Social psychology studies people in groups. 


We’ve been looking, mostly at people in isolation.  But the question we’re going to deal with now is Nature v. Nurture.  You should know this one for testing purposes.


Here is an interesting way to think of nature v. Nurture:

Tell of the girl jeanie who was found in LA after having no contact with anyone.


If I were to have stolen you at birth and put you i a home in Japan, how would you be different?  Would it still be you?  Just with different parents and language and values?

How much of your life is nature and how much of you is nurture (society)


Talk of individual space in our society; do a fake sneeze.



How would you be different if raised in japan by another family?


Neuroscience looks at you as an individual machine.  Your moods, language, meaning, planning area etc.

But the software is largely provided by your social setting, not you. 

Freud would be criticised by social psychologist because its too personal and not about your social setting.


Social psychology looks at the individual in a social context.  Social being anytime not alone.

An example of this would be the bumming some money experiment.

They don’t think of the individual alone by themselves.


This got really big after WWII.  Hitler made people do such horrible things.



First there are Roles: A position in society .

list 5 roles


Status is the level of respect society gives.

What has more status, a doctor or a teacher?


What has more status, a  mother or a plumber.  What has more status a mother or a teacher.  Mother or Doctor?


What are roles she can have?                                                     What are roles he can have?

What of seamstress?   Maid?  Stay home with the baby?  Busboys?  Secretary?  Priest?  Fireman?


Norms.  These are rules for roles

Name ten norms/rules you follow.  Name ten norms/rules that you defy. 

All day long then you do norms.


Society controls you.  A good example is that you must stand a few feet away from peple.  Different countries have different distances that are normal. 


Behaviorism teaches you these.


You know that men in this society wear dresses to formal dinners, and women wear shorts.  Right!


What can we say about norms then? 

Norm violation is the content of much of drama or comedy.   He was on the beach and he was wearing boots with his bathing suit!!!


The groom burped at the table.  In some countries that’s a compliment.


Please write what you’re supposed to do in an elevator or a party or a football game. 

As a class, list ten things that make someone cool or dope.


Tell of high context societies and low context societies and my return from 9 months in Asia.

What are electricians supposed to do?  What are women to be like? 


We also have set up institutions that keep people in line: Prisons, detention, starvation.

We also react negatively to people that break social norms.


What is the first thing we ask about a newborn baby?  Is it a girl or a boy?  Why do we ask that?


What are the norms for girls.                                                                   boys



what gets boys kicked out of their social group?  What gets girls kicked out tof their social group?


Social realities

[what of when I told a strange group of youths to not be pigs. They say make me. I end up at the police station. Where is the final authority?  The young people throw food the mexican helper girl must pick up.  She starts to cry, they laugh]


Do you and a nutritionists see meals the same way?  What would a social psych person say of the decoration in your room.

Typical middle class 15-16 year old girl, part of a marketing wave that sold her that group via a sophicsticated marketing program.


Time is a weird one.  Why is there a thing called a week?    I want an 8 day week with a three day weekend.


If picasso was in the 12 th century?


What you are wearing was once scandalous beyond repar of your reputation. 

Reputation meant something that showed you were a hard worker.

Our worlds are different.  Good mustlims look out at a different world than you do. 

They see god and is will everywhere.



We have individual memories, but mostly filtered through symbolic asumptions of the present.  Our ideas of the past are different by group (beatles fans v. Marine biologists). 

Sociology of memory.  Memory archeology. 

Ask the class what memories their school has, what memories their family has, what memories they have with their friends or team. 


What memories do you have that are individual.  Aren’t most of them in a group? 

Families are kept together by a secret society of shared memories.


Psycholotherapy can be seen as the attempt to begin to test your own version of memories away from the family version    Family photo albums.


We have many “memories” of historical events and things we’ve never seen.  Sociobiographical memory of “our peoples” past can bring up feelings.  University’s hyphenated epartments are dedicated to this.  . 


Writing is very important in this, museums , monuments and preservation society projects serve national identity too.   Holidays co-memorate the past. History battles over who to include/holidays are hot.  Nixon to columbus to vietnam.


Informal v. Formal

We learn some roles formally.  Training on how to be a scientist, or a teacher or a psychologist.  Even how to be a student.  Mostly we learn roles formally.


Norms are often learned informally.  How to dress what to wear what to do in certain circumstances.

Social vision



Solomon Ashe’s Line study (1955)

 He asked participants in the study to look at three lines of varying length and to compare them with a standard line. 


For the first few the covert researchers gave the right answer.  But then they shifted to all giving the wrong answer.


About three fourths of the study parti cipants went along with the group opinion at least once.  one third went along at least half the time, and one fourth went along all the time.  They later said they knew the answers were incorrect, but went along anyways.


Prison study (zimbardo)

Imagine you’re walking home, the cops pull you over, strip you and spray you with anti lice stuff, give you a prison uniform, do your mug shot and put you behind bars.


Zimbardo did just that to students.  He took about 20 students and paid them to be part of an experiment. 

They were randomly assigned to be either prisoners or guards and were well paid.


Quickly, the prisoners got distressed, apathetic, rebellious.  After a few days half begged to get out.


More interesting were how quickly the “guards” adjusted to their roles.  A third became tyranical and cruel.   They were not given any instructions on how to guard.  But they were almost always abusive  One guard put a prisoner in a closet in solitary confinement.  Another paced up and down at night hitting his night stick into his hand.  He hid it from the experimenters because he thought them too “soft on the prisoners”.


The experiment had to be called off after just 6 days due to cruelty.  The prisoners were relieved, but the guards were all disappointed.


These folks were randomly assigned.  Peoples behaviors do depend on the roles they are asked to play.


Stanley Miligrams Obedience study

He put ads in the paper asking people to volunteer for an experiment on memory.  A range of people (men) showed up. 


People were randomly assigned to the learner group or the teacher group after sitting in a waiting room together.  Then the learner went behind a screen and the teacher was set up at a machine. 


The machine had labels on it that went from slight shock to Danger severe shock and finally and XXX.

The teacher was given a shock of 45 volts to show what the effect was.


The men then read a list of words in pairs.  Then they read the first of each pair and were asked to listen for the answer for the matching one.  When correct nothing happened.  When incorrect they administered a shock.  For each wrong answer, the voltage went up.


The researchers thought that most would refuse to go beyond 150 volts when the learner first demanded to be freed (except that 1 in 1000 sadistic freak).


At 300 volts the learner  pounded on the wall and screamed.  Yet 35 of 40 continued.  Nine more dropped out between 300 to 450 volts.    However the rest, nearly 2/3rds did it to the fullest.  Some as they wept , groaned stuttered did nervous laughter, bit their ips or dug their fingernails into their own palms and asked the experimenter to let them stop. 


But the researcher would just repeat “The experiment requires that you continue”.


They set up different conditions to see which factors affect obedience.  But virtually nothing stopped the obedience (even claims of heart conditions and screaming and no noise).


The researcher leaving the room led to lower shocks and lying about it.

The victim being in the room and the teacher having to apply the shocks to the body.

Conflicting demands of two researchers.

The researcher wearing ordinary clothes.

Other peers as teachers refusing.


The research was done more times with women and men and in other settings.   In each phase, at least half of the participants went through the entire series of shocks.


Miligrams parents were killed by the nazis in WW II.




Why do people conform


Americans are group o phobic.  Rugged cowboy individualism is part of our heritage.  Ironically, we conform by being different.  But even in our culture there is a remarkable amount of conformity.


Peole say they dress the way they want to.  But it is an odd coincidence that so many people coincidentally end up dressing the same.


But other countries cultures are way tighter.  They have much stricter guidlines for behavior.


1 - Friends.

Most people know that disagreeing with a group can make them unpopular.  Groups enforce agreement by first trying to make the person in quesiton conform.  Secondly, then becoming hostile and finally , isolating the person.


2 - greed.

You may do so to win a promotion or votes or keep your job.  But also, you want the company to succeed.  You want the country to win.  The families gain is your gain. 

In Korea and other asian countries this is assumed.  You never act as an individual.


3 - authority

If others insist or seem to have expertise, people follow their advice.

The Nurembourg trials.

Brainstorm what are some other reasons that people conform?


4 - Anonymity

tell of kitty genovese, the KKK with their sheets.  People will do horrible things in groups.

Do Parents matter?

Judith Rich Harris has written The Nurture Assumption.  The idea is that parents don’t matter. She says that Freud and psycholtherapy are full of pooh- pooh.  The idea that parents mold their children like play dough is wrong.

Before you get bent out of shape, think of this. What is a better predictor of whether a teenager wil become aq smoker, friends smoking or parents smoking.


Main Proof  - Child differences

Often a family will have three children in the same family and do they end up the same?  No!

I know of a student who is a serious spoiled brat.  Her mother works her butt off and is as good as you can get.  The girl is a spoiled rotten self centered brat.  This way the mother doesn’t have to blame herself. She says that Parents contribute a couple of things. 


One is they contribute DNA.  Children have temperaments.  impulsivity, aggression, thrill seeking, inteligence, shyness and outgoingness are 20 to 70 percent.  The rest is environment.  But the parents aren’t part of this.  The parents don’t have effect into adulthood. 


There are studies that say that children of divorce have a greater risk of academic failure and problem behavior like drug use and drinking.  But she says this proves nothing.  Being impulsime and aggressive makes you more likely to divorce.  You children get these genes.


Identical twin studies seem to support her genetic point of view.  



The world that folks share with their peers determine the sort of people they will be when they grow up.


The second thing that parents do is to choose a NEIGHBORHOOD.  That way the peer groups wil be agood influence. 


What she puts in place of the parents is the PEER GROUP.  A second grade girl identifies second grade girls and adopts their behavior. 

Attitudes, behaviors, speech and styles of dress and adornment, music choice  Later the nerdy kids go to the nerd group and the jock kid goes to the jock group and they become nerdier or jockier.


Do parents really matter article.  They are to summarize and write an a twenty liner with 4 underlined quotes.

(Is the relation between parents them or genetics or the community that shares the values too?  One way to tell is to look at children of immigrants.  The neighborhood values often aren’t like the parents.  Kids follow the hood.  Also, immigrant children end up speaking the language of the adopted country without an accent.


Studies have also shown that if a family moves to a new neighborhood, the kids adopt the mores of the neighborhood.  If welfare families were then scattered throughout middleclass neighborhood...Adult personalities are determined by your status as an adolescent and child within your peer group.


Social Cognition: Attributions

Attribution: to consider caused by.

Generally there are two different types of attribution. 

            1 You attribute the effect to the situation (Joe stole because his family was hungry).

            2 You attribute the effect to the disposition (Joe is a bad man)


The fundamental attribution error is that people attribute errors to disposition much more than situations.


A mock game show experiment showed this. Researchers randomly picked one person to be the contestant and the other to be the quiz master.  The quizmaster asked the contestant questions from the quizmasters head.  The contestant got about 40% right.  The audiences said that the quizmaster was smarter.  This was so even though the selection process wasn’t hidden from the audience.


In an experiment someone was nasty to the subject.  The person then was or wasn’t told that the person was instructed to be nasty or friendly.  Whether told or not they believed the impression to be true. 

The other person’s behavior was seen as being part of them.


We tend to believe that sales people and airplane people are friendly people.

We also think movie stars are like the characters they portray.


This attribution error works for others, but not for ourselves.  We ourselves escape the situational explanation most of the time.


Others are clumsy, the floor we were walking on was wet.

People on welfare are lazy.  I couldn’t find a job because the manager...


He asked for it!  Not me but him for the bad stuff.


The self serving bias is our tendancy to blame the situation for what we do wrong and take credit fo r what we do right.


 When people do good they take credit for it and when people do bad the situation made them do it.

People that fail a test say that it was unfair (maybe because it just covered the parts that they hadn’t studied).  Those who do well, did well because they studied.


It has been found that depressed people are very situtational.  They say that their lives are out of their control.



Who makes friends with whom?  The biggest determinant is proximity.  People that live in the same apartment complex or sit next to eachother in a class.


One study found that more than half of the people that took out licenses for marriage live within 16 blocks of eachother. 

The farther apart engaged people live, the less likely that they will get married.


Similarity is the second factor.  Do birds of a feather flock together? Yes.

Elementary school students like those that perform about as well as they do in sports, music and academics.


A study of high school best friends found they resembled each other in age, race, year in school and grades.


Longevity of marriage is positively correlated with similar race, religion, educational background, family background, income, attractiveness, outgoingness and drinking and smoking habits.


A study of marriages found that people that get married are usually very close on these scales.

If the princess kissed a frog and it turned into a peasant...


Family roles

Do family handout where they must play parts.


Males get hit hardest

It used to be that men were very important.  He was the breadwinner, he was the dad, he was the man.

What happened?


 He says the decline of males starts with the pill.

Women used to get pregnant young and then be stuck.  The shotgun came out and then they became mothers. 

With the pill women became empowered to have sex with more than one dude. 

They also became, for the first time in history to time their births.


With the girls messing around, purity became less important and paternity certainty declined.

Whose fault is the pregnancy?  The guys! no the girls should have taken the darn pill.

In 1955, 6% of white teenagers became pregnant out of marriage, 41% of blacks.  By 1985 the numbers were 42% for light skinned and 90% for dark.


Girls progress earlier than boys and do better at school.

In the 1990s women earned 7.6 more than in 1979 men earn 14% less.


Women now earn 40% of family income.  In the early 1990s 1 of 6 women earned more than their husbands.  By 1996 is was 1 in 3.


When men lose their jobs they lose their testosterone.

Read “article concerning whether or not fathers matter”


Sociology handouts

Do the hand outs in which they must compare demographics. 

They must twice choose two statistics and say that one caused the other.


Then show the article on the importance of families and then do 1/2 the one saying that dads are going extinct.


Ask why the family is disappearing, then what the import for the individual is, then what the import to society is.

Differentiate cause and effect v. correlation



The way in which you tell cause and effect from correlation is to use controls.


If I say that fathers not being there causes poor performance in schools.  

What else could be correlated with this that could cause it?

Economics, drug use, Noone being home.  abuse, family size.


Watch blue eyes seg in


What are the controls here?  The people are of the same age, economic, parent family


We are our societies



After the empiricists a heavy question hangs in the air.  The question is can we any longer, be mystics?  Has spirituallism been killed.  Hume said all metaphysics is worthleass and meaningless and a distraction from the real world.


For Hegel  all is mind.  Unlike Plato, he believes that ideas do not exist in removed unchanging world.   All is made of ideas changing in this world.


Reality is the whole truth captured by our minds, as we understand it.



Mind only exists in society.


Society is bigger than you.

Hegel said that there were “objective”powers such as family , society,  and government.  These things exist before, during and after the individual.  The individual just inhabits them. 


You learn a language.  The language exists beofre and after you.  It fills you up to replicate it. 

The marriage traditions exist before you, you merely inhabit them.


Each society has its own philosophy and spirit. 


If we look at societies they are all different.  So many have existed and so many died.  But they all had an essence.  This is seen in its art, philosophy, music, religion, and government.


All these things are part of society and a society has ideas.  These are bigger than you.  And, you are just a poor representative of the ideals of a society.




Society is an organism.  Each play a part in keeping its spirit alive.  ORGANICISM says, though , that none can live outside of their society.  A liver cannot live outside the body.  A heart either.  Nor can the artist or the individual.


In every such age there is a Zeitgeist ( a spirit of the time)

The spirit is kept alive by many individuals all persuing their desires.  But their desires come from the society.


Society is kept alive by individuals.  But they get their values, beliefs, attitudes from the cultural totality of which they are a dependent part.


So actually the individual doesn’t exist.


Look at India video

read africa article

Read latino article


Write 5 things you’d like to see and 5 things you’d like not to see in society.


The five things you’d not like to see in society, you have guess what causes them to get rid of them.


Summarize the mental health system hand out.  (till managed care, then skip to baby boomers)


Old, Young and middle aged people don’t mix.




technology is killing society

-Social networks-

Human social networks are breaking down. 

Recall that TV is not good for children.  Not even discovery channel.  Because it is you sitting. 


The first assault to face to face was the telephone. 

Even talk over the phone lacks the signals that come from facial gestures and nuance of mood.


Face to face interface is being replaced by human to video or human to email.

With no access to our species feedback mechanisms we may become less trustworthy.


The presence of another human builds relationships.  Intimacy and trust are enhanced. 

Answering machines and e-mail don’t foster that in the same way. 


Discuss how  email communication is different.  When we hear an answering machine we do the unthinkable.  Decide whether or not to respond to the voice of our closest friend or hang up.  This has psychic reprocusions.


What about the airplane?  People no longer live in the same city as their family.



On line shopping.  Malls will go away at some point.

There were once movie theatres.  Then came video.  With that you still had to go to the store.  Next...


Virtual conferences and telecommuting limit human contct in th e business world. 

Justifying the time and cost of business trips will get harder and harder as tele-travel gets easier and cheaper. 


Eventually meeting or knowing someone with whom we work will be viewed as a coincidence.  



Telecourses are getting bigger and bigger.  I did a couple in university.  Our classes were satellited to other schools.  At the end of the hour they would call in with questions. 

Poor countries are doing this a lot.  Cheaper than hiring lots of professors you don’t have.


If one feels lonely, you may want to ask how many hours you’ve spent with humans recently.


The world becomes hyper-real

When the media is better than life, the world has gotten hyper-real.

It means that life must try to imitate media.  You must try to be as good as TV.

It is hyper real.  This, that we live in is only real.  TV , video games, movies, models are all part of hyper reality.


History as movie.  History can’t compete with the movie “gladiator”. 

Which is the real and which is the pale imitation?


We talk of movies, and movie stars, because our lives can’t compete. No matter how much we try to be like TV.


Music is mostly played by machines now.  Who needs a band? 


Anorexia seems to be a tv disease.  The average model weighs 110 lbs and is 5’10’.  The average woman is 145 lbs and 5’4”.  The woman tries to keep up with TV.  She cannot.  The real is on tv.  The fake is off tv.


People dream less.  That’s because we’ve done everything on tv.  And tv is better.  the movie “road trip”  why take a road trip.  a real one would never be as great as the movie.


The 5 things that you wanted to see in society, are they as good as media things?  NO!


Where do you go when the movie is over? We have conquored physical reality, now when the movie is over we wear retro clothes.  Is retro the a matter of nostalgia, or the mourning of the death of meaning?


These images have become what we are.  They hide nothing.  It is the ultimate in self serving bias to think of yourself as not living under a media cloud . 


Society becomes beholden to, trapped by a shadow of hyper-reality.


The emergence of the subconscious

Discuss how we’ve gone from being social beings (in which the social constricted everyone’s behavior) to anonymous (in which our subconscious minds run free).  This progresses through the family TV viewing scenario.  It will help us find out if freud was right about the id.


social psych v. biology

The assumption of social psychology has been that environment causes many social problems.  But as genetics get  more and more important the assumption is that social problems are genetic.


Many homeless people have mental problems.  We’ll see more of the attitude that we can’t help people.

What if we think we can find genes that predispose people to criminal conduct?

Nearly one of four young black men are in jail or on parole.  How will genetic advances change our perception of that situation.   It is a very dangerous social psych tendency.


Legal scholars believe that the courts will increasingly rely on brain scans in determining sentencing and making parole decisions.


We now have amazing amounts of kids on ritalin.  Teachers tend to give up on kids that they think are genetically unable.  Then thyey may get discriminated against again if employers find out.


This can create a genetic underclass.



People have always been discriminated agains by different criteria.    The new upcoming discrimination will be based on genetics.


Already its harder to get insurance if your family has a predisposition to a disease.  Soon they’ll be able to prove it thouroughly and quickly.


They can screen your tendency to get sick due to toxins and then breed people to work in toxins.  If you have a certain disposition you may not be able to get a job.  They can check your disposition for depression and emotional instability. 


The head start program has been very successful. 


Therapuetic uses

1 - Other cultural perspectives

Asian countries generally put the country above the individual.

Do meditation and mention of how the idea is to get rid of the self.  All problems come from the three impurities.

What you liked in a relationship wouldn’t be considered as much.  The deal is made by the parents who are looking to trade up.


Islamic countries put god above the individual.  If you were born in islam then your life would be a discipline concerned with prayer and getting closer to god.  5 times a day.


2- analyzing the mental health system

What do we as a society do for the mentally ill?  What are our budgets.  Is our philosophy one of out care?  What do we do with the insane that end up in the prisons?


2 - Anticipating psych. problems via trends

There are more single women and angry men. 

What to do for them.

tell folks there’s comfort in numbers.


3 - useful explainations of ideas of social psychology

ex.  situation v. disposition

no matter what you explain, if people can then make sense of their word intellectually, not just emotionally , it is helpful.


Only the west puts this much emphasis on the individual.  Russians (quasi west) were very unhappy with Freudian psychology.  They asked how can a psychology put all responsibility for happiness inside the head of the individual.


 Explain that people have trouble interculturally when they attribut the behavior to someone else’s internal characteristics, instead of culture and that there is money in the comparative psychology for international business arena.