Está en la página 1de 23
WHAT IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? 1 WHAT IS SOCIAL PsycHoLoGY? being considered for their community. The researchers told the students that, to help them make up their minds, they would hear a tape of local candidate speaking in favor ‘ofthe issue ata political rally: What the students did not know was thatthe researchers had actually prepared four quite llferent tapes. On one tape, the candidate put forward compelling evidence in support of probation while an enthusiastic audience warmly applauded his words. On a second, the same effective presentation elicited scattered hisses, bos, and heckling from the audience. A third tape had the candidate giving ram- bing, specious, and disjointed anguments, which were met with enthtsiastic applause from the audience. And on the fourth tape, the weak arguments were greeted by boos and hissing, When the researchers polled the students whose interest i the probation issue was merely acaclemic, the impact of the audience’ taped response was lear. Students in this goup who heard the audience get the candidate’ postion with enthusiasm adopted the position themselves, and those who heard the audience voice disdain rejected the ‘candidate position. A completely different pattern of responses emerged among students ‘who expected the issie to affect their community These students focused on the content ofthe speech. They were swayed if they heard the candidate give cogent arguments but remained unperstaded i the arguments were weak regardless ofthe applause or hisses ofthe taped audience. Why were the reactions of cher people so compelling to some students and so unienportant to others? Why did some partictyants “go with the flow” ‘while others considered the issues carefully? Did some students care less than others bout being right, or were all ofthe students trying to take different paths tothe “truth?” ‘Like the Vanderbilt students, we are all bombarded daily by attempts to persuade us: advertising campaigns, paid political messages, even the cajoling of fiends and family Consider the las time you were persuaded by one of these attempts. What approach ‘was used by the person who persuaded you? Did that person present you with the hard facts, or did he oF she play on your emotions? If you were told that “everyone else" had already joined the parade, would you be more likely 1o go along.or more Wkly to rebel? (Or would it depend om the issue? Questions ike those raised by these studies lure social psychologists into their labs ‘every day in search of reliable answers, Social psychology offers a special perspective on Jruman behavior, because the socal aspects of human behavior—the ways that peoples ‘thoughts and actions are allected by other people—cai be both powerful and puzzling, ‘Gus goal irthie book eto ve you dhe Ligh ino ve cle act and wh they act the way they do, by introducing you to some of the many questions social psychologists ask about social behavior, the ways they go about answering those questions, and the answersthey have found. We know that you will find these questions intriguing and hope that the often surprising conclusions will make you want to delve more deeply into these compelling istes. Our frst step will be to provide a definition of social psychology” to chan out the territory we will be covering and to give you a glimpse of what makes the terrain so fascinating, We neat describe how social psychology developed its special perspective on ‘human behavior. Like other fields of human inquiny, contemporary social psychology ‘sa product ofits own history and of the history ofthe societies in which it developed. With a quick survey ofthe past behind us, we then map out the teritory ahead. The final part ofthe chapter provides sneak preview of the material we cover in the rest of A DEFINITION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY this book. To help you find your way with confidence, we point out some signposts and landmarks to look for along the route DEFINITION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Socal paychology isthe scientific study of the effects of social and cognitive processes on the way individuals perceive. influence, and relate 1o others. Notice that social psychology is defined as a science. that social psychologists areas keenly interested in underiying social and cognitive processes as they are in overt behavior. and that the ‘central concern of social psychology ts how people understand and interact wth others, Let us consider each ofthese components in turn. The Scientific Study... Socal psychologists, tke other scientists, gather knowledge systematically by means of ‘scentfc methods, These methods help to produce knowledge that ils subject tothe biases ond distortions that often characterize cammon-sense knowiedge. Ofcourse, you have been stidyiig social behavior all your life. Everyone uses common sense and “street smarts" to make sense ofthe social world they inhabit because we all ‘want 10 make good friends, reach mutually satisfying decisions, raise children properly hie the best personnel, and live im peace and security rather than in conflict and fear. How does the social psychologists approach killer from our everyday approaches? The answer is found in methods, not goals. Although scientific researchers and common- sense observers share many goals—both wish to understand, predict, and influence ‘people’ thoughts and bebavior—their methods for achieving those goals differ greatly As common-sense observers, people often teach conclussons about social behavior based on limited samples from their own or others’ experiences. Therefore common- sense knowledge is sometimes inconsistent, even contradictory. You may have heard, for example, that “opposites attract,” and also the reverse, that “binds ofa feather flock together.” As scientists, om the other hand, social psychologists study soctal behavior systematically, seeking to avoid the misconceptions and distortions that so often afflict cur common-sense knowledge. Ofcourse even scientific knowledge isnot infallible. The history of science shows that some findings from individual studies cannot be confirmed by further observation, and many conclusions proposed as scientific ruthsae eventually ‘overtumed by new insights. But as you will see in Chapter 2, scientific conclusions are sounder and more resistant to challenge than common-sense knowledge because they are hased on systematic methods of gathering information and are constructed with an awareness of the possibility of error. social peychology the stem study ofthe eles of stl and cognitive process the way indus perseve. tellence, and reset others 1 WHAT I5 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? socal procemes (he ways which np fro the people and groups aroun ws fle ‘ur thoughts lerings. and actions cognitive processes the ways in which our memories, perrpuons, thoughts, emotions 2nd maine nurse ur vrderstanding ofthe world rade ur ates . Of the Effects of Social and Cognitive Processes .. . ‘The presence of other people, the knowledge and opinions they pass on to ws, and ‘our feelings about the groups to which we belong all deeply influence us through social processes, whether we are with other people or clone. Our perceptions, ‘memories, emotions, and motives oso exert a pervasive influence on us through cognitive processes. Effects of social and cognitive processes are not separate but inextricably intertwined, A first date, a classroom presentation, job interview, a problem-solving session with co-workers: What do these situations bave in common? Each is a situation in which others chserve us or interact wit us, influencing ou thoughts, felings, and behavior. We ry tomake a good impression, tolive up tothe standards ofthe people we care about, to cooperate or compete with others 2s appropriate. These examples show the operation cof social processes Socal processes ate the ways in which our thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the people around us, the groups to which we belong, our personal relationships, the teachings of our parents and culture, and the pressures we experience from others. ‘Cognitive processes, on the other hand, are the ways in which our memories, per ceptions, thoughts. emotions, and motives guide on understanding of the world and our actions, Note that emotion and motivation are intrinsic pars of every cognitive process, just as are memory and thought. Modern social psychology rejects the misleading ‘opposition—dating hack to ancient Greek philosophers-—between pure, “rational” ‘thought and irrational emotions. Cognitive processes allect every aspect of our lives, because the content of our thoughts, the goals toward which we strive, and the feelings swe have about people and actvites—all the ways we act and react in the social world — are based on what we believe the world is ke Though we have defined them separately, in teahy, social and cognitive processes are inextricably intertwined. To illustrate their intimate connections, consider these two points First, social processes affect us even when others are not physically present: We are social creatures even when alone. Faced with an important decision, we often stop to tun about the possible reactions of absent friends, relatives, o fellow group members, and these thoughts can also influence us. Even during many of eur most private activ ities —writinga term paper, practicinga musical instrument, exercising, or showering — ‘we are motivated by our concer for what others think of us. Think about the last rime you rode an elevator in which you were the only passenger. We bet you stood acing the doors, just as you would have if other people had been physically present. Because our group memberships hecome part of who we ate they nfinence nseven when other group membersare absent, Whether other supporters are preset oF not, we tse ta the defense ‘of our pany’ political platlorm and fee elated about our sports teams victory. We react ‘im this way because our party or our team has become a basic part of our identity. In cases lke these, by considering the group inthe individual, social psychologists examine hhow people ae affected by their knowledge of what is expected of ther, that i, by their knowledge shout the belies, attitudes, and actions that are considered appropriate for members of their group. Photo 1.1 Group influence for from the group on the Way Individuals Perceive, Influence, and Relate to Others Seo! os effe the way hee the way porta 1B Why do many marriages end in divorce? 1 WHAT IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? to kiss and make up after a fight? Whereas sociologists might study the ellects of ‘unemployment on divorce rates in a society. social psychologists might instead ‘examine the ways that being unemployed causes conflict and divorce. by affecting ‘how the partners think about their relationship or bow they iry 10 influence one another. How do salespeople sell products?Have you ever found yourself eavinga store carrying an item that was different from what you entered the store 1o buy. wondering how you were manipulated into purchasing it? A social psychologist would be interested in knowing the social and cognitive processes that induced you to make the ‘purchase. For example, how can a sales pitch expertly pay onthe consumer needs, desires, oF feelings of guilt or obligation? Did the salesperson subtly hint that the product you asked about was unfashionable or outdated, while pushing a newer (and more expensive) item instead? in contrast. an economist might stiady whether ‘TV advertisements ot in-store promotions produce mote teal sales. What causes outbreaks of ethnic violence? Ar bstorian or journalist might document the unique events that sparked a particular conflict. To the social psychologist, however, intergroup hostility stems from fundamental aspects of the ways people think about and interact with members of diflerent groups. These include both competition for concrete resources (like jobs and political clout) and people’ aiitudes, emotions. and actions toward their own and ether socisl groups. Social Psychologists would ask whether the ways people categorize individuals into _g70ups. the stereotypes they form about others, thei preferences for people “just lke them,” or theit feelings of power or powerlessness contribute to intergroup hostility. ‘Thas, social psychology seeks an understanding ofthe reasons people act the way they do in socal situations. Such an understanding helps us explain events in our own lives: that disastrous first date, the successful job interview. the loneliness of being the new ‘kid om the Block. the hesitation we feel before making. major decision. It also helps us comprehend the factors that contribute 10 the complex events of our times: crime and violence, ethnic unrest and civil war, the spread of pandemic diseases, the destruction ‘of the global environment. And if we understand how people are influenced by social and cognitive processes. we can begin developing solutions for such pressing social problems (Walton, 2014). For example, knowing that stereotypes and prejudice about members of other religious groups may have contributed to vielent conic in the Middle East or Northern Ireland suggests that changing those beliefs might help 10 prevent recurrences. Infact, social-psychological research has been instrumental in exposing “workplace discrimination (Fiske, Bersoll, Bogda, Deaux, & Heilman, 1991) and inves: tigating why innocent people sometimes coness to crimes they did not commit (Kassin & Gudjonsson, 2004). I has suggested policies to increase people’ feelings of security and se-worth in their close relationships (Marigold, Holmes, & Ross. 2010) and 10 Improve classroom environments and performance for minority students (Walton & ‘Cohen, 2011). tt as also been influential in developing programs to reduce tensions in situations of intense intergroup conflict (Gross, Halperin, & Porat, 2013). Thus the sexial-psychological perspective invites snot only to understand but also to act on that understanding. HISTORICAL TRENDS AND CU ENT THEMES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY HISTORICAL TRENDS AND CURRENT THEMES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY How did social psychology come 10 develop its panicular point of view? Like any field of knowledge, social psychology isa product ofits past. The current focus ofits research reflects historical events of the 20th and 21st centuries, changing societal concerns, and Gevelopments in other scientific fields, as well as changes in the techniques social paychologists have used i their research. This brief survey of the fields history will place the field in context and serve as.a panta! explanation for where social psychology stands taday Social Psychology Becomes an Empirical Science Soon after the emergence of scientific psychology in the late 19th century, researchers, ‘began considering questions about social influences on human thought and action. From the time of the ancient Greeks, the study of the human condition was considered to be the domain of philosophy. Like social psychologists tod. eatly philosophers recognized the impact that other people can have on individual behavior. Plato, for ‘example, specnlated about the “crowd mand,” arguing that even the wisest individuals, assembled into a crowd, might be transformed into an irrational mob. Through the ers, philosophers continued to theorize about the workings of the human mind—and they still do—but the development of social psychology had to await the emergence of its parent discipline. the science of psychology. This new field was bom in the fate 19th century, when a few researchers in Germany, impressed by laboratory methods being used by physiologists, began to employ experimental techniques to understand mental processes like sensation, memory, and judgment. ‘The experimental investipation of socia-psycholigal issues began soon afterward, as researchers in Nonth America. Britain, and France began systematically measuring how behavior is influenced by the presence of others. A study published in 1898 by an “American researcher, Norman Triplett, is sometimes cited asthe frst research study in social psychology (G. W. Alipon, 1954a). Triplett, having noticed that swimmers and ‘cists performed better when competing against their rivals than when practicing by themselves, wondered whether the presence of other people has a generally beneficial lect on performance. To find out, he asked school children to wind fishing line onto reelsas quickly 2s possible, with and without others present, Sure enough. the children’s performance improved in the presence of others. This interesting finding, however, appeared to contradict a conclusion that Max Ringelmann, a French agricultural eng ‘eet, had reached in an even earlier study conducted in the 1880s. Ringelmann found that when people worked together to pull on a rope or push on a cart they pat less dffon into the task than when they worked alone (Ringelmann, 1913). The study of group dflcison performance stil continues today, and we now know that Ringelmannis and Triplet’ results are not necessarily inconsistent. As you will see in Chapter 11, the presence of othets often facihtaes performance when individual contributions are easily identified, but it reduces performance when people are “lost in a enowd.” y 1 WHAT I5 SocIAL PSYCHOLOGY? For the first social psychologists, this puzzle was just one among many questions about how people influence one another Farly researchers also tackled questions about hhow facial expressions and body movements reveal people’ feelings, how people conform 10 the suggestions of others, andl the tole that experimenters might play in influencing the ouicomesof research (Haines ¢ Vaughan, 1979). The first wo textbooks bearing the name Social Psychology both appeared in 1908. One of these. by psychol- fogist Wiliam McDougal, angued that all social behavior stems from innate tendencies ‘or instinets.an idea that was popular throughout psychology at the time, The other. by sociologist E.A. Ross, took up the theme that was soon to become social psychology’s central concer: that people are heavily infhienced by others. whether those others are physically present or not Social Psychology Splits from General Psychology Over What Causes Behavior ‘Throughout much of the 20th century, North American psychology was dominated by ‘behaviors, but social psychologists maintained an emphasis on the Important effects ‘of thoughts and feelings on behavior. Although it arrived on the coattails of general psychology, social psychology soon ‘developed an identity distinct from that of its parent disciptine. Early in the 20th century. North American psychology asa whole became dominated by the behaviorist viewpoint. This perspective, exemplified by the work of John B. Watson and B. F Skinner, denied the scientific validity of explanations for behavior that invoke mental events like thoughts, feelings and emotions. For radical behaviorss, a legitimate science of human activity could be based only on the study of abservable behavior as influenced by ‘observable environmental stimu. “Most social psychologists, however. resisted the behaviorist view that thoughts and feelings had no place in scientific explanations. They accepted the behaviorists' argument thatthe ultimate goal of science is to explain behavior, but their studies showed that behavior could not be explained without taking into account peoples thoughts and feelings. Social psychologists learmed that individuals often bold divergent views of, and react in diflerent ways to, the same objector idea, be ta football game, a political «candidate, or capitalism. Such findings could be explained only by differences in individ uals’ attitudes, personality traits, impressions of others, group identifications, emotions, souls, and so lorth (EH. Allport, 1924). Behaviorists were certainly right in their belief that external stimu can influence behavior. However, social psychologists maintained thatthe effect of any stimulus depends on how individuals and groups interpret it. Right from the stan then, soxial psychology was distinctive in its conviction that under- standing, and measuring peoples perceptions, belies, and feelings are essential to understanding their oven bebavior (E.F. Jones, 1985). ISTORICAL TRENDS AND CURRENT THEMES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY ‘The Rise of Nazism Shapes the Development of Social Psychology Inthe 1930s and 1940s, many European social psychologists fled toNorth America, where they had a major influence on the field's direction. Significant questions generated by therise of Nazism and the Secand World War shaped research interests during this period. Iehas heen said that she one person who has had the most impact on the development of social psychology in North America is Adolf Hitler (Cartwright, 1979). lronic though this observation is, it contains important elements of truth Infact, both the events that ‘recipitated the Second World War and the war itself had a dramatic and lasing impact ‘on sxial psychology. ‘As Nazi domination spread actoss Europe in the 1930s, a number of psychologists fled their homelands to continue distinguished scientific careers in Nonth America. One ret was that the major growth in social paychology was concentrated in Nor America forthe next few decades. tn adalaion, this inflx of European researchers consolidated social psychology’ special emphasis on how people interpre! the world and how they are infuenced by others. Most European researchers were trained not in the behaviorist imation that was prominent in North America but in Gestalt theory. which sought to understand the niles underying the organization of perception, This school of thought took for granted the role cognitive processes play in our interpretations ofthe social world. Around the same time, researchers became increasingly impressed by anthro- pologists' accounts of the pervasiveness of cultural influences on peoples thoughts and behavior. It fell to social psychologists to identify the mechanisms by which such Influences occurred, and they soon developed techniques to perform realistic stakes of «complex social influences inthe laboratory: Muzafer Sheris (1936) elegant experiments, for example, showed that a social group can influence even a person’ perception and Interpretation of physical reality. as you will see in Chapter 9 But the war’ effect on social poychology went beyond bringinga new group of skied researchers to Noh America, Revelations of Nazi genocide led a horrified world to ask ‘questions about the ros of prejudice (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson. 6¢ Sanford 1950). How could people feel and at on such murderous hatred for Jews, homosexual, and members of ether groups? These questions sil resonate today as the world con- templates ethnic conflicts in Rwanda. Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Syria, and "gay bashing” on streets around the world Conditions created by the Second World War also drew social psychologists to the search for solutions to immediate practical problems. With food in short supply and rtioning in fall swing, the US. govemment asked social paychologgsts how to convince ivan to change their eating habits: to eat less steak and more kidneys and liver. to ‘rink more milk, and to fed their babies cod-lver oil and orange jue (Lewin, 1947) Social psychologists were also called on to help the military maintain troop morale, Improve the performance of aircraft and tank crews (Stoufler, 1949), and teach troops to resist enemy propaganda—and even to brush their teeth regularly (Hovland, Janis, & Kelley, 1959) ‘Social poyghologtsts flocked to applied research willingly, realizing that they would be able to develop and test general theories of behavior even as they solved practical problems, As we will seein Chapter 10, Kurt Lewin (1947) found that active participation 1. WHAT 15 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? tn discussion groups, by establishing behavior ina social context, was more effective in changing what women fed thet families than passive listening 1 lectures on the topic Lewin’ findings are still successfully applied in suppor groups like Weight Watchers, Gamblers Anonymous, and many other organizations, Samuel Stouffer (1949) research oon American soldiers’ morale showed that it depended more on the soldiers interpre- tations of how they were doing compared to other enlisted men than on how well they ‘were actually doing, Satislaction withthe rate of promotion, for example, was sometimes lower in units with higherthan-average promotion rates, Stouffer suggested that these units the soldiers expectations of promotion were high, setting them up for disap- pointment if ethers were promoted but they were not. The imporiance of comparisons with others and ways comparisons cin lead to feelings of relative deprivation are still Important topics in current social-psychologieal research. And, though we may be amused by Carl Hovlandsassignment of devising ways o perstade soldiers io brush their teeth regulary, current theories of persuasion build on his original demonstrations that persuasion depends on who delivers the messuge, who receives the message, and how the message is processed (Hovland and others, 1953) ‘During this crucial period of research and theery building, the work of one social psychologist in particular embodied the themes that characterized the younig discipline. ‘Kurt Lewin, one ofthe scientists who had fled Hitler, held that all behavior depends on the india’ if space. which he defined ava subjective map ofthe ndividuals.curmert souls and his or her social environment (Lewin, 1936), Perhaps you can see how Lewin’s Ideas sum up 10 of social psychology’s enduring themes: that peoples subjective interpretation of realty ts the key determinant of thet beliefs and behaviors, and that social influences structure those interpretations and behaviors. Lewin’ work also reflected the close link between research aimed at understanding the underlying social and cognitive causes of behavior and research aimed at solving, important social prob: lems, a link that will receive considerable attention throughout this book. Lewin had a pit for conducting research that combined the testing of theories with the solving of problems. As he put it, “There is nothing so practical asa good theory” (Lewin, 1951, p. 169), Growth and Integration Since the 19505 and 1960s, social psychology has grown and flourished, moving toward ‘an integrated theoretical understanding of social and cognitive processes and toword further applications of socia-psychologkal theory to important applied problems. Both basic and applied social psychology flourished in the United States during the prosperous 1950sand 1960s. Backed by expanding university enrolimentsand genewous goverriment grants, researchers addressed a great variety of topics central to under- standing social behavior Research contributions during this period lad the foundation's of what we now know about self-esteem, prejudice and stereotyping, conformity, per- suasion and attitude change, impression formation, interpersonal straction and intimate relationships, and intergroup relations, al stil key topics within social psychology today. HISTORICAL TRENDS AND CURRENT THEMES IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Doring the same period, as Europe recovered and rebuilt from the destruction of the war, social psychologists in several countries developed theoretical and research approaches to a wide range of topics, particularly those involving group memberships, influence within groups, and the olten-competitive relationships between groups (Dvise, 1978; Moscovici, 1980; Tafel, 1978). These emphases dated back toa European tmadition of research on the psychology of the crowd (LeBon, 1895/1947) and “folk psychology” or the study of common products of human groups such as culture and religion (Wund, 1916). By the 1970s, social psychology on both sides of the Atlantic had developed a set of reliable and repeatable findings. which is a mark of scientific maturity. The time was ripe for both interal integration. the melding of various specific topic areas into broader explanations of behuvior, and external integration, increasing attention to neighboring scientific fields and to significar social concerns. And so the ‘movement toward integration began. Integration of Cognitive and Social Processes. The study of cognitive processes ‘became a natural framework for integration both within and outside social psychology: As the tight grip of behaviorsm on North American psychology was finally broken. a cognitive revolution got under way in the 1960s (Neisser, 1967). Cogpiive themes and theones swifly gained attention n experimental, developmental, personality and even dlinical psychology. Of course, the cognitive revolution was no revolution for social psychology: Cognitive themes such as the importance of people’ interpretations in shaping their reactions to events were familiar to social psychologists because their foundations had been laid decades cartier in Aliports, Sherif, and Lewin’ work in the 1930s and in Stouffers and Hovland studies in the 1940s. Concepts such as attitudes, norms, and belies, already common currency in social psychology, began to be applied to new areas of study: personal relationships, aggression and altruism, stereotyping and discrimination. These applications were greatly faciitated during the 1970s and 1980s bythe adoption of research techihiques that had been found to be valuable by cognitive psychologists studying perception and memory. Thus, theoretical concems and proven ‘experimental methods converged as researchers in many areas of social psychology focused on the study of cognitive processes (E. E. Jones, 1985) ‘Concern with cognitive processes is only one sie ofthe coin, however. Socal psy- chologists have always beea aware that social processes, including personal and group relationships and social inluence, also impinge on everything people do. True, our behavior sa function of our perceptions and interpretations and ourattitudesand behets, but those factors in turn are fundamentally shaped by our relationships to others, our thoughts about their reactions, and the group membership that help us define who we are (Marks, Kitayanna, & Heiman, 1996), Scientific understanding of the way social and ‘copitive processes work together to mold all social behavior has benefited from the tncreasing integration of North American soil psychology with European socal psycho og, where the impact of socal group memberships had long been a dominant theme. Taday, researchers in all domains of social psychology are weaving together the elects of ‘engnitive and socal processes provide explanations of peoples experience and behavior. ‘Integration with Other Research Trends. As the world became more interconnected Inthe late 20th century ands sal psychological rseatch spread to many more regions 1 WHAT Is SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? ‘of the globe, researchers were confronted with findings showing that even what had been regarded as “basic” processes ciffered sitikingly m different nations and cultures Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). For exansple, Noah Americans tend to explain behaviors by referring to characteristics of the actor, and this ad been considered to be a fundamental human tendency. However. Chinese and other East Asians usually ‘sve explanations bused on other people's social expectations (Mortis 6& Peng, 1994) Even seemingly basic visual processes such as susceptibility to optical illusions can difier substantially from one culture to another (Henrich, 2008). Researchers have now advanced beyond merely cataloging such cultural differences in cognitive and social processes. to developing theories of when and why the differences occur (Kitayama & ska, 2011). As you wil see at many points throurhout the book, social psychologists ‘ae now integrating these theories with the principles oftheir awn science to arrive at a fuller undersianding of what aspects of social behavior are especially sensitive vo cultural ‘contexts, as well as why. (Other newer theoretical trends are also becoming incorporated into sexial psycho- logical thinking (Kaschak & Manet. 2009). Evolutionary psychology emphasizes that Juans as well 3s other animals have evolved processes for solving specthic problems that have tecurted over evolutionary timespan. These processes sil lfect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors today, as we, for example, cooperate or compete in groups (Wibom, Van Vag, & O'Gorman, 2008) or choose dating and mating partners (Todd. Penke, Fasolo. & Lenton, 2007). The embodiment perspective argues that peoples thoughts and judgments are deeply intertwined with sensory experiences and bodily ‘movements rather than being based just on abstract knowledge. For example, researchers have found that when we perceive other peoples emotional fatal expressions. we subtly mimic those expressions with our own face—and if such mimicry is blocked, aceuracy ’m perceiving the others emotion decreases (Niedemthal, 2007), In other words, we use ‘our own bodies inthe process of perceiving others. A recent explosion of research on neuroscience has ied to the development of powerful research methods yielding new Insights into how our brains represent and process social information (Cacioppo. ermison, & Decety, 2011, The future is likely to bring even more integration of social psychological theory with cultural psychology, evolutionary principles, embodiment.and neuroscience as weil s other emerging perspectives. Integration of Basic Science and Social Problems. Car technological advancement by itself offer solutions to such global threats as resource depletion, environmental pollution, war and ethnic conflict, and overpopulation? Many people believe the answer tothat question tno. Instead solving such massive problems tequites profound changes in human behavior Social psychologists are attacking these and other crucial social problems, and this attack will equite thelr best theoretical eflorts, in this regard, social psychologists are lucy. Scientists in many other fies have to choose whether they will work on purely theoretical issues or apply their theoretical knowledge to practical problems. A materials scientist, for example, may seek to understand the nature of the molecular bonds that proxluce stronger materials, but i isthe engineer who will se the new materials to design an improved wind. turbine blade. Socia psychologists do not have 10 make this kind of choice, Itis dificult to think of a single area of social-psychollogical research that does Healt 2 lm 4 WHAT I5 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? ‘might leading questions and inadmissible evidence influence a jurors thinking? Does the minority opinion of a dissenting juror ever sway jury verdicts? From crime to conviction, social-psychological processes are at work as police enforce laws, juries ‘weigh evidence, and societies try to distribute justice, 8 Enviroment. Japanese commuters buy whifls of oxygen from coin-operated ‘machines in subways yields of Atlantic fisheries decline, and American motorists ‘waste hours in traffic jams. These human dimensions of environmental change are among those motivating social psychologists to discover how individuals can be encouraged to conserve enegy of to ecycle used materials. Others are working hard to determine the ways groups can be convinced to cooperate in harvesting renewable resources instead of overexploiting and destroying them, Business. From advertising and sales techniques to the pital of managerial decision ‘making and diversity in the workplace, social-psychological processes are the gears that drive the wheels of business, Consider, for example, the way elective leadership can mold diverse individuals into a smoothly functioning work team, whereas ineffective leadership generates only conflict, disatisaction, and low productivity In social psychology, the everyday world isnot just a place totest discoveries made during laboratory research. Instead, social psychologists regard issues that are important outside the laboratory, such as those listed here. as both a source of theoretical ideas and a target for solutions (Walton, 2014). HOW THE APPROACH OF THIS BOOK REFLECTS AN INTEGRATIVE PERSPECTIVE [Not surprisingly piven the way socal psychology has developed. our conception of socal psychology is an integrated one. In this text we share with you our view of social psychology as a field that integrates not only the cognitive and the social but also basic theory and applied research, We believe that all the diversity and richness of human social behavior can be understood in terms ofa few fundamental socal-psychological processes. These processes flow from eight principles: two fundamental axioms, three ‘motivational principles, and three processing principles. As the chapters in this book describe specific topies like atraction, aggression, altruism, and attitude change, we will show you how all these forms of social behavior {low from the interaction ofthese same fundamental principles. At ihe same time. seeing these principles at work indifferent settings. producing apparently different forms of social behavior, wll enhance your understanding of their meanings and implications Here we give you just a quick introduction to these basic principles and the processes that flow from them. Photo 1.3. Who is th 1 WHAT IS SOCIAL PsvcHoLocy? pervasiveness of social inflame the ash ha eter people snuene ala four thongs. elings. and behav, sehether hee there ae phycaly sen oF not ‘most members of Westem societies enjoy kissing. although the meaning ofthe kiss vanes, depending on whom we kiss andi how But when the Thonga of southeast Africa fist saw Europeans kissing, they were disgusted by what they regarded as “etingeach other’ saliva and din” (Hiyde, 1979, p. 18). Whether we are Thonga cattle herders or German university students, we tune ino others interpretations —our parents views about kisses or the cheers oF boos of an audience listening to a speech—and we use those inter- pretations asthe bass for our own responses. In this sense. person’ view ofthe world sat leas in part a reflection of what is seen inthe eyes of others Pervasiveness of Social Influence. We could probably all agree that other people influence our public behavior and that our actions in turn can influence what others say and do. Having supporters at our back gives is a bit more courage to speak out; face-to-face confrontations with detractors may frighten 1s into silence. Recall, however, that we said eartr that thers can influence us even when we art alone. The pervasiveness of soil influence reas that other people influence virtually ail of our thoughts. feelings. and behavior. whether those others are physically present or not. Our thoughts about others’ reactions and our ideification with social groups ‘mold our innermost perceptions, thoughts, elings. motives, and even our sense of sel Do you proudly think of yourself as an Ajax fan, a member of your temple, a citizen of (Canada? Our alleghances may be small-scale, such as membership in families, teams, and committees, or lange-scale. including afiiations based on race, ethnicity, religion, ‘gender, oF the society and culture in which we live. But whether the group is large or small, our membership init provides a frame and a filter through which we view social evens. The Dartmouth-Princeton game described at the begining of the chapter had 2 particular meaning for students from each schoo! and a quite different meaning for people who fek no allegiance 10 either team. Even among those on the same side, the ame meant different things tothe team members and their fans. We sometimes experience social influence as social pressure, as when we encounter an aggressive salesperson or are given the cold shoulder or radiculed for holding a politica opinion tat differs rom our friends. But social mfluence is most profound when itis leas evident: when it shapes our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about the world without our realizing it. The reactions of the Princeton antd Dartmouth fans were certainly shaped and biased by their school allegiances, but were the fans aware of that influence? Probably not. We would not expect anyone to think, “Td bester interpret that tackle as vicious hecause my friends will reject me if | dont.” Social inflaences have surrounded us since infancy. and it ts therelone no surprise that we usually ate unaware oftheir impact. Does the fish know it swims in water? Sometimes ‘takes a shift im perspective to make us aware of the impact of social influence. Such shifs are familiar to all of us: A rebellious teenager becomes a parent and imposes 2 cunfew om his own teenagers: a die-hard Braves fan moves from Atlanta to Toronto and eventually joins with her new co-workers te support the local Be Jays. Even then, stich changes often seem so natural that we tribute them not to social influence but 10 sim ple reality. for example, the self-evident fact that the Blue Jays are just the best team. ‘Throughout this text, you will see evidence of the powerful effect social influence has in molding the realty we construct for ourselves—and therefore our thoughts, feelings, and actions—whether we are together with others or alone with our thoughts. OW THE APPROACH OF THIS BOOK REFLECTS AN INT! ATIVE PERSPECTIVE ” ‘Three Motivational Principles ‘Asthey construct realty and influence and are influenced by others, people have three basic motives: to strive for mastery, to seek connectedness with others, and to value themselves and others connected to them. Asindividuals and groups construct reality while influencing and being influenced by ‘thers, they direct their thoughts felings. and behaviors towanl three important goals People Strive for Mastery. Masery refers to understanding ourselves and the world ‘gwund us and applying that understanding to help uscontrol outcomes and gain rewards ‘nour lives Fach of uss striving for mastery: We scek 1o understand andl predict events saving for mastery tthe socal world in order to obtain many types of rewards. Achieving mastery is an Si mth pani hat ‘mmporunt incentive in our attempt o form and hold accurate opinions and beliefsabout RE sek undead the word, because accurate beliels can guide us 10 effective and satisfying actions, For Puss ums Hess were ‘exmple, if you want the last available part-time job atthe campus bookstore, forming {accurate impression of the managers needs and knowing yoursef well enough to {Bre a convincing account of your qualifications may help you get the job. Similarly, Ansghtuly diagnosing business problems and suecessully understanding students’ and {acuity members’ needs may help you keep sch a job. Our desir for long-term rewards ‘analso show itself n seeking ways to enhance our skills and knowledge and to improve ‘urselves in other ways. in many everyday decisions, individuals and groups choose to tin ways that appear hikely to lead to the most rewarding results, guided by the most reluble and accurate information we can muster. People Seek Connectedness. In seeking connectedness, cach person attempts 10 seeking comnecedness ‘grate and maintain feelings of mutual suppor, liking, and acceptance from those they _ th mation prcpe ha fare about and value. For members of groups in bitter conflict, such as Israelis and oP xk supre Uhing ant Paina actions that benefit tht group olen seem ever more potas chan cel “