Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Social Roles

The Attitude-Behaviour Gap: Why We Say One Thing But Do The Opposite:

"....At that time in the US there had been lots of stories in the media about how prejudiced people were against Chinese people.

Social Psychologist, LaPiere (1930) started to wonder why there was such a gap between what the newspapers were reporting about people's attitudes and their actual behaviour. To check this out he decided to send out a questionnaire to the restaurants and hotels they had visited along with other similar places in the area (LaPiere, 1934).

The questionnaire asked the owners about their attitudes, with the most important question being: "Will you accept members of the Chinese race in your establishment?
Incredibly 90% of respondents answered, no, they wouldn't accept members of the Chinese race into their establishments."

LaPiere's study had come out to be rather appauling. He discovered that when people are confronted face to face with another person and asked a question such as this, they would respond in a way as to not appear pompous and arrogant. They did the opposite when asked the same question on a piece of paper,anonymously. This shows how playing roles is happening everywhere.

People in modern society have to create an alternative personality in front of others. This shows in social gatherings when one feels as though they have to put up a front to make themselves like-able. My question about this strange phenomenon, is when and how this strange attitude was presented to us. Was this a trait that we saw in our parents, and then mimicked? Perhaps it was something that was in our minds the whole time. I also wonder if this was brought out in the modern world, when status became such an important role in an individuals life.
I believe that this trait is something that was bred into us from a very early age. Unconsciously, our parents taught us that status and proper attitudes was a very important part of growing up. We were taught not to eat sand and to always be polite. We were taught to never be mean to another child, which lead to the thought that we have to keep a front up and get along with the other kids. This trait of putting up a front was introduced into our fragile minds so early that we have accepted it our whole lives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Does bottling up your emotions make you more likely to be hostile? This article in clinically psyched proves just that. The study conducted by Todd Maddox, Kathleen Vohs and Brian Glass was collaborative research done at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Minnesota. It was done in order to find ways for people in stressful professions cope better from long hours on the job. Subjects ranged from regular college students to those in military academies. (abstract)

Two films “The Meaning of Life” and “Trainspotting” were the material. Two focus groups were observationally studied. One was asked to show no emotions during a sequence of violent scenes and another could react normally. There was an additional coefficient in the mix being a group kept up for 24 hours to see if exhaustion would amplify hostility. If you are familiar with either or both movies you know how grotesque some of the actions are and how you reacted the first time you saw them.

The study found that the subjects who were not allowed to react during the scenes were more aggressive after the test. The “ego depletion effect” was proved to be supported from this study as it was found that those “who keep their emotions bottled up” are more likely to turn around and act out of turn later on. Additionally it was found exhaustion does not increase hostility. I think it is interesting that as a society we are expected to keep aggressive feelings in and are then expected to not overreact under any circumstance.

The subjects were all place in a hypothetical computerized competition where they could blast there supposed opponent with noise. Those who could not react used this time to let loose and had higher average noise levels.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protest

Below are two news stories on the ongoing protest on Wall Street.

Occupy wall street is an ongoing protest taking place on wall street. It has gained little attention in the media other than on the social networks, specifically Twitter. According the NY Times, a common interest seems to be lacking among the wide array of individuals protesting. “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street. (ABC News article above).

It is interesting to read through the #occupywallstreet posts on twitter. Most of the posts are fueled by claims of police brutality where there are alleged instances of people being maced and tazered by law enforcement officials. It seems that to gain more followers less attention should be focused on the force of the police and more of the actual issue at hand. As only those experiencing police aggression and those who have experienced it in the past are the only ones that can relate. In the duration of the protest (8 days now) the cause seems to have shifted from protesting the corruption of 1% of the population to police aggression. Most of the tweets mention the harm inflicted by the NYPD and how it is important to maintain the peace of the protest. However, one begins to question the peace of the protest, as there is little evidence to evaluate.

The number of protesters now has reportedly dwindled and those standing their ground appear less focused on the original goal of the protest and now on making point of the action of the law enforcements. One tweet inquired what the individual police officers were thinking. This could possibly imply that the officers felt the same way as the protesters but were acting in such a manner because that is how the rest of the officers were acting. The social psychology element is how protesters work together to maintain their cause. While they may not have all decided to protest for the same reason they now all have a common interest in reporting the actions of the police.

It’s difficult to gain a perspective on the events of the protest. The videos posted on Youtube do not give a clear idea of what is happening. Thus one questions what makes an effective protest: is it the size of the gathering, the violence that seems to occur frequently, or a political figure addressing the protest? The Occupy Wall Street protest does not seem effective as the number of protesters is reducing and their issue is no longer clear. For an increase in attention and support the reasons for the protest should be more prominent on twitter.