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Article

David E. Rast III and Christine Kershaw

Although social influence and leadership are inextricably intertwined, with a few notable exceptions, they are typically discussed in isolation from one another. The overlap of methods of social influence and theories of leadership, however, makes it clear these topics should be discussed together. Furthermore, the involvement of group norms, which are group-based social constructs related to values within the group, clearly link leadership and social influence research. Group norms are involved in social influence via such group-oriented influences as conformity, and they are involved in leadership by setting the values used to determine the group’s leader. Understanding the relationship between and the potential limitations of social influence and leadership will provide researchers in both fields with a stronger foundation for future areas of inquiry.

Article

Amber M. Gaffney and Natasha La Vogue

Research and both applications of theories of dogmatism and the need for closure implicate the importance of closed belief systems in cognition, social interactions, and decision-making. Research traditionally examines dogmatism as a personality trait wherein people vary in the extent to which they actively justify and maintain their closed belief systems through ideological rigidity. The need for cognitive closure is a related concept, but research and theorizing in this area provides an account of an epistemic motivation to obtain knowledge and answers rapidly—to find information quickly and hold fast to the conclusions drawn from that information. Research on both dogmatism and the need for cognition hold significant implications for and applications to political decision-making and ideology, in-group favoritism and out-group derogation, and resistance to change.

Article

Wolfgang Steinel and Fieke Harinck

Bargaining and negotiation are the most constructive ways to handle conflict. Economic prosperity, order, harmony, and enduring social relationships are more likely to be reached by parties who decide to work together toward agreements that satisfy everyone’s interests than by parties who fight openly, dominate one another, break off contact, or take their dispute to an authority to resolve. There are two major research paradigms: distributive and integrative negotiation. Distributive negotiation (“bargaining”) focuses on dividing scarce resources and is studied in social dilemma research. Integrative negotiation focuses on finding mutually beneficial agreements and is studied in decision-making negotiation tasks with multiple issues. Negotiation behavior can be categorized by five different styles: distributive negotiation is characterized by forcing, compromising, or yielding behavior in which each party gives and takes; integrative negotiation is characterized by problem-solving behavior in which parties search for mutually beneficial agreements. Avoiding is the fifth negotiation style, in which parties do not negotiate. Cognitions (what people think about the negotiation) and emotions (how they feel about the negotiation and the other party) affect negotiation behavior and outcomes. Most cognitive biases hinder the attainment of integrative agreements. Emotions have intrapersonal and interpersonal effects, and can help or hinder the negotiation. Aspects of the social context, such as gender, power, cultural differences, and group constellations, affect negotiation behaviors and outcomes as well. Although gender differences in negotiation exist, they are generally small and are usually caused by stereotypical ideas about gender and negotiation. Power differences affect negotiation in such a way that the more powerful party usually has an advantage. Different cultural norms dictate how people will behave in a negotiation. Aspects of the situational context of a negotiation are, for example, time, communication media, and conflict issues. Communication media differ in whether they contain visual and acoustic channels, and whether they permit synchronous communication. The richness of the communication channel can help unacquainted negotiators to reach a good agreement, yet it can lead negotiators with a negative relationship into a conflict spiral. Conflict issues can be roughly categorized in scarce resources (money, time, land) on the one hand, and norms and values on the other. Negotiation is more feasible when dividing scarce resources, and when norms and values are at play in the negotiation, people generally have a harder time to find agreements, since the usual give and take is no longer feasible. Areas of future research include communication, ethics, physiological or hormonal correlates, or personality factors in negotiations.

Article

Geoffrey Haddock, Sapphira Thorne, and Lukas Wolf

Attitudes refer to overall evaluations of people, groups, ideas, and other objects, reflecting whether individuals like or dislike them. Attitudes have been found to be good predictors of behavior, with generally medium-sized effects. The role of attitudes in guiding behavior may be the primary reason why people’s social lives often revolve around expressing and discussing their attitudes, and why social psychology researchers have spent decades examining attitudes. Two central questions in the study of attitudes concern when and how attitudes predict behavior. The “when” question has been addressed over decades of research that has identified circumstances under which attitudes are more or less likely to predict behavior. That is, attitudes are stronger predictors of behaviors when both constructs are assessed in a corresponding or matching way, when attitudes are stronger, and among certain individuals and in certain situations and domains. The “how” question concerns influential models in the attitudes literature that provide a better understanding of the processes through which attitudes are linked with behaviors. For instance, these models indicate that other constructs need to be taken into account in understanding the attitude-behavior link, including intentions to perform a behavior, whether individuals perceive themselves to be in control of their behavior, and what they believe others around them think the individual should do (i.e., norms). The models also describe whether attitudes relate to behavior through relatively deliberative and controlled processes or relatively automatic and spontaneous processes. Overall, the long history of research on attitude-behavior links has provided a clearer prediction of when attitudes are linked with behaviors and a better understanding of the processes underlying this link.

Article

Steve A. Nida

The brutal 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese sparked widespread public interest, primarily because it was reported to have taken place in view of some 38 witnesses, most of whom had seen the incident through the windows of their apartments in a high-rise building directly across the street. (Investigative work conducted some 50 years later suggests that there were not that many actual witnesses—more likely as few as seven or eight.) The ensuing analyses provided by newspaper columnists and others tended to focus on the callous indifference that had been demonstrated by those who had chosen not to intervene in the emergency, a state of affairs that came to be known, at least for a while, as “bystander apathy.” (It soon became clear, however, that bystanders in such events are rarely apathetic or indifferent.) Intrigued by the internal and interpersonal dynamics that might be involved, two social psychologists, Bibb Latané and John Darley, began a program of research that led to the conclusion that any notion of “safety in numbers” is illusory. In fact, it is the very presence of other people that may discourage helping in such circumstances. More specifically, other unresponsive bystanders may provide cues suggesting that the event is not serious and that inaction is the appropriate response. In addition, knowing that others are available to help allows the individual bystander to shift some of the responsibility for intervening to the others present, a process that Latané and Darley termed “diffusion of responsibility”; that is, the greater the number of others present, the easier it is for any one individual to assume that someone else will help. Subsequent research has demonstrated that this tendency for the individual to be less likely to help when part of a group than when alone—now known as the “bystander effect”—is a remarkably robust phenomenon. Even though social psychology has developed a thorough understanding of the mechanisms that drive this phenomenon, applying this knowledge is difficult, and significant incidents involving the bystander effect continue to occur.

Article

John Drury and Stephen Reicher

The challenge for a psychology of crowds and collective behavior is to explain how large numbers of people are, spontaneously, able to act together in patterned and socially meaningful ways and, at the same time, how crowd events can bring about social and psychological change. Classical theories, which treat crowd psychology as pathological, deny any meaning to crowd action. More recent normative and rationalist models begin to explain the coherence of crowd action but are unable to explain how that links to broader social systems of meaning. In both cases, the explanatory impasse derives from an individualistic conception of selfhood that denies any social basis to behavioral control. Such a basis is provided by the social identity approach. This proposes that crowd formation is underpinned by the development of shared social identity whereby people see themselves and others in terms of membership of a common category. This leads to three psychological transformations: members perceive the world in terms of collective values and belief systems; they coordinate themselves effectively; and hence they are empowered to realize their collective goals. These transformations explain the social form of crowd action. At the same time, crowd events are intergroup phenomena. It is through the intergroup dynamics between the crowd and an out-group (typically the police)—more specifically the way the social position of crowd members can change through the way police officers understand and respond to their actions—that change can occur. The social identity framework helps make sense of a range of phenomena beyond conflict crowds, including behavior in emergencies and disasters and the psychology of mass gatherings. The practical adequacy of the social identity approach is demonstrated by its use in a number of applied fields, including “public order” policing, crowd and emergency management, mass gatherings, health, and pedestrian modeling.

Article

Kimberly Rios and Cameron D. Mackey

With its origin in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx, relative deprivation has been investigated by researchers in psychology, sociology, anthropology, criminology, and political science. Relative deprivation is a judgment of oneself or one’s ingroup as being disadvantaged compared to another person or group, which leads to feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, and/or entitlement. Individuals can feel relatively deprived when comparing themselves to other ingroup members or relevant outgroup members, or when comparing their ingroup as a whole to a relevant outgroup. Individuals can also make temporal comparisons—comparing their current status with their own past or future status or comparing their ingroup’s current status with the past or future status of the ingroup. If these comparisons lead to an appraisal of disadvantage and to affective reactions such as angry resentment, a variety of interpersonal or intergroup outcomes can ensue, including individual psychological states (e.g., lower self-esteem), individual behavior (e.g., increased engagement in risky behaviors such as gambling), intergroup attitudes (e.g., more prejudice toward the outgroup), and collective action (e.g., higher likelihood of protesting). Relative deprivation can be influenced by several factors. People from individualistic cultures have been shown to exhibit more relative deprivation from collectivistic cultures. Temporality also has affected feelings of relative deprivation; these feelings are dependent upon type of temporal comparison (past vs. future) and number of temporal comparisons. Moreover, temporal comparisons have been treated as both an influencer of relative deprivation as well as a source of relative deprivation; future research should address these competing notions. Additional influencing factors include system-justifying beliefs (potentially limiting comparisons and subsequent feelings of relative deprivation) and feelings of empowerment (leading to more deprivation). Future directions pertaining to relative deprivation should focus on comparing feelings of relative deprivation over a period of time (i.e., longitudinally) and experimentally manipulating the construct to flesh out how relative deprivation works. Another recommendation for future research involves creating and validating measures of relative deprivation at both the individual and group level. Finally, a newer line of research examines relative gratification (where cognitive comparisons of being better-off than others leads to prejudice against outgroups). Future research should determine when and how relative gratification occurs and what the differences between the feelings and outcomes of relative gratification and relative deprivation may be.

Article

Kimberly Rios and Cameron D. Mackey

The definition of group cohesion has been debated since the formal introduction of the concept in social psychology. Group cohesion has undergone a variety of conceptualizations over the years stemming from several theoretical perspectives. Many models of group cohesion have been introduced; however, research with these models is largely confined to the field (e.g., psychology) or subfield (e.g., sports psychology) in which it originated. Initially, unidimensional models of group cohesion were popular, with proponents of these models arguing that cohesion would have the same consequences regardless of its operationalization. However, later research found that group cohesion may be multidimensional in nature. Several two-dimensional models have been proposed, the most popular of which distinguishes between group members working together to attain common goals (task cohesion) and group members interacting with one another on a more personal level (social cohesion). Another multidimensional model of group cohesion builds on the social-task cohesion distinction but further divides social and task cohesion into Group Integration and Individual Attractiveness to Group sub-components, thus creating a four-factor model. Group cohesion has been applied to a variety of group contexts, including sports teams, military squads, and work groups. The amount of cohesion in each group is dependent upon the properties of the group being investigated. Groups that have naturally formed (i.e., “real” groups) have higher rates of group cohesion than groups created for the purpose of a study (i.e., “artificial” groups). Other factors that affect group cohesion include type of group (e.g., interdependent vs. co-acting) and level of analysis (i.e., individual or group). Research on group cohesion has focused on the consequences of group cohesion in lieu of what causes group cohesion in the first place. Furthermore, although much research has detailed the relationship between cohesion and performance, many other positive consequences of group cohesion have not been assessed in depth. Finally, group cohesion is also associated with potential negative consequences, such as groupthink.

Article

Scholars have developed a plethora of approaches to reducing prejudice and discrimination, many of which have been successfully applied in schools, workplaces, and community settings. Research on intergroup contact suggests that contact between members of different groups, particularly when that contact is warm and positive (for example through friendships) reduces negative emotional reactions (e.g., anxiety) and promotes positive emotions (e.g., empathy), results in more positive attitudes toward members of that group. One might expect that, in an increasingly connected world characterized by global mobility and diversity, higher levels of contact would be associated with a significant lessening of prejudice and discrimination. However, critics have pointed out that changes in attitudes at the individual level do not necessarily translate into reduced prejudice and discrimination at a societal level. Moreover, not everyone has the opportunity to engage in meaningful contact with members of other groups, and even when they do, these opportunities are not always capitalized on. One solution to lack of opportunities for contact is to capitalize on “indirect contact.” These are interventions based on the principles of contact, but which do not involve a face-to-face encounter. Extended contact, which refers to knowing in-group members who have out-group friends, and vicarious contact, which involves learning about the positive contact experiences of our fellow group members, for example via the media, online intergroup contact, and imagining intergroup contact, have each been shown to promote more positive intergroup attitudes. Another way to reduce prejudice and discrimination is to change the way people categorize social groups. When people perceive members of their own group and another group to belong to the same overarching group—that is, they hold a common in-group identity—there is evidence of reduced intergroup bias. However, when our group membership is important to us, this may constitute a threat to our identity, and lead to a reactive increase in bias in order to reassert the distinctiveness of our group. One solution to this is to encourage a dual identity, whereby an individual holds both the original group membership and a common in-group identity that encompasses both groups simultaneously. Alternatively, given the many and varied group memberships that individuals hold, social categories become less useful as a way of categorizing people. There is also evidence that taking a multicultural approach, where differences are acknowledged, rather than a color-blind approach, where differences are ignored, is less likely to result in prejudice and discrimination. Finally, there is evidence that teaching people about other groups, and about the biases they hold but perhaps are not aware of, can help to reduce prejudice and discrimination.

Article

Mark Alicke, Yiyue Zhang, and Nicole Stephenson

Research has explored the relationship between self-knowledge and self-awareness. Specifically, psychologists see self-awareness as a step on the path toward self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not a monolithic concept. For instance, the working self-concept is the self that is most relevant and accessible at a given time, while the global self-concept is an enduring, stored version of oneself. Implicit self-views are normally unconscious, whereas explicit self-views are generally conscious. The discrepancy between implicit and explicit self-knowledge sometimes results in inaccurate evaluations of attitudes, thoughts, and feelings. Other types of self-knowledge are context-dependent. Established theories such as social identity theory state that people have distinct self-views in different situations. For example, self-complexity refers to the number of self-aspects a person possesses. Finally, there are also distinctions between accurate (i.e., self-assessment theory) and positive self-knowledge (i.e., self-enhancement theory). Self-assessment theory posits that people are information seekers who desire accurate self-views. On the contrary, self-enhancement theory says that people seek to maintain positive self-views and are averse to negative self-information. Depending on the context and the concerns for self-presentation, individuals have preferences to pursue accurate or enhancing self-information. Increased self-knowledge can manifest in three major ways: via biological, interpersonal, and intrapsychic origins. Biological explanations of the origins of self-knowledge are mostly concerned with genetic expressions and brain activities. Interpersonal paths also help individuals develop self-knowledge. For instance, social comparison facilitates people’s formation of self-views by comparing themselves with similar others. Reflected appraisals increase people’s awareness of their own abilities, qualities, and identities through others’ lens. Intrapsychic self-knowledge can be obtained through self-perception, in which people learn about themselves by observing and analyzing their behaviors in relevant situations. Introspection—focusing on the self—helps people ascertain the reasons behind their feelings and behaviors, which contributes to self-views. However, introspection can sometimes lead to flawed self-knowledge, or result in negative feelings induced by the feelings of inadequacy. Building on introspection, self-awareness provides another avenue for self-knowledge. The capacity to be aware of one’s existence, or reflexive self-consciousness, is a fundamental component of human cognition. Experimentally induced self-awareness has been shown to have positive effects (e.g., greater compliance with internal standards). Sometimes, however, awareness can have aversive consequences (e.g., suicide) because it reveals that one has fallen short of one’s goals. One way to reduce this discomfort is to avoid self-awareness, such as by cognitive deconstruction—an induction of a cognitive state that lacks emotion, a sense of the future, or concentration on the present. Another way to avoid self-awareness is through deindividuation, which is characterized by a temporary loss of personal identity, especially in a large group. Because self-awareness is associated with both life- and death-related thoughts, researchers argue the nature of this awareness is existential.