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Assignment of Organizational Behavior

Social Psychology

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ROLL NO : 10
Social Psychology

Our perception of ourselves in relation to the rest of the world plays an important
role in our choices, behaviors, and beliefs. Conversely, the opinions of others also impact our
behavior and the way we view ourselves. Social psychology is a branch of psychology
concerned with how social phenomena influence us and how people interact with others.
There are some basic aspects of social behavior that play a large role in our actions and how
we see ourselves.

• Social behavior is goal-oriented. Our interactions function to serve a goal or fulfill a
need. Some common goals or needs include the need for social ties, the desire to
understand ourselves and others, the wish to gain or maintain status or protection, and
to attract companions.
• The interaction between the individual and the situation determines the outcome. In
many instances, people behavior very differently in various situations. The situation
plays an important role and has a strong influence on our behavior.
• People spend a great deal of time considering social situations. Our social interactions
help form our self-concept and perception.

One method of forming self-concept is through a reflected appraisal process in which
we imagine how other people see us. Another method is through a social comparison
process whereby we consider how we compare to other people in our peer group.
• We also analyze and explain the behavior of those around us. One common
phenomenon is expectation confirmation, where we tend to ignore unexpected
attributes and look for evidence that confirms our preexisting beliefs about others.
This helps simplify our worldview, but it also skews our perception and can contribute
to stereotyping.
• Another influence on our perceptions of other people can be explained by the theory of
correspondent inferences. This occurs when we infer that the actions and behaviors of
others correspond to their intentions and personalities. While behavior can be
informative in some instances, especially when the person's actions are intentional, it
can also be misleading. If we have limited interaction with someone, the behavior we
see may be atypical or caused by the specific situation rather than by the persons
overriding dispositional characteristics.

Studying social psychology can enrich our understanding of ourselves and of the world
around us. Explore other links in this section to enrich your understanding of social behavior.

According to psychologist Gordon Allport, social psychology is a discipline that uses
scientific methods "to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of
individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings"
Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group
behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity,
aggression and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not
just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction
are also vital to understanding social behavior.

Brief History of Social Psychology

While Plato referred to the idea of the "crowd mind" and concepts such as social
loafing and social facilitation were introduced in the late-1800s, it wasn't until
after World War II that research on social psychology would begin in earnest.
The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social
influence, conformity, and obedience.

The U.S. government also became interested in applying social psychological
concepts to influencing citizens. Social psychology has continued to grow
throughout the twentieth century, inspiring research that has contributed to our
understanding of social experience and behavior.

How Is Social Psychology Different From Other Disciplines?

It is important to understand how social psychology differs from other
disciplines. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality
psychology and sociology. What makes social psychology different? Unlike folk
wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation,
social psychology employs scientific methods and empirical study of social

While personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics, and
thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are
interested in the impact that social environment and interaction has on attitudes
and behaviors.

Finally, it is important to distinguish between social psychology and sociology.
While there are many similarities between the two, sociology tends to looks at
social behavior and influences at a very broad-based level. Sociologists are
interested in the institutions and culture that influence social psychology.
Psychologists instead focus on situational variables that affect social behavior.
While psychology and sociology both study similar topics, they are looking at
these topics from different perspectives.
Major Perspectives in Social Psychology
Sociocultural Perspective

• Stresses the importance of social norms and culture.
• Proposes that children learn behavior through problem-solving
interactions with other children and adults. Through these interactions,
they learn the values and norms of their society.

Evolutionary Perspective

• Argues that social behaviors developed through genetics and inheritance.
• Emphasizes the role of biology and gene transmission across generations
to explain current behavior.

Social Learning Perspective

• Stresses the importance of unique experiences in family, school,
community, etc.
• According to this viewpoint, we learn behaviors through observing and
mimicking the behavior of others.

What is the Bystander Effect?

• The term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater
the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in
distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely
to take action if there are few or no other witnesses.

• In a series of classic study, researchers Bibb Latane and John Darley (1)
found that the amount of time it takes the participant to take action and
seek help varies depending on how many other observers are in the room.
In one experiment, subjects were placed in one of three treatment
conditions: alone in a room, with two other participants or with two
confederates who pretended to be normal participants.

• As the participants sat filling out questionnaires, smoke began to fill the
room. When participants were alone, 75% reported the smoke to the
experimenters. In contrast, just 38% of participants in a room with two
other people reported the smoke. In the final group, the two confederates
only 10% of the participants reporting the smoke.
Example of the Bystander Effect
• The most frequently cited example of the bystander effect in introductory
psychology textbooks is the brutal murder of a young woman named
Catherine "Kitty" Genovese. On Friday, March 13, 1964, 28-year-old
Genovese was returning home from work. As she approached her
apartment entrance, she was attacked and stabbed by a man later
identified as Winston Moseley.

• Despite Genovese’s repeated cries for help, none of the dozen or so
people in the nearby apartment building who heard her cries called police
for help. The attack first began at 3:20 AM, but it was not until 3:50 AM
that someone first contacted police.

• Initially reported in a 1964 New York Times article, the article
sensationalized the case, despite a number of factual inaccuracies. While
frequently cited in psychology textbooks, an article in the September 2007
issue of American Psychologist concluded that the story is largely
misrepresented mostly due to the inaccuracies repeatedly published in
newspaper articles and textbooks.

• Explanations for the Bystander Effect

• There are two major factors that contribute to the bystander effect. First,
the presence of other people creates a diffusion of responsibility.
Because there are other observers, individuals do not feel as much
pressure to take action, since the responsibility to take action is thought to
be shared among all of those present.

• The second reason is the need to behave in correct and socially
acceptable ways. When other observers fail to react, individuals often
take this as a signal that a response is not needed or not appropriate. Other
researchers have found that onlookers are less likely to intervene if the
situation is ambiguous(2). In the case of Kitty Genovese, many of the 38
witnesses reported that they believed that they were witnessing a "lover’s
quarrel," and did not realize that the young woman was actually being