1. To What Extent Can People Influence Others’ Impressions of Them by Making Changes to Their Physical Appearance (makeup, clothing etc.)?
An impression is an opinion, idea or feeling that is made about someone or something (“impression | Definition of impression in English by Oxford Dictionaries”, n.d.). According to Zebrowitz & Montepare (2008), we create first impressions from appearances. There is substantial potential in our impressions and appearance can be effective as facial assets are beneficial in creating modifying behaviour that can form an enduring impression, e.g. Eberhardt, Davies, Purdie-Vaughns & Johnson (2006) examined whether the probability of being sentenced is predisposed by the how stereotypically Black a Black perpetrator is observed to be. When a White victim was present, the more stereotypically Black a defendant was seen to be thus, they are more probable to be punished to the death sentence. Also, Stewart (1980) found that the more attractive the perpetrator was, the less harsh the sentence. This suggests that making changes to one’s personal appearance (e.g. being clean shaven) can make a positive change to others’ impressions. Naumann, Vazire, Rentfrow & Gosling (2009) also discovered that when targets’ stance and appearance were forced, viewers’ conclusions were precise for extraversion. When targets showed a spontaneous pose and facial expression, viewers’ judgments were correct for almost all traits examined. They found that both static cues (for example, style of dress) and energetic cues (i.e. expression on the face) offered valuable information relevant to personality. These findings propose that personality is displayed through appearance, and people may implicate these observations to create truthful verdicts for a range of mannerisms.
2. What Roles does Attribution Play in Mental Illnesses like Anxiety and Depression?
Attribution is a conclusion made by a person about causes of certain events or behaviors. They are made in order to understand their experiences and can strongly influence behavior or in this case, mental illnesses such as anxiety. According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), anxiety is the presence of excessive worry that is extremely difficult to control (even when there is nothing wrong) about a variety of activities, events or topics. Within anxiety, internal and stable attribution may occur. For example, one may experience anxiety about sitting an exam. They may have an internal attribution (a conclusion that an event will occur due to one’s personal factors such as traits) that they will fail a forthcoming exam due to failing a previous exam. They may attribute this event because they might feel they carry a trait of unintelligence due to concluding this trait after failure.
3. How and to What Extent Do Attitudes Influence Behavior?
Attitudes are a mental & neural state of readiness which is organised through experience, exerting a direct influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related (Allport 1935). In terms of behaviour, attitudes have a significant impact on the way we behave e.g. negative attitudes toward women. This attitude may lead one to display abusive behaviour towards women. Fishbein & Ajzen (1975) state attitudes are the sum of the cross-products of expectancies and values e.g. an expectancy a male may hold about women is that they aren’t loyal. The value they may hold is that due to this, the male may unsuccessfully pass on their genes through having children as the female may have a child with another man. Due to this attitude, this may influence abusive behaviour from the male e.g. isolating the female as they believe by doing so, they are preventing the female from being impregnated by another male. Thus, their negative attitudes towards women is influencing abusive behaviour towards women. Another factor to consider in abusive relationships is if the female holds similar degrading attitudes about women (i.e. all women sleep around). Harris et al (2005) found that women are less likely to report violence and abuse by their partners if they express traditional gender role attitudes. Due to this, it may enable the abusive behaviour displayed by the male, as the women may feel that the behaviour is justifiable due to agreeing with the attitude causing the abusive behaviour.
4. What Strategies can we use to Resist Obedience to Authority?
According to the Oxford Dictionary (2018), obedience involves complying with an order or to another’s authority. In terms of looking at the psychology behind obedience, Milgram (1963) conducted his infamous shock experiment. He interested in investigating how long participants would go in obeying a command if it involved hurting another being. It was found that 65% of participants continued administering shocks to the other (what they believed to be) participant, to the maximum level of 450 volts and all the sustained to 300 volts. This experiment showed that normal beings will obey authority. To resist authority, we can find an ally if we are part of a group. If someone shares the same concerns, they may join them in opposing the orders they disagree with. Of course, it is difficult to revolt alone as we want to be liked by others and right about certain things. These two factors are the very things that can lead us to question our judgment. A prime example of this effect is in one of Milgram’s conditions. The participant was shown another confederate refusing to comply and their non-cooperation had an outstanding impact on the participants that made only 10% give the maximum shock. Also, we can query the authority’s validity. We often present too much to others who possess an imperious front by e.g. their appearance. Also, when commanded do something one would believe is reprehensible, wonder whether you would do it in your own consciousness (“Obeying and Resisting Malevolent Orders”, 2004).
5. Why are People Less Likely to Help in Emergency Situations when in the Presence of Others vs. Alone?
There are multiple studies that show the ‘bystander effect’ which entails people being less likely to help in an emergency situation when they are with others versus alone. The more people present, the less likely people will intervene. A key example is the Kitty Genovese murder in which 38 normal citizens witnessed the murder and no one intervened/called police during. She called for help and even though people witnessed, no one helped. Witnesses found it challenging to justify why they didn’t call police (“Thirty-Eight Saw Murder”, 2018). Latane and Darley conducted a study involving male students that were alone in a room or with two others who were either confederates or participants. Smoke was distributed into the room and it was found that when the participants were alone, they reacted more quickly to the smoke compared to being in a group (Hogg & Vaughan, 2004). Latane and Darley proposed that the company of others can deter people from reacting to an emergency (Hogg & Vaughan, 2004). Perhaps this occurs due to diffusion of responsibility. Latane and Darley (1968) suggest the individual bystander is likely to look at the responses of people around them and be strongly influenced by them. If no one is doing anything (due to the fact that they too are looking at others’ reactions) this individual may want to conform to the social norm of not reacting as no one else is. However, when alone, they have no one to observe thus, trust their own judgement.
6. What Characterizes Relationships in which Aggression is Most Likely to Occur (i.e., What are the Features of the Aggressor, the Victim, and the Relationship Between Them)?
Baron & Richardson (1994) explain aggression as behaviour that is projected to intently maltreat another individual who does not desire to be harmed. In terms of features of the aggressor that highlight a likely aggressive/abusive relationship, if they tend to regularly drink alcohol, they may become more violent towards a partner. Steele & Josephs (1990) state that intoxication enables aggression as it weakens mental processing thus, more severe and less managed behaviour may occur. Another indicator is violent media. Liebert & baron (1972) found that children exposed to an aggressive TV program displayed more violent play thus, indicating that we may be very susceptible to influence and modelling behaviour thus, a violent relationship may occur later on in life. Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005) conducted a meta-analysis of reoffending studies and discovered that antisocial behaviour was the main predictor of violent reoffending thus, suggesting that if there is a history of violence, they may be more likely to repeat this behaviour in the future. In terms of the features of the victim that demonstrate a likely aggressive relationship, Cascardi, O’Learly, Lawrence & Schlee (1995) discovered that abused women expectantly reported more fear of their spouses and reported them as more forcible and psychologically aggressive. Also, intriguingly, they had higher rates of major depression before their current marriage. This suggests that depression may be an enabling factor when it comes to aggressive relationships. Because of the depression, one may ‘put up’ with more aggressive behaviour from a partner due to low self-worth.
7. What Role do Attributions Play in Romantic Relationships?
An attribution is an assumption made by an individual about causes of various behaviours or events. They are created in order to comprehend their experiences and can highly effect behaviour or in this case, romantic relationships. A common behaviour within romantic relationships is distrust. Attributions may cause a partner to be due to a previous negative experience e.g. one may have been cheated on therefore, they attribute that every other partner will do the same, becoming possessive and controlling to prevent their partner from being unfaithful. Another reason they may conclude this is due to an internal attribution. This is when one makes an assumption due to their perceived personal traits. For instance, one may be controlling in a romantic relationship as they feel that in themselves, they are not good enough or worthy of romantic love thus, hold on tightly to a romantic partner due to attributing that they will eventually leave as they are not good enough for the person. Another example is when a person has a certain ‘type’ of partner they are looking for. They may attribute that people who are employed will be trustworthy and reliable thus, may prefer these kinds of partners. Bradbury & Fincham (1990) examined the attributions that spouses make for marital events. They found that unhappy partners when compared with happy partners, made attributions for the partner’s behaviour that displayed it in a negative manner. Thus, attributions may influence marital satisfaction.
8. What are Some of the Limitations of Intergroup Contact as a Prejudice-Reduction Method?
Intergroup contact is a theory that is mainly accredited to Gordon W. Allport (1954). It proposes that in order to improve relations among groups that are experiencing conflict, under appropriate conditions, intergroup contact is one of the best methods to diminish bias among majority and minority crowds. Tajfel (1970) conducted an experiment in which participants were placed into either an ‘in-group’ or an ‘out-group’ and were asked either ‘the in-group and out-group to get £10 each’ or the in-group to get £7 and the outgroup to get £3. Results showed that predominantly participants preferred the £7/£3 option as it amplifies in-group achievement compared to the out-group. One method of intergroup contact is desegregation. However, a limitation of this is that it doesn’t totally mean contact. In an observational study by Dixon & Durrheim (2003) it was found that when a beach became desegregated, previously segregated groups still tended to stay together. Brown and Paterson (2016) stated that extended contact comes from the understanding that an in-group member has a familiar rapport with someone in an out-group yet, numerous studies showed extended contact negatively correlated with prejudice and its effects were constantly reduced. Also, it will rarely be likely to organise in-group members to imitate alliances with outgroup members. According to “What works to reduce prejudice and discrimination? – A review of the evidence” (2018) we should think disparagingly about the worth of contact. Though contact is mostly constructive, it needs to be delicately controlled otherwise it can be counter-productive.