Making in Role Exits
What happens when we find ourselves exiting from
certain roles? We must disengage from the
expectations and self-perceptions with the role.
Emotional Aspects of Interaction
Arlie Hochschild
feeling rules – Prescriptions for how we ought to feel
in given situations.
emotion work – Attempts to change, in degree or
quality, an emotion or feeling (surface acting or
deep acting).
Emotions and Role Attachments
Role Embracement – Identifying strongly with a role
and allowing it to shape how we think, feel, act,
and interact with others.
Role Distance – Performing role in a detached way;
our sense of self is not invested in the role.
Social Structure & Personality
Social Structure – Consists of positions, roles, social
For any position we identify, there is a role and a set of social
networks associated with that position.
Status at work – In work settings, there is a hierarchy, just as in
society at large there is hierarchy, ranking, stratification.
“status characteristics” – Distinctive parts of a person’s
identity; include both ascribed and achieved statuses.
Our status characteristics are the basis on which
others have expectations of us.
Social Structure & Personality
Occupational experience varies on three
Closeness of supervision
Routinization of work
Substantive complexity of the work
Occupational Roles and Physical Health
Two key ways in which occupational
roles affect physical health:
1) exposing workers to health
hazards, 2) stress
Social Structure & Personality
We have two kinds of energy:
adaptation energy, which is capable of being replenished
within a 24-hour period;
energy reserves, which are your stores of energy
Distinction between “stress” and “stressor”:
Stress is the utilization of energy beyond that which can
be replenished in a 24-hour period.
Stressor is an environmental event which calls for
special efforts of adaptation.
Social Structure & Personality
David Elkind says that a person’s attitude toward
stressors is extremely important in determining whether
he/she will experience stress.
STRESSOR -----> Interpretation----> Attitude
Social Structure & Personality
Gender and Work
 The way we are socialized as children is reflected in
our adult relationships and work experiences.
For example, think about what children learn through types of
Think, too, about types of “talk” (e.g., “report talk” vs. “rapport
Prejudice and Discrimination
Origins of prejudice:
Conflict Theory – Prejudice stems from competition among social
groups over valued commodities or opportunities.
Social Categorization – People generally divide the social world into
two distinct categories: “us” and “them.”
We may commit the ultimate attribution error, which is the tendency
to attribute desirable behaviors by members of our in-groups to
stable, internal causes, but attribute desirable behaviors by
members of out-groups to external causes.
Social Learning – Prejudice is learned.
Stereotypes – These generalizations about the typical characteristics of
members of various groups exert strong effects on the way we
process information.
Illusion of Out-group Homogeneity – This is the tendency to perceive
persons belonging to groups other than our own as all alike.
Prejudice and Discrimination
Ways to combat prejudice and discrimination:
Contact Hypothesis – Increase the degree of contact between
different groups.
Re-Categorization – Eliminate “us-them” boundaries.
Reduce the impact of stereotypes
Group Dynamics
Primary Groups – Characterized by face-to-face communication,
cooperation, permanence.
Secondary Groups – Characterized by formality, task-orientation, and
being short-lived.
Functions of group membership – i.e., why do we join particular
 Help satisfy psychological and social needs.
 Help us achieve goals.
 Provide us with knowledge and information.
 Contributes to the establishment of a positive social identity.
Group Dynamics
Social Facilitation – The finding that the presence of others
enhances performance on easy tasks and impairs
performance on difficult tasks.
Social Loafing – A reduction in individual output.
Cohesiveness in groups – Exemplified by the use of “we”
and “us” instead of “I” and “me”; joking & laughter;
early arrival/late departure; nonverbals.
Groupthink – Group decision-making style characterized by
an excessive tendency among members to seek
Group Dynamics
Famous study: Stanley Milgram (1960s)
At least 3 factors have been identified as affecting
the degree of obedience:
1. the authority figure
2. the proximity of the victim
3. the experimental procedure
Group Dynamics
Conformity – The tendency to change perceptions,
opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent with
group norms.
Well-known social psychological study:
Asch’s experiment in 1951
Why do people conform? reference groups,
informational influence, normative influence,
identification, cohesiveness, social support
How can we explain non-conformity?
Group Dynamics
Compliance – Efforts to influence others through direct
techniques: ingratiation, “foot-in-the-door,” and
“door-in-the face”
Love is not just a private
phenomenon; it is part of
our public culture. Love
is a narrative.
3 components of love:
intimacy, passion,
What is the difference
between love and
The Romantic-Love Ideal (5 beliefs):
1. Love at first sight.
2. One true love.
3. Love conquers all.
4. Our beloved is perfect.
5. Follow feelings.
Love is powerful – e.g., allows people to accomplish
things; overcome great obstacles. Also, love is powerful
in the sense that, for two people in a romantic
relationship, love gives each power over the other. From
Social Exchange Theory, consider the terms:
Comparison Level (CL) – The minimum level of
positive outcome one expects in a relationship.
Comparison Level for Alternatives (CLalt) – The
minimum level of positive outcome one will accept
in a relationship, given his/her alternatives.
Sociological conception of deviance:
*Deviance is much more than a personal characteristic.
*Deviance can be viewed as a form of social control.
*Nothing is inherently deviant.
*Deviance can be understood in terms of choice,
selection, and purpose.
*Diversity is often labeled deviance.
stigma – Any physical or social attribute or sign that
devalues an actor’s social identity such that he/she
is disqualified from full social acceptance.
Goffman distinguished 4 types of stigma:
abominations of the body, blemishes of character,
tribal stigma, courtesy stigma
2 basic strategies that deviants use to manage stigma:
1. try to hide or change the stigmatizing condition
2. learn to live with the stigma
Deviance in everyday life
“Everyday deviances” are occasional slip-ups which
temporarily mark individuals as nonconforming or
awkward. In an attempt to avoid these everyday
deviances, we make an effort to control:
Techniques we may need to draw upon: disclaimers,
Social Psychological Theories of Deviance
Social Control Theory – The stronger one’s bond to
society, the less likely is deviant behavior.
When one’s bond to society is weak or broken,
then deviant behavior may result.
Travis Hirschi identified 4 components of the social bond:
attachment, commitment, involvement, beliefs.
Differential Association Theory – Deviance is learned
through association with others. The likelihood that
a person will engage in deviant activity depends on
the frequency of association with those who
encourage norm violation compared with those who
encourage conformity.
Labeling Theory – Focuses on the process by which the
social audience creates deviance and deviants by
so defining the acts and actors that way.
Collective Behavior
Collective Behavior – Relatively spontaneous activity,
involving a large number of people, that doesn’t conform
to established norms.
In situations of collective behavior, at least 4 features are
free play of emotions (people experience “emotional
high degree of personal influence
give and take of political competition
emergence of transitory opinions and allegiances
Collective Behavior
Theories of collective behavior:
Contagion Theory – Crowds can exert a hypnotic
influence on their members.
Convergence Theory – There is like-mindedness
before the group comes together.
Emergent Norm Theory – Patterns of behavior
emerge within the crowd.
Collective Behavior
Examples of collective behavior:
Crowds (types include casual, conventional, expressive,
acting, and protest)
Riots – Characterized as highly emotional, involving
violence and destruction, and no clear goal.
Stages: precipitating event, confrontation,
the carnival phase, siege
Rumor – Unsubstantiated information spread informally.
Fads & Fashions
Social Movements
A social movement refers to a collection of individuals
who organize together to achieve or prevent some social
or political change.
There is a direct link between social movements and
social change.
Deprivation Theory – attempting to bring about a more
just state of affairs
Resource Mobilization Theory – success requires
money, labor, contacts with the media, etc.
Social Movements
What may draw people into participating in a
social movement?
Mass Society Theory would say that social
movements attract socially isolated people.
Social Networks – People may get involved because
of relationships they have with others who
already belong to the movement.
The ideological appeal made by the movement
might draw people in to the movement.
Understanding Aggression
Freud’s Instinct Theory – We have an innate urge to
Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis – When we are
frustrated, we become motivated to aggress.
Arousal Transfer Model – Arousal in one situation can be
transferred to a second situation.
Social Learning Theory – We learn to behave aggressively by
imitating others.
Situational Impacts on Aggression – i.e., What
characteristics of a situation might lead to acts of
1. Reinforcements
2. Modeling
3. Norms (e.g., retribution, revenge)
4. Stress
5. Aggressive Cues
Personal Causes of Aggression:
1. Type A behavior
2. Hostile Attribution Bias – The tendency to perceive
hostile intent in others, even when it’s totally lacking.
3. Shame
How can aggressive behavior be reduced?
1. Reducing Frustration
2. Punishing Aggression
3. Non-aggressive Models
4. Catharsis
Plus, cultivating empathy.
Empathy is the ability to appreciate the
feelings and perspectives of others.
Prosocial Behavior
Why people help others:
1. Sociobiological Explanation – Ensure survival of your genes.
2. Social Evolution Explanation – Adaptive for the survival of society.
3. Good Mood Effect – The effect whereby a good mood increases
helping behavior.
4. Negative State Relief Model – The proposition that people help
others in order to counteract their own feelings of sadness.
5. Guilt – This feeling may lead us to help others in order to feel better
about ourselves.
6. Social Norms – e.g., norm of reciprocity, norm of equity,
norm of social responsibility
7. Personal Norms – An individual’s feeling of moral obligation to
provide help when needed.
8. Characteristics of the person in need.
Prosocial Behavior
In emergency situations, people often do not become
involved; why don’t people help?
Latane & Darley conducted research studies in the
1970s, arriving at the bystander effect, which is the
effect whereby the presence of others inhibits helping.
Prosocial Behavior
Steps in the decision-making process involved in
emergency interventions:
Notice that something is happening.
Interpret the event as an emergency.
Take responsibility.
Decide how to help.
Research Methods
Basic Methods used in Social Psychology:
Survey Research
Participant Observation
Consider strengths and weaknesses of each method.
Ethics in Research
Studies which generated debate (e.g., Milgram’s
Obedience Studies, Zimbardo’s Prison Study)
Importance of informed consent and debriefing.
informed consent – Giving research participants as
full a description of the procedures as
possible, prior to their participation.
debriefing – After the procedure, giving the
participants a full explanation of the study.
Review for Final Exam
Sandstrom book: Chapters 6, 7, 8
Lovaglia book: Appendix
 Topics:
 Deviance
 Collective Behavior
 Social Movements
 Aggressive Behavior
 Prosocial Behavior
 Methods
The exam will consist of:
 40 multiple choice (29 from new material, 11 from previous
 1 essay (Think about the books for this class. What was each
attempting to do?)

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