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Social Psychology

Free «Social Psychology» Essay Sample

1. How does group membership – even in minimal groups – contribute to prejudice and discrimination?

Group membership is a small society which has its own rules, beliefs and world view. Apparently, even the smallest groups create their own system of values and, hence, those people who have different points of view or whose values are not similar to the group’s ones may be viewed as a potential threat to this group. As a result, prejudice and discrimination are the ways to protect the group’s identity.

2. What is modern prejudice and how is it different from “old-fashioned bigotry”? In what ways have normative pressures contributed to modern prejudice?

Modern prejudice such as discrimination of gay men and lesbian women differs from old-fashion ones because it raises issue of social behavior but not ethnic origin or culture as it was before. “Old-fashioned bigotry” is closely connected with the perception and treatment of some aspects of life with regards to religion, morality and old-fashioned views, while modern prejudice is not so vividly manifested. Talking about normative pressures, their contribution to modern prejudice is evident while people do not straightly show their hatred, rejection or refusal of some phenomena but try to treat them with political correctness.

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3. According to the authors, how does a belief in a just world (Lerner, 1980) contribute to blaming the victims of injustice?

A just world predetermines that people receive what they deserve. In other words, any unjustified or wrongful actions will be punished. Hence, the idea of a just world makes people react negatively on victims of injustice because no one except them is guilty of their sufferings and their existence ruins a just world in which they desire to reside. However, a just world is a utopia, and those who want to make it real try to remove the results of injustice, but not its reasons.

4. In what ways do self-fulfilling prophecies contribute to prejudice and negative stereotypes?

Every individual creates the world in which they live; thus, they are the ones who fulfill it. According to this fact, one creates the image of their own world, but, in fact, this image does not always correspond to the reality. Thus, self-fulfilling prophecies are people’s false beliefs or expectations about an event, a situation, or a person that influences people’s behavior and triggers the fulfillment of those expectations. For instance, if a man believes that women are bad drivers, he will only pay attention to accidents caused by women’s careless driving, and it will cause the development of prejudice.


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5. Describe how the jigsaw classroom technique fosters cooperation and interdependence in the cooperative classroom.

Jigsaw teaching technique is created in order to teach people work as a team. Individualism is a good quality, but the necessity of extra help is not a weakness, but it is a correct vision of a particular situation. Hence, people learn to trust each other and rely on each other. On the other hand, one becomes more reliable and responsible because other people believe in their cooperation so that this individual cannot disappoint others.

6. Provide an example of a social dilemma as it relates to the environment.

One can introduce the pollution of the atmosphere by CO2 emissions as a social dilemma. People use cars which are one of the major factors of this environmental problem. Hence, a social dilemma is that people cannot cease the usage of cars because, on the one hand, it is the main way of transportation, but on the other hand, it is the main source of CO2 emissions.

7. Your text discusses the value of cooperation and working together to solve the social dilemma of environmental problems. Yet, there are ways to also use competition to improve the environment. Describe how competition can be used to promote behaviors that would improve the environment.

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Competition may be used as the main source of inspiration or motivation to make the environment cleaner. For example, in order to stimulate people, one should offer benefits to those organizations or individuals who will demonstrate the biggest contribution to the solution of environmental problems. The desire to receive these benefits will motivate people to do more than others and with bigger enthusiasm. Hence, competition is the means of productivity increasing which is targeted on the environmental issues.

8. Recall that Kurt Lewin (1947) asserted that the best way to ensure large, widespread social change is to remove small barriers. How has this idea been used to encourage recycling?

Recycling is a small opportunity to make one’s own contribution to the solution of environmental problems. In this way, people receive a chance to make a little difference that can lead to a great change. If everyone recycles their waste products, the environmental problem will be declined at least for a bit.

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9. Describe the three controllable things in a person’s life that can lead to greater happiness and explain why these things lead to greater happiness.

A person is the only one who can make themselves happy. Hence, happiness is a controllable effect, and it can be achieved by the following methods: self-motivation, pleasant company and favorite job/hobby. Self-motivation helps to be confident in what one does, and it inspires them to cope with challenges and achieve the necessary results. Those people who surround a person may bring them positive or negative emotions. Thus, if one wants to become happier, they should avoid communication with unpleasant people who bring only stress and disappointment. The third point is a favorite hobby or job which is a part of a person’s everyday life and, hence, may bring positive effect on their mood.

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