Social Processes, Attitudes, and Behavior
Human behavior is learned and influenced by those around us. Simply being around others leads to changes in behavior from how we act when alone. Pressure from others can also lead to changes in behavior because we crave acceptance: inclusion in a group can lead to changes in thought processes and decision making. Social norms, which are learned through experience and observation, can be rejected by individuals, leading to deviance and stigmatization. However, the need to fit in can lead to conformity, compliance, and obedience. Attitudes are also developed through observations, experiences, and interactions with others, and there are multiple theories explaining their specific methods of formation.
This chapter focused primarily on how groups influence an individual’s behavior. In the next chapter, we’ll look at the structure of these groups and how we present ourselves to the larger society. We’ll explore methods of communication between individuals—both verbal and nonverbal—and consider how we encourage others to gain certain impressions about us.
· Social facilitation describes the tendency of people to perform at a different level based on the fact that others are around.
· Deindividuation is a loss of self-awareness in large groups, which can lead to drastic changes in behavior.
· The bystander effect describes the observation that when in a group, individuals are less likely to respond to a person in need.
· Peer pressure refers to the social influence placed on individuals by others they consider equals.
· Group decision making may differ from individual decision making.
o Group polarization is the tendency toward making decisions in a group that are more extreme than the thoughts of the individual group members.
o Groupthink is the tendency for groups to make decisions based on ideas and solutions that arise within the group without considering outside ideas. Ethics may be disturbed as pressure is created to conform and remain loyal to the group.
· Culture describes the beliefs, ideas, behaviors, actions, and characteristics of a group or society of people.
o Assimilation is the process by which a group or individual’s culture begins to melt into another culture.
o Multiculturalism refers to the encouragement of multiple cultures within a community to enhance diversity.
o Subcultures refer to a group of people within a culture that distinguish themselves from the primary culture to which they belong.
· Socialization is the process of developing and spreading norms, customs, and beliefs.
· Norms are what determine the boundaries of acceptable behavior within society.
· Agents of socialization include family, peers, school, religious affiliation, and other groups that promote socialization.
· Stigma is the extreme disapproval or dislike of a person or group based on perceived differences from the rest of society.
· Deviance refers to any violation of norms, rules, or expectations within a society.
· Conformity is changing beliefs or behaviors in order to fit into a group or society.
· Compliance occurs when individuals change their behavior based on the requests of others. Methods of gaining compliance include the foot-in-the-door technique, door-in-the-face technique, lowball technique, and that’s-not-all technique, among others.
· Obedience is a change in behavior based on a command from someone seen as an authority figure.
Attitudes and Behavior
· Attitudes are tendencies toward expression of positive or negative feelings or evaluations of something.
· There are affective, behavioral, and cognitive components to attitudes.
· The functional attitudes theory states that there are four functional areas of attitudes that serve individuals in life: knowledge, ego expression, adaptability, and ego defense.
· The learning theory states that attitudes are developed through forms of learning: direct contact, direct interaction, direct instruction, and conditioning.
· The elaboration likelihood model states that attitudes are formed and changed through different routes of information processing based on the degree of elaboration (central route processing, peripheral route processing).
· The social cognitive theory states that attitudes are formed through observation of behavior, personal factors, and environment.
Answers to Concept Checks
1. Social facilitation describes the tendency of people to perform at a different level based on the fact that others are around. Deindividuation is the idea that people will lose a sense of self-awareness and can act dramatically different because of the influence of a group. The bystander effect describes the observation that individuals are less likely to respond to a person in need when in a group. Social loafing refers to a decrease in effort seen when individuals are in a group. Peer pressure refers to the social influence placed on individuals by others they consider their equals.
2. Group polarization and groupthink are both social processes that occur when groups make decisions. Group polarization is the tendency toward extreme decisions in a group. Groupthink is the tendency for groups to make decisions based on ideas and solutions that arise within the group without considering outside ideas, given the pressure to conform and remain loyal to the group.
3. Societies that contain multiple cultures can exhibit multiculturalism or assimilation. Assimilation is the process by which multiple cultures begin to merge into one, typically with an unequal blending of ideas and beliefs. Multiculturalism refers to the idea that multiple cultures should be encouraged and respected without one culture becoming dominant overall.
1. Primary socialization refers to the initial learning of acceptable behaviors and societal norms during childhood, which is facilitated mostly by parents and other trusted adults. Secondary socialization refers to learning the norms of specific subgroups or situations during adolescence and adulthood.
2. Conformity is changing beliefs or behaviors in order to fit into a group or society. Compliance occurs when individuals change their behavior based on the request of others who do not wield authority over the individual. Obedience is a change in behavior because of a request from an authority figure.
3. The foot-in-the-door technique refers to asking for favors that increase in size with each subsequent request. The door-in-the-face technique refers to making a large request and then, if refused, making a smaller request. The lowball technique refers to gaining compliance without revealing the full cost (money, effort, or time) of the favor. The that’s-not-all technique refers to increasing the reward for a request before an individual has the chance to make a decision.
1. The three components of attitude are affective, behavioral, and cognitive.
2. The four functional areas of the functional attitudes theory are knowledge, ego expression, adaptation, and ego defense.
3. The routes of processing used to explain the elaboration likelihood model are central route processing and peripheral route processing. Central route processing is associated with high elaboration.
4. The three interactive factors of Bandura’s triadic reciprocal causation are behavior, personal factors, and environment.
· Behavioral Sciences Chapter 5
o Motivation, Emotion, and Stress
· Behavioral Sciences Chapter 6
o Identity and Personality
· Behavioral Sciences Chapter 9
o Social Interaction
· Behavioral Sciences Chapter 10
o Social Thinking
· Behavioral Sciences Chapter 11
o Social Structure and Demographics
· Physics and Math Chapter 11
o Reasoning About the Design and Execution of Research
Discrete Practice Questions
1. The behavior of the individuals in the Stanford prison experiment is best explained by which of the following terms?
1. Bystander effect
4. Social loafing
5. I only
6. III only
7. II and III only
8. II and IV only
2. A jury member who initially feels that a strict penalty should be placed on the defendant votes for an even stricter penalty after deliberation with the other jury members. This behavior is best described by which social phenomenon?
1. Social facilitation
2. Group polarization
3. Which of the following would decrease the likelihood of a bystander lending aid to a victim?
1. Increasing the number of people in the room
2. Increasing the degree of danger experienced by the victim
3. Making the victim an acquaintance instead of a stranger
4. Being alone in the room with the victim
4. During groupthink, members of the group do all of the following EXCEPT:
1. stereotype members outside of the group.
2. withhold opposing views.
3. ignore warnings against the ideas of the group.
4. create a sense of negativity against risk taking.
5. Adult prison systems may attempt to change the behavior of inmates through all of the following mechanisms of socialization EXCEPT:
1. primary socialization.
2. secondary socialization.
3. anticipatory socialization.
6. Your neighbor asks you to check her mail while she is out of town and you agree. Later that day, she asks you to water her plants as well. What technique for compliance is she using in this scenario?
1. Lowball technique
2. That’s-not-all technique
3. Foot-in-the-door technique
4. Door-in-the-face technique
7. Which of the following statements represents the affective component of an attitude?
1. “I love action movies.”
2. “I’m going to see a new action movie at the theater.”
3. “Action movies are much better than comedies.”
4. “Tomorrow, I’m going to rent an action movie.”
8. After sitting in a lecture, determining that a professor is a bad teacher based on his unprofessional attire and monotone speech is an example of which type of processing?
1. Knowledge route processing
2. Adaptive route processing
3. Central route processing
4. Peripheral route processing
9. In the Milgram shock experiment, many subjects were willing to give the maximal voltage shock because they were influenced by which psychological principle?
10. Each individual in a group of teenagers is asked to estimate the height of a tree. One individual estimates the height to be 25 feet, but after discussing with the group is convinced that the height is likely closer to 40 feet. Which type of conformity is seen here?
11. Which of the following is NOT a component of the functional attitudes theory?
3. Ego defense
4. Ego expression
12. The swimming times for all members of a swim team are tracked over a six-month period in team-only practices and at public meets. For 14 of the 16 members, top times were clocked at the meets. What social phenomenon does this evidence support?
1. Social facilitation
2. Peer pressure
4. Group polarization
13. A 18-year-old male is completing his final months of high school and begins to wake up early each day to run five miles in preparation for joining the Army. What type of socialization is this young man experiencing?
1. Normative socialization
2. Informative socialization
4. Anticipatory socialization
14. Which of the following best reflects the difference between social action and social interaction?
1. Social action refers to positive changes one makes in their society; social interaction refers to the route by which these changes occur.
2. Social action refers to the effects of a group on an individual’s behavior; social interaction refers to the effects that multiple individuals all have on each other.
3. Social action refers to changes in behavior caused by internal factors; social interaction refers to changes in behavior caused by external factors.
4. Social action refers to changes in behaviors that benefit only the individual; social interaction refers to changes in behavior that benefit others.
15. In the group setting, the mentality of “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us” is most representative of which factor of groupthink?
1. Illusion of invulnerability
2. Illusion of morality
3. Pressure for conformity
Discrete Practice Answers
1. CWhen fulfilling particular roles, an individual’s behavior can be very out of character. The changing of one’s behavior (and internal ideas) to match a group is called internalization conformity. This was a key part of the experiment. The experiment also involved deindividuation, the loss of self-identity in the group setting that can lead to antinormative or violent behavior.
2. BThe fact that individual opinions became more extreme during group discussion is explained by group polarization. The jury member initially felt that a strict penalty should be given, but this opinion became more extreme after conversation with the rest of the group.
3. AIt has been observed that increasing the number of bystanders decreases the likelihood that any of them will aid a victim. Increasing the degree of danger experienced by the victim, (B), making the victim an acquaintance instead of a stranger, (C), and being alone in the room with the victim, (D), would increase the likelihood that the bystander would help the victim.
4. DWith groupthink, a member would perform all of the actions described by the answer choices except create a sense of negativity against risk taking; in fact, there is optimism and encouragement toward risk taking in groupthink.
5. APrimary socialization is the teaching of acceptable actions and attitudes during childhood, which would occur too early to be part of the adult prison system. Resocialization, (D), is the process by which one changes behaviors by discarding old routines and patterns and transitions to new behaviors necessary for a life change. The prison environment is designed to change bad behavior into desired behavior, making this an incorrect choice. When entering prison, an inmate must also undergo secondary socialization, (B), learning the rules of the specific social environment of the prison. Finally, if the inmate is not incarcerated for life, attempts at anticipatory socialization, (C), must be made before releasing the inmate in preparation for life outside of the prison.
6. CThis is a prime example of the foot-in-the-door technique. The neighbor first asks for a small favor and, after receiving commitment, asks for a larger favor.
7. AThe affective component of attitude consists of feelings and emotions toward something.
8. DPeripheral route processing deals with processing information that is not based on content, but instead on superficial parameters such as boring speech patterns or appearance of the speaker. Central route processing, (C), is the processing of information through analysis of its content.
9. BThe Milgram shock experiment showed that individuals would obey orders from authority figures even if they were not comfortable with the task at hand. Conformity and compliance, (C) and (D), also deal with changes in individual behavior, but are not based on the requests of an authority figure.
10. CInternalization refers to the type of conformity in which an individual changes his or her outward opinion to match the group and also personally agrees with those ideas.
11. BThe four functional areas of the functional attitudes theory are knowledge, adaptability, ego expression, and ego defense. Acceptance into a group may influence attitudes or opinions; however, this is not a part of the functional attitudes theory.
12. AFor 14 out of the 16 members, the record times were obtained during public meets. The fact that the team members performed better when in front of a crowd supports the notion of social facilitation.
13. DThis young man is preparing for life in the Army, a new social setting that he will be joining. The process of preparing for future changes in environment is considered anticipatory socialization.
14. BSocial action is best described as the effects that a group has on individual behavior, including social facilitation, deindividuation, the bystander effect, social loafing, and peer pressure. Social interaction describes how two or more individuals influence each other’s behavior, including group polarization and groupthink.
15. CPlacing spoken or unspoken expectations on individuals to agree with the ideas of the group is best described as pressure for conformity.
Consult your online resources for additional practice.