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Welcome to the Table

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In social psychology there are many aspects of the things that we do in our daily lives that have been scientifically investigated through scientific method for the sake of getting to know human behavior and to put reasoning behind the thought, feeling and behavior of human beings as they are influence by our environment and others, basically why we do what we do. Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics some of which are perception, behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice to name a few. This paper will highlight a few of the terminologies and theories in this discipline also give overview to some of these afore mentioned topics. Starting with the terminology used in social psychology we look at the concept of self, it is stated in the text Introduction to Social Psychology self-concept “is the collection of things you know about yourself—such as your overall cognitive understanding (learned beliefs, attitudes, and opinions) about yourself” (Feenstra, 2011). Looking at this statement, it can be determined that the ideas learned throughout life about one’s self is a product self-concept. Self schema is what is understood and gathered from self-concept. Text defines self-schema as “organizing this information, affecting how we view the world and takes in information” (Feenstra, 2011). What are gathered from a person as far as the sports they may play, going to church and time spent with my family are all things that can attribute to ones self-concept. Self-efficacy would be the evaluation of our learned abilities to perform those particular tasks. Overall this can attribute to self-esteem which is how we see the qualities and abilities associated with ourselves. Culture as it pertains to development of the self-concept; can be a bit confusing, because the description of both independent and interdependent cultures can both fit into ones explanation of self depending on their cultural background and other influences. Moving on, we look at thinking about others and what judgments we make about others in our interactions with people. Terms such as attitudes, attribution, behavior, and explanatory styles have significance in social psychology on how we view others. Attributions are what we do in effort to explain the actions of ourselves and others. The reasons we may gather as to why people do things can be seen in different ways. Let’s say a coworkers is late to work, this can be view in two ways. It can be assumed that the actions of this coworker being late is because he or she does not care about the job, other coworkers their tardiness may affect or just plain inconsiderate. This is an attribution that would be an internal attribution. When you make an internal attribution you blame personality, attitudes, or some other dispositional factor for the action (Feenstra, 2011). On the other hand the coworker’s action can consider externally nothing to do with their attitude or personality but the fact that they may be having trouble with his vehicle or an important issue he had to take care of which would be an external attribution. When we assume the wrong element in such situations this is consider to be a fundamental attribution error. The possibility of making a fundamental attribution error would be because there could have been a conversation that was forgotten about where it was stated that this coworker had been having car trouble or that they moved and now has to take a different, perhaps longer and unfamiliar route to work. We as humans have different ways we look at certain situation and this is explained by explanatory styles. The explanatory style of a person who makes internal, stable, and global attributions for positive things would have an optimistic explanatory style. A pessimistic explanatory style would be a person who makes external, unstable, and specific attributions for negative things. It is said that people with pessimistic explanatory style are more prone to be depressed when dealing with bad situations. Now we will take a look at the terms prejudice, stereotype and discrimination and how it pertains to social psychology. In our society there are a number of differences as far as class, race, nationality and culture. With this mixture, there are elements of these diversities that don’t mix well and bring rise to the issues of Prejudice, Discrimination and Stereotype. Prejudice is a dislike or an unwarranted negative attitude towards an individual or group based on a preconceived judgment about an individual’s membership of a social, racial/ethnic, or religious group. In society there are many instances where we hear the words Racism, Sexism and Anti Semitism. These words represent the issues around the prejudicial stance people outside certain groups against others from categorization. “Making judgments about individuals based on their membership in a group relies, first of all, on perceiving that there are groups” (Feenstra, 2011). Discrimination is defined as the behavior or actions, treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit (2012). The preference one may take in a certain group and having a prejudice against another can lead to acts of discrimination. Stereotyping is defined as beliefs of a social group of people who may have the same characteristics or behavior that is assigned to all members of a group by another social group. Taking a look at each of these elements, it can be concluded that stereotyping is the perspective; prejudice the emotional and discrimination the behavioral components of these related words. Stereotyping is mostly inaccurate and often derogatory. Stereotyping can allow one to have preconceived notions about someone’s personality or way of life based on the assumptions about status, racial, or cultural view. In our daily lives persuasion is a part or art of communication that human being engage in that is really not thought about by most, but done reciprocally in much of our contact with others. “Whether it's our friends and family, work colleagues, potential employers or strangers, each of us has to work out how to bring others around to our own point of view” (2011). Even while we are sitting at home watching television we are consciously and unconsciously being persuaded and fall victim to persuasion or overcoming it daily. “The goal of persuasion is to convince the target to internalize the persuasive argument and adopt this new attitude as a part of their core belief system” (Cherry, 2012). There are techniques associated with how we try to persuade others. The “low-ball technique is the technique of persuasion where a request is made that is reasonable, but after the person agrees, additional things are added that make the overall request less reasonable” (Feenstra, 2011). Many are persuaded by this technique because they convinced and already obligated to something and the extra stuff that is offered might be a necessity, now the request may not seem as reasonable as it did initially when all is revealed in the end. I have fallen victim to this many times when purchasing different things. I have even come to using the technique myself as a motorcycles salesman. Knowing what I do if the low-ball technique, I no long am susceptible to the technique. The legitimization-of-paltry-favors technique catches us by making a very small contribution acceptable. This technique of persuasion is common with charities, when asking for donations to sell the point of any amount will be of some help prompts the would be giver to give and more than likely give more that the purposed acceptable amount. “It is difficult to refuse when even a very small amount is described as legitimate” (Feenstra, 2011). I have seen this technique used many times when encountering a homeless person panhandling. On the days that I feel generous, if I’m asked to spare change I would give a dollar or two instead. There are days that I don’t feel generous and skeptical of the person’s intent which may inhibit my decision to give. The reciprocity technique is a technique that would be considered general common courtesy. The promise or expectation of a favor being returned persuades most to do or give to another. “Reciprocity is considered a rule of social behavior, a rule that appears to be present in most cultures, if not all” (Feenstra, 2011). When someone does something for you, most feel obligated to return the favor or something equivalent for that person. One way this form of persuasion would not work is if a person asking isn’t reliable or trustworthy enough to return on the investment, usually people don’t want to get burned so they will become skeptical the instant this trust is betrayed. As stated earlier in

The text states “At times we resist persuasion not because of well-thought-out arguments but simply because we are reacting to manipulation” (Feenstra, 2011). To react is a natural response when we feel threatened and some persuaders may come off like they are trying to manipulate so it is natural to go against what they may be trying to persuade us to do. To be persuaded by a group, one may be willing to conform to what the group is doing because they are not willing to be the outsider, the only one not going along with what everyone else is doing. Being persuaded by an individual may mean the individual has some type of influence or authority above the person being persuaded to gain some sort of acceptance. I don’t think that there is that much of a difference between the two (group and individual persuasion) they both seem to fit the need of being accepted by the persuader or persuaders. The only difference I see might be insubordination within the individual sense. We as social beings are more prone to conformity and obedience because it is hard being on the outside of the group or doing something that seems like not following direction, to be ostracized by a group or looked upon as insubordinate comes with a certain feeling most do not want to have. I believe this a possible explanation for this type of behavior; authority does play a major role in social beings and the fact that as social being not a part of a group or disappointing authority does influence obedience and conformity. An instance I can give as an example of conformity and obedience would be certain aspect of my job; I may not understand or agree with a reason for punishment or loss of privilege a resident may earn from another staff member, but I have to go along with it to show the uniformity of the staff. Having to oversee the loss of privilege/ penalty is the obedience I must show, adhering to the program rules. Persuasion is a conscious attempt to influence people's opinions and behavior, there are some people that are not easily swayed as others, but if the important components within the techniques of persuasion are present the likelihood of effective persuasion is greater no matter who is being persuaded. Persuasion is one of the ways people in society interacts reciprocating suggestion of goods, deeds and services for one another, because everyone in society has a need for something or the other and persuasion supplies more incentive or validation to the need we may have. There are a couple of reasons one is able to be persuaded by another. In persuading, the persuader uses certain techniques in trying to sway someone to do what they are asking or suggesting. First off the persuader must be likeable enough to have an effect on the person they are trying to persuade. Personality and attractiveness plays an important part and helps in persuasion, it would be harder to sway someone who doesn’t care for the person trying to convince them into buying or doing something. Individuals we like are more persuasive to us. Along with personality, the person doing the persuading, other factors that may help their cause is their credibility and attractiveness. “In general, more physically attractive communicators are more persuasive and less attractive communicators are less persuasive” (Feenstra, 2011). The credibility of the persuader attributes to the expertise and trustworthiness as well. A communicator with expertise would be a communicator who would has knowledge of what they are trying to convince their audience about and would be able to get their points across efficiently. This tie in with the receivers trust in what the messenger is saying enabling the listener to be more receptive or the message. If none of these elements are present, think about how one would perceive a persuaders message, it might be like that person isn’t even speaking. All is not lost for the unattractive, angry, or non-credible person trying to get their point across, text says that “For the less attractive, keeping persuasive intent hidden is a better strategy” (Feenstra, 2011). The message is what the persuader uses in conjunction with all afore mentioned characteristics of who the persuader is. The message involves the language and symbolism used by the persuader to suggest the information to the person or audience being persuaded. Characteristics that are inherent in persuasive messages are things such as emotion, framing, narratives, and rational appeal. These are how persuasive messages or posed and the way they are able to get through to the listener. “Persuasion can be subtle, and how we respond to such influences can depend on a variety of factors” (Cherry, 2012). When dealing with emotion a persuader may appeal to the listeners’ emotions such as happiness, fear or guilt to make a message persuasive. The use of fear to make you afraid of the possibility of dealing with some potential consequence, with guilt one may be made to feel that if something is not a certain way it is your responsibility to correct or with happiness implying that this feeling is what one can have by submitting to suggestion and this is done through the various characteristics of a message. Framed messages influence responses to persuasive messages. Feenstra states “Whether the persuader wants to use a gain-framed message or a loss-framed message depends on whether the audience is in a good mood or a bad mood” (2011). A gain-framed message is one that focuses on a benefit or some advantage to the listener or audience and the opposite with loss-framed messages. People find narratives persuasive, but only when those narratives are strong. Everyone likes a good story; if a story is good and the argument or point trying to be persuaded is weak it is possible for that story to take precedence and be persuasive, but when a message is shared not in a story but as a rational appeal, arguments that are weak are not persuasive. Reason appeals to well-educated, logical people. It is said that “Rational appeals can also be persuasive, but arguments need to be strong” (Feenstra, 2011). This is where the sleeper effect becomes relevant, over time if an initial message is not strong, over a certain amount of time it can become persuasive. The significance of the sleeper effect is one may lessen a persuasive message the first couple times around and after a while forget their reasons for downplaying it and end up being persuaded even more. In persuasion there are techniques used that goes along with who the persuader is, what the message is and who is hearing the message. This could be considered the type of message being delivered to the audience. In social psychology, one of the few technique used is the low-ball technique. This is where one is asked something that may seem simple or very reasonable, but after the person agrees, after the fact additional things are added that make the overall request less reasonable. At this point, the person is already locked is and less likely to walk away because they are invested. Many are persuaded by this technique because they convinced and already obligated to something and the extra stuff that is offered might be of some necessity. The request may not seem as reasonable as it did initially when all is revealed in the end. People fall victim to this when purchasing different things. Many things come in to play when it comes to who the audience is and why different audiences perceive messages in different ways. These factors can range from culture, the difference in sex and self-esteem. As people are different, it takes different methods to persuade each individual. The differences in culture can be those from interdependent or independent and how they view themselves in contrast to their cultures. Self esteem wise if one has low self-esteem they would be more liable to yield to what others say therefore easily being convinced not having much backing their judgment. This is the opposite with those who have a high self-esteem. The term for this is called receptivity and yielding. “In order for a message to be considered persuasive, the individual must both be receptive to the message and yield to it” (Feentra, 2011). Other elements are when people are motivated and able to process a message, they will take more time to think about and evaluate the message, so when all of the elements are in favor of the persuader and the message or strong the audience is more susceptible to the persuasion and adversely when the message is weak. This is called central route to persuasion. As we all are different, the ways and processes in which we take to persuasion are also different. Social psychology has termed many of the methods which makes us prone to and resist persuasion. It is explained from the ways we perceive the communicator and the message of persuasion to why and what persuasions we are more inclined to except as well as deny. “Each of these factors interacts with one another, so a particular communicator may be quite persuasive using a certain type of message with a certain audience but less persuasive when conditions change” (Feenstra, 2011). As stated previously whether it's our friends and family, people at work, going out for a new job or talking to strangers, we each have the task of getting our audience to see our points of view as well as they are when engaging us in persuasion. As stated in the text “Altruism occurs when our motive for our behavior is entirely for the interest of others and is not motivated by self-interest. On the other hand, when we do something entirely for self-interest, we are being egoistic” (Feenstra, 2011). I understand the definition of altruism, but as I read, my thoughts wandered off thinking of examples. I looked at my getting up every day for work, am I doing this for self-interest or is it motivated altruistically? I am doing it because I need to provide for my family (interest of others) and help them or is it egoistical that I do it to provide myself with a certain lifestyle? The text explains that when people have altruistic motives, their goal is for the welfare of the other person, not your own, so the way I answered my puzzling thought was that yes, I work and do mostly all that I do for my family first and my needs come second so my actions (going to work) is both altruistic and egoistic. I act altruistically because I want my wife and children to be happy and have a good quality of life.

(2011).The Psychology of Persuasion. In PSYBLOG. Retrieved May 11, 2012,from http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/01/the-psychology-of-persuasion.php.
(2012). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In undefined. Retrieved May 2, 2012, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination.
Cherry, K.(2012). Persuasion Techniques: The Psychology of Persuasion. In About.com Psychology. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/a/persuasiontech.htm. Feenstra, J. (2011). Introduction to Social Psychology. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
McLeod, S. A. (2008). Simply Psychology; Prejudice and Discrimination in Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/prejudice.html

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Country Girls

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...Running Head: LITERARY WORK ENG 125 January 9, 2011 “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer are two literary poems that have similarities and differences. They are very different in their style, character and format. I think the most common thing that these two literary poems share is they both have a strong and excellent characterization. “Country Lovers” has events and circumstances of behavior and situations that “The Welcome Table does not have. Emphasizing the similarities in an essay defines its comparison and when you emphasize the differences in an essay you are defining the contrast. As I discuss these essays in my writing, you will note that there are some similarities but they are totally different. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two literary stories, “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker and “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. These two stories overall message is “engages the reader in inter-racial issues from a sociological and moral perspective” in “The Welcome Table”. When we look at the “Country Lovers” I think the message “engages the reader in the same inter-racial issues from a sociological but the perspective is psychological.” (p.69) These two pieces are similar in that they are both written in third person and they both have an effect of social and racial discrimination involved in them. As the author of both pieces intentions are to......

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