This week we wrapped up chapter 4.1. You should be able to discuss the following ideas:
- What is the foot-in-the-door technique? How does this explain the Jonestown cult?
- What is cognitive dissonance theory? How can it be used to explain some of the behaviour at the cult?
- How can attribution theory be used to explain some of the behaviour in the cult?
- What is a schema? How do they help to explain stereotypes?
- How can Social Identity Theory explain stereotyping?
- Be able to explain the biological argument for prejudice. Refer to the IAT and the research by Susan Fiske.
- How can the existence of stereotypes about our in-group influence our behaviour? Be able to explain stereotype threat.
Here is a video on stereotype threat that I hope will help you better understand the the concept.
Here are some of the points that we discussed in class regarding Social Identity Theory.
- Many of the early studies lacked ecological validity, but there are many studies that have been done in a naturalistic environment.
- The theory does not look at dispositional factors. For example, in the Tajfel & Turner study, some people may be more competitive.
- The theory does not look at cultural factors. Collectivistic societies tend to be less consistent in this behavior.
- Has high heuristic validity – that is, it can be used to explain a lot of things.
- Overly theoretical and difficult to refute. For example, Bem’s theory of sexuality.
- Cannot predict when someone’s individual identify will supercede that of the group.
- Why does some out-group discrimination lead to violence? Sherif said it was about limited resources. Is this a valid claim?
- Environmental factors, such as war or poverty, may play a greater role.
- Self-esteem may not play as great a role as once thought. It may be an initial reason for identifying with a group, but it does not appear to be sustainable.
This week we did two things – we focused on Social Identity Theory, and we deepened our understanding of observations. Here is what you should know at the end of this week.
- Social Identity Theory works on the basic assumption that we have a personal identity and several social identities.
- Groups are defined as having a common goal, but also having a role on our self-esteem. Standing at the bus stop and waiting for the 161 does not make us a group.
- There are three steps to SIT: identification with the group (seeing that you have common traits); social comparison (seeing your group as us and others as them) and then an effect on your self-esteem.
- In negative situations, groups see themselves as different and “them” as all the same. This is called in-group/out-group homogeneity theory. The process is reversed for positive situations.
- In a study by Taylor, Wood & Lichtman (1983), they found that breast cancer patients who engaged in downward comparison (comparing themselves to someone worse off than themselves) had better recovery times and more positive self-esteem; those who engage in upward comparison (comparing themselves to someone better off than themselves) tended to have longer recovery times and were more likely to suffer from depression.
- Observations may make use of point, event or time sampling. You should be able to describe all three methods.
- In addition, observations may be deductive. This type of observation is quantitative in nature and uses a priori coding. Other observations are inductive. This type of observation is qualitative in nature and uses emergent coding.
Lots of vocabulary this week. Please make sure that you are keeping up with the theories that we are discussing. For example, can you use SIT to explain the parentified child?
Class this week was pretty disrupted between the College Fair and the Speech and Debate tournaments/HOSIC.
These are the key ideas that we have addressed this week:
- Attribution errors: You should be able to discuss the three attribution errors that we studied – the fundamental attribution error, defensive attribution error and the self-serving bias. In addition, you should be able to talk about cultural differences in the self-serving bias.
- You should be able to explain why this attributions occur. You should think about using words like heuristics, cognitive misers, self-esteem, social norms and the Just World Hypothesis.
- You should be able to talk about the three components of the Social Identity Theory.
Your homework is to write a response about Abu Ghraib using the articles that you were given for homework. For those of you who would like to learn more about what happened at Abu Ghraib, here is a short introduction.
Nothing like a four-day week after having a week h0liday.
This week we started our first unit which prepares us for Paper I – The Socio-Cultural Level of Analysis. The key ideas and vocabulary that you should have mastered at the end of this week are:
- What are three principles of the Socio-cultural level of analysis?
- What is the difference between situational and dispositional factors?
- What is meant by social facilitation theory?
In addition to this, we started looking at how to write an SAQ – a short answer question. Next week we are going to look more closely at how we explain our social world and maybe even get to do some skits….