Social Psychology Issues

March 8, 2022
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Social Psychology Issues

Social Psychology Issues

Write a survey question based on social psychology issues related to how people interact with each other now as compared to last year before the pandemic. This will be the focus of your term paper.

One possibility is to make a statement and then ask to what extent the participant agrees with that statement, but other types of questions are possible.

Important: Do not ask people about illegal activity.

Example survey question:

I am less likely to greet a friend with a hug than I used to be last year.

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree

Social psychology is the scientific study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, and implied presence of others, ‘imagined’ and ‘implied presences’ referring to the internalized social norms that humans are influenced by even when they are alone.[1]

Social psychologists typically explain human behavior as being a result of the relationship between mental state and social situation, studying the conditions under which thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur and how these variables influence social interactions.

Social psychology has bridged the gap between psychology and sociology to an extent, but a divide still exists between the two fields. Nevertheless, sociological approaches to psychology remain an important counterpart to conventional psychological research.[2] In addition to the split between psychology and sociology, there is difference in emphasis between American and European social psychologists, as the former traditionally have focused more on the individual, whereas the latter have generally paid more attention to group-level phenomena.[3]

Main article: Attitude (psychology)
In social psychology, attitude is defined as learned, global evaluations (e.g. of people or issues) that influence thought and action.[12][page needed] Attitudes are basic expressions of approval and disapproval, or as Bem (1970) suggests, likes and dislikes (e.g. enjoying chocolate ice cream, or endorsing the values of a particular political party).[13] Because people are influenced by other factors in any given situation, general attitudes are not always good predictors of specific behavior. For example, a person may value the environment but may not recycle a plastic bottle on a particular day.

Research on attitudes has examined the distinction between traditional, self-reported attitudes and implicit, unconscious attitudes. Experiments using the implicit association test, for instance, have found that people often demonstrate implicit bias against other races, even when their explicit responses profess equal mindedness.[14] Likewise, one study found that in interracial interactions, explicit attitudes correlate with verbal behavior while implicit attitudes correlate with nonverbal behavior.[15]

One hypothesis on how attitudes are formed, first proposed in 1983 by Abraham Tesser, is that strong likes and dislikes are ingrained in our genetic make-up. Tesser speculated that individuals are disposed to hold certain strong attitudes as a result of inborn personality traits and physical, sensory, and cognitive skills. Attitudes are also formed as a result of exposure to different experiences, environments, and the learning process. Numerous studies have shown that people can form strong attitudes toward neutral objects that are in some way linked to emotionally charged stimuli.[clarification needed][16]: 185–186

Attitudes are also involved in several other areas of the discipline, such as conformity, interpersonal attraction, social perception, and prejudice.

Main article: Persuasion
Persuasion is an active method of influencing that attempts to guide people toward the adoption of an attitude, idea, or behavior by rational or emotive means. Persuasion relies on appeals rather than strong pressure or coercion. The process of persuasion has been found to be influenced by numerous variables that generally fall into one of five major categories:[18]

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Communicator: includes credibility, expertise, trustworthiness, and attractiveness.
Message: includes varying degrees of reason, emotion (e.g. fear), one-sided or two sided arguments, and other types of informational content.
Audience: includes a variety of demographics, personality traits, and preferences.
Channel/medium: includes printed word, radio, television, the internet, or face-to-face interactions.
Context: includes environment, group dynamics, and preliminary information to that of Message (category #2).
Dual-process theories of persuasion (such as the elaboration likelihood model) maintain that persuasion is mediated by two separate routes: central and peripheral. The central route of persuasion is more fact-based and results in longer-lasting change, but requires motivation to process. The peripheral route is more superficial and results in shorter-lasting change, but does not require as much motivation to process. An example of peripheral persuasion is a politician using a flag lapel pin, smiling, and wearing a crisp, clean shirt. This does not require motivation to be persuasive, but should not last as long as central persuasion. If that politician were to outline what they believe and their previous voting record, he would be centrally persuasive, resulting in longer-lasting change at the expense of greater motivation required for processing.[19]

Social cognition
Main article: Social cognition
Social cognition studies how people perceive, think about, and remember information about others.[20] Much research rests on the assertion that people think about other people differently from non-social targets.[21] This assertion is supported by the social-cognitive deficits exhibited by people with Williams syndrome and autism.[22] Person perception is the study of how people form impressions of others. The study of how people form beliefs about each other while interacting is interpersonal perception.

A major research topic in social cognition is attribution.[23] Attributions are how we explain people’s behavior, either our own behavior or the behavior of others. One element of attribution ascribes the cause of a behavior to internal and external factors. An internal, or dispositional, attribution reasons that behavior is caused by inner traits such as personality, disposition, character, and ability. An external, or situational, attribution reasons that behaviour is caused by situational elements such as the weather.[24]: 111  A second element of attribution ascribes the cause of behavior to stable and unstable factors (i.e. whether the behavior will be repeated or changed under similar circumstances). Individuals also attribute causes of behavior to controllable and uncontrollable factors (i.e. how much control one has over the situation at hand).

Numerous biases in the attribution process have been discovered. For instance, the fundamental attribution error is the tendency to make dispositional attributions for behavior, overestimating the influence of personality and underestimating the influence of the situational.[25]: 724  The actor-observer bias is a refinement of this; it is the tendency to make dispositional attributions for other people’s behavior and situational attributions for our own.[24]: 107  The self-serving bias is the tendency to attribute dispositional causes for successes, and situational causes for failure, particularly when self-esteem is threatened. This leads to assuming one’s successes are from innate traits, and one’s failures are due to situations.[24]: 109  Other ways people protect their self-esteem are by believing in a just world, blaming victims for their suffering, and making defensive attributions that explain our behavior in ways that defend us from feelings of vulnerability and mortality.[24]: 111  Researchers have found that mildly depressed individuals often lack this bias and actually have more realistic perceptions of reality as measured by the opinions of others.

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