Two implications of definition:
#1 When is your behavior not of interest to social psychologists?
#2 What topics interest social psychologists?
II. Social psychologists get less respect than they deserve because they have an unpopular perspective: They look at the power of the situation, rather than the power of individuality. That is, they look at external, situational factors rather than internal, personality factors.
A look at two different perspectives.
Examples of the situation being more powerful than personality differences.
2. Nazi Germany.
3. Mai Lai.
4. Milgram's shocking experiment.
Results of the basic study:
Results of situational modifications of the study:
Five ethical points about the Milgram studies:
(More information about Milgram)
Video of a recent recreation of Milgram's experiment
7. Moriarty and the "silent murders."
8. The Zimbardo Prison Experiment.
Video of interview of Dr. Zimbardo, discussing relationship of the Prison experiment to Abu-Ghirab
III. People's ignorance of situational influences.
A. On themselves.
B. On judging others--the fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overestimate the role of internal, dispositional causes (personality) and underestimate the role of external causes (the situation) in explaining the behavior of other people.
Examples of this error (people's ignorance of the situation):
Game-show experiment & sexism
Our willingness to believe commercials
Our legal system?
IV. People are ignorant of the impact of the situation even when they are the situation: Hypothesis-Confirming: a form of self-fulfilling prophecy where your expectations about somebody cause them to behave the way you expect them to behave.
Three examples of this (subtle) effect.
Two practical implications:
V. If situations matter, why do people talk about personality?
A. People are fooled.
Why are they fooled?
1. People like to see constancy.
2. People see others in same situation, same role.
3. People are fools--the Barnum effect.
B. People are (partially) correct: Personality matters, but only because it affects how people perceive the situation.
Situation does not directly-----> behavior
How people perceive situation----> behavior
Personality-----> How people perceive situation
By now, you should be able to: