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SPC 3210 FSU Zeigler Test 2
Terms in this set (77)
Feeling of discomfort resulting from inconsistent attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors
- The manner, disposition, feeling, or position one holds with regard to a person or thing; a tendency or orientation, especially of the mind
- Cannot be directly observed
Ways of knowing, beliefs, judgments, and thoughts
- Deal with how our mind processes and/or categorizes information (stimuli)
- As information is taken in, it is grouped with similar information to form a pattern that helps make it easier to understand & recall the information later
- Sometimes, even though the information we process relates in some way to information stored in our minds, it is inconsistent with the pattern (attitude) we have already created
Principles of consistency theories
1. The mind operates as an intermediary between stimulus and response.
2. When people receive information (a stimulus), their minds organize it into a pattern with other previously encountered stimuli. If the new stimulus does not fit the pattern or is inconsistent, then people will feel discomfort. As a result, they will then take steps to reduce the discomfort
Heider's Balance Theory
- Looks at cognitive elements of relationships (among other things) and the attitudes/evaluations that are attached to these relationships
- Three components: A person or perceiver (P), another person (O), and an issue (X).
- Balance Theory's basic premise is that people prefer a balanced relationship between P, O & X (regardless of whether it is positive or negatively evaluated).
Types of Cognitive Relationships
Consonant, Dissonant, Irrelevant
Our beliefs and behaviors coincide
Our beliefs do not fit with our behaviors
Beliefs and behaviors do not relate
Assumption #1 of Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- Humans want consistency between thoughts and beliefs
- This is an aspect of human behavior; people want their thoughts and actions to be in balance with each other.
- Example: Smoking in spite of the knowledge that it causes cancer.
Assumption #2 of Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- Dissonance is created by psychological inconsistencies (as opposed to logical inconsistencies) which arouse cognitive dissonance.
- It is important to remember that there is a difference between psychological inconsistency and logical inconsistency.
- It is possible for things to be logically consistent, but psychologically inconsistent (and vice versa).
- Example: Believing that preserving the earth for future generations is an important and worthy cause yet also believing that it's okay to throw away plastic and cans rather than recycle because, after all, not much difference can be made at a personal level would be logically inconsistent (may not cause cognitive dissonance)
- Psychologically inconsistent example: Ali believes that it is important to give back to the community, yet working for the Alliance (which is not doing anything) makes her feel uncomfortable.
Assumption #3 of Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- Dissonance is cognitively uncomfortable
- Psychological inconsistencies cause aversive dissonance.
Festinger explains that aversive dissonance is actually a drive state that possesses arousal properties.
- A drive state is a situation that causes a reaction-in this case physiological arousal or tension.
Assumption #4 of Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- We are psychologically driven to reduce dissonance.
- Physiological arousal (tension) from dissonance motivates people to take action to avoid situations that create psychological inconsistencies or to make an effort to restore or maintain psychological consistency (balance) between cognitions (beliefs & attitudes) and behaviors.
Magnitude of Dissonance
The quantitative amount of discomfort felt
Three factors that influence Magnitude of Dissonance
- How important the issue/event is
- The dissonance ratio: the number of dissonant vs. consonant feelings you have about an issue/event
- The strength of reasoning used to justify the discrepancy between dissonant/consonant feelings
Techniques for coping with Cognitive Dissonance
1. An individual can add or subtract cognitions to change the ratio of consonant to dissonant cognitions.
2. An individual might try to reduce the importance of the dissonant cognitions (convince self its not important)
3.An individual might distort information or stimuli in an effort to reduce dissonance (make it fit original beliefs)
Examples of techniques used to reduce dissonance
- Change your attitude
- Add consonant cognitions
- Derogate the unchosen alternative (it's better than...)
- Spread apart the alternatives; prior evaluation of options was close, in order to make yourself feel "better" you raise the chosen alternative and lower the evaluation of the unchosen option (ex. Going to see a movie or staying home-works until you clearly realize how bad the movie is)
- Alter the importance of the cognitive elements (trivialize the movie choice to make it unimportant)
- Suppress thoughts (denial)
- Communicate (Use conversation to help bolster your decision)
- Alter the behavior (Crappy movie? Leave)
Ways to avoid information that increases dissonance
1. Selective Exposure
2. Selective attention
3. Selective interpretation
4. Selective Retention
- Seeking out info that is consonant (consistent) with existing beliefs/attitudes helps us avoid and reduce dissonance
- CDT predicts that people will avoid information that increases dissonance and seek out information that is consistent with their attitudes and behaviors.
- Paying attention to information that is consonant with attitudes/beliefs
- People attend to information that conforms to their attitudes and beliefs while ignoring information that is inconsistent.
- Taking ambiguous information and molding it to fit your needs and increase consonance
- Berscheid and Walster (1978) report that selective interpretation leads most people to interpret close friends' attitudes as more congruent with their own than is actually true.
- Showalter (1997) discusses the seeming inconsistency of being a feminist critic while also loving to shop and wear feminine clothing and accessories.
- People use selective interpretation to avoid potential dissonance.
- Remembering and learning consonant information more easily than dissonant information
- CDT predicts that if a couple were arguing about whether to spend a vacation camping or on a cruise, the partner wishing to camp would not remember the details of the cruise package and the one desiring the cruise would not remember much about the camping plans.
Principle of Minimal Justification
- Using the least amount of effort/incentive to achieve the greatest result
- Minimal justification sets up more cognitive dissonance and requires more change on a person's part to reduce it than a more substantial justification would.
Festinger/Carlsmith Study (1957)
- Festinger (1957) argued that "if one wanted to obtain private change in addition to mere public compliance, the best way to do this would be to offer just enough reward or punishment to elicit compliance."
- In their famous $1/$20 study, Festinger and Carlsmith (1957) assigned experiment participants a boring, repetitive task consisting of sorting spools into lots of twelve and giving square pegs a quarter turn to the right. At the end of an hour of this task, the experimenter asked the research participants to do him a favor. The researcher explained that they needed another person to continue doing this task and asked the participants to recruit a woman in the waiting room by telling her how enjoyable the task was. Some of the men were offered $1 to recruit her and others were offered $20 for the same behavior.
-Festinger and Carlsmith found that the participants who engaged in the study differed in their attitudes at the end. Those who received $20 said that they really thought the task was boring while those who received only $1 stated that they really believed the task was enjoyable.
- The researchers argued that doing something a person does not believe in for a minimal reward sets up more dissonance than doing that same thing for a larger reward.
Cognitive Dissonance as a post-decision phenomenon
- Buyers Remorse: The dissonance we experience after making a large purchase and the steps taken to justify our actions
- Confidence in your decision: Bettors were asked how confident they were about the horse they bet on directly after placing the bet; more confident after than before
- Doomsday Cults: Leaders used selective interpretation to justify why their predictions didn't come true in order to reduce the dissonance of followers and reenergize the zeal of the followers
Criticisms of CDT
1. Dissonance as the most important concept to explain attitude change.
- Janis and Gilmore (1965) argue that when individuals participate in an inconsistency, such as arguing a position they do not believe in, they become motivated to think up all the arguments in favor of the position while suppressing all the arguments against it.
- Janis and Gilmore called this process biased scanning and argued that this process should increase the chances of accepting the new position.
2. "Conceptual fuzziness"
- Some researchers (Cooper and Fazio, 1984) note that the concept of dissonance is confounded by self-concept or impression management.
- Impression management refers to the activities people engage in to look good to themselves and others.
3. Self-perception and CDT
- Bern (1967) stated that, rather than dissonance in cognitions operating to change people, self-perception was at work.
- Self-perception simply means that people draw conclusions about their own attitudes the same way others do-by observing their behavior.
- Bern argued that it is not necessary to speculate about the degree of cognitive dissonance a person feels because people only need to observe what they are doing to calculate what their attitudes must be.
- Steele (1998) argues that dissonance is the result of behaving in a manner that threatens one's sense of moral integrity.
5. CDT also has been critiqued on two of the criteria for evaluating theory.
- Some critics feel that the theory does not posses a high degree of practical utility; because CDT offers multiple ways to reduce dissonance, the theory is not able to predict outcomes with any degree of precision.
- Regarding testability, it is difficult to disprove the theory; critics of CDT point out that because CDT asserts that dissonance will motivate people to act, when people do not act, proponents of the theory can say that the dissonance must not have been strong enough, rather than concluding that the theory is wrong.
Strengths of CDT
1. Some scholars believe CDT is generally useful and explanatory, but needs some refinements.
- Wicklund and Brehm (1976) argue that CDT isn't clear enough about the conditions under which dissonance leads to change in attitudes.
- They believe that choice is the missing concept in the theory.
- Cooper and Stone (2000) observe that of the more than 1,000 studies using CDT, few have studied the role of group membership of the person experiencing dissonance.
2. CDT offers insight into the relationship among attitudes, cognitions affect, and behaviors.
- Littlejohn (2002) argues that CDT is one of the most significant theories in social psychology.
- Perloff (1993) notes that CDT has been the basis for over a thousand studies, most of which have supported the theory, suggesting significant heuristic value.
- Researchers such as Harmon-Jones (2000) believe that the continued revision of CDT by examining cognition will yield rich theoretical insights.
Expectancy Violations Theory (EVT)
- The basic premise of EVT is that people in general have certain expectations about the behavior (verbal and nonverbal) of others
- Developed by Judee Burgoon (1978) as a means of examining the influence that nonverbal communication has on message production....in fact, the theory was initially called "Nonverbal Expectancy Violations Theory"
- The term 'nonverbal' was dropped in order to include all types of behaviors that violate expectations
The use of personal space and distance in conversations
Two competing human space needs
Affiliation and Personal Space
Refers to the need to belong to a group
The invisible variable volume of space surrounding an individual which defines that individual's preferred distance from others
Edward Hall's four primary zones of personal space in North American culture
- Intimate Distance:
0 to 18 inches: intimate relationships
- Personal Distance:
18 inches to 4 feet (family and close friends)
- Social Distance:
4 to 12 feet (casual/social settings)
- Public Distance:
12 feet and beyond (formal meetings/discussions)
A person's ownership of and area or object
Altman's three types of territories
Primary, secondary, public
Are the exclusive domain of
an individual and are usually
marked to indicate ownership
Signal some sort of personal connection with an area or object. While they are not exclusive to an individual, the person does identify with them
Involve no personal affiliations and include those areas that are open to all people
Two behaviors that accompany territoriality
Prevention and Reaction
behaviors that are warnings used to prevent other people or groups from invading a territory or territories and can include offensive displays as well as markers or symbols
behaviors that are usually the resulting response to an attempt to prevent access to an object or area
Assumptions of Expectancy Violations Theory
- Expectancies drive human interaction
- Expectancies are learned
- People make predictions about nonverbal behavior
Expectancies drive human interaction
-expectancies are the cognitions and behaviors that we think will happen in conversations/interactions with others and include verbal and non-verbal behavior
- expectancies are a result of social norms, stereotypes, gossip (hearsay), and individual idiosyncrasies
-the two types of expectancies are preinteractional (the potential to interact) and interactional (actually performing in the interaction)
- cultural background also has an influence on what our expectations are and how we believe we should act
Expectancies are learned
- we learn behaviors from society in general and from individuals we encounter in various social situations
- it is important to recognize and understand what we know about others and how we have interacted with these others in the past because it informs our expectations for future interactions
People make predictions about nonverbal behavior
-nonverbal behavior is ambiguous and can be interpreted in many different ways, so it is important to understand that our predictions/evaluations (often based on attractiveness, posture, personal space, etc.) may be inaccurate
- the positive or negative characteristics that an individual brings to an interaction
- When people deviate from expected behavior, the evaluation of that behavior is adjusted by their reward value (the perception that someone may reward or punish you in the future because of your behavior)
- a behavior performed by a high-reward source may be interpreted as positive, while the same behavior performed by a low-reward source could be considered negative
- refers to the consequences associated with deviations from expected behavior
- it cause a person to focus more on the source of the behavior than the behavior itself (a.k.a. orienting response)
-arousal can be cognitive (awareness of a violation) or physical (e.g., moving away from the source of the violation)
- the distance at which you feel uncomfortable (physically and psychologically) in the presence of someone who has violated your expectations
- threats normally occur after arousal (awareness) to/of an expectancy violation and are usually associated with distance expectancy violations
- the positive or negative evaluation of an expectancy violation
- violation valences are often hard to judge and occur on a positive/negative continuum
- sometimes we use reward valence as a tool to help us decide the violation valence:
- if we like the person the violation is evaluated positively, if we don't like the person the violation is evaluated negatively
- It is important to understand that an expectancy violation may not always be negative-sometimes the violation is a pleasant surprise from normal behavior
Critique of EVT
- Scope and Boundaries: wide scope that encompasses a variety of behaviors, but originally grounded in the notion of personal space
- Clarity: concepts can be difficult to distinguish in terms of measurement and testability
- Has practical value in society
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- Berger and Calabrese (1975) developed Uncertainty Reduction Theory in order to explain how we use communication (both verbal and nonverbal) as a tool to find out information about others in order to feel comfortable in our daily interactions
- Uncertainty occurs when the number of potential different behaviors is high and there is not enough information to determine how people will act/react in a given situation so anything could happen
Types of Uncertainty
- uncertainty associated with beliefs and attitudes that we (and others) hold
- the level of predictability that we have for potential behaviors in a given situation
Processes associated with Uncertainty Reduction
- the attempts we make to reduce uncertainty before we engage ourselves in a communication episode
- trying to make sense out of episodes that have already occurred (retrospective analysis of a situation)
7 Concepts relating to Uncertainty
- Verbal output (what is said)
- Nonverbal warmth (how we respond physically to a person)
- Information seeking (how we collect info)
- Self-disclosure (how much personal info we reveal to another)
- Reciprocity of disclosure (how much info we reveal in response to the self-disclosure of someone)
- Similarity (how alike we perceive ourselves to be to someone)
- Liking (affinity towards the other person)
Assumptions of Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- Uncertainty happens in interpersonal situations due to differing expectations
- Uncertainty is stressful and uses a lot of our cognitive energy
- People meeting for the first time both want to reduce uncertainty and increase predictability
- Interpersonal relationships go through a three step developmental process with an Entry Phase, Personal Phase, & Exit Phase WHICH DIFFER in order and length of time depending on the participants
- The only way to reduce uncertainty is to obtain information through verbal/nonverbal interaction
- The amount and type of information we collect changes over time as our interpersonal relationships change
- Axioms (covering laws that are generalizable) help us predict what will happen during the uncertainty reduction process
Axioms associated with Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- As the amount of Verbal Communication Increases, the level of uncertainty experienced by each participant decreases
- As nonverbal warmth increases, uncertainty decreases (which promotes more nonverbal warmth)
- High levels of uncertainty cause increases in information-seeking behavior (and vice versa)
- High levels of uncertainty decrease the level of intimacy in a relationship (and vice versa)
- High levels of uncertainty produce high levels of reciprocity (and vice versa)
- Similarities between people decrease uncertainty and dissimilarities increase uncertainty
- Increases in uncertainty produce decreases in how much you like the other person (and vice versa)
Out of these Axioms, 21 DIFFERENT theoretical statements which explain the uncertainty reduction process can be created
Theorems of Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- An important thing that URT theorems are trying to do is show relationships between the different axioms
Expansions on the Theory
- Axiom 8: Uncertainty is negatively related to interaction with social networks
- Axiom 9 (proposed): As individuals reduce uncertainty in an initial encounter, they experience more satisfaction from the interaction than if the uncertainty remained at a high level.
Prior Conditions (antecedents) that often exist as we seek to reduce uncertainty
- Incentive Value: motivation to reduce uncertainty will increase if one participant has the potential to reward the other
- Deviation from Expectations: expected behavior reduces the desire to alleviate uncertainty, while unexpected behavior increases it.
- Anticipation for future Interactions: greater likelihood of future interactions increases the desire to reduce uncertainty in an initial interaction
Strategies for Reducing Uncertainty
- Passive Strategies: involve observation of reactions to others (reactivity) or when inhibitions are lowered (disinhibition)
- Active Strategies: making an effort to reduce uncertainty without actually interacting with a person directly
- Interactive Strategies: interacting with the person face-to-face
URT and Existing Relationships
- Uncertainty Reduction Theory also examines the increasing and decreasing uncertainty that often occurs in established relationships
- Relationships with little or no uncertainty are sometimes viewed as "boring", while high uncertainty in relationships often cause stress between partners and speculation about where the relationship is headed (relational uncertainty)
Critique of Uncertainty Reduction Theory
- A flawed theory? Some researchers think that the theory doesn't take the central goals like maximizing the outcome of communication into account
- Other researchers also question the validity of some of the axioms (#3 in particular) because they don't consider motivation of the individual
Axiom 3 says that high uncertainty leads to high information seeking, but what if the individual is not motivated to seek information?
- Heuristic value: URT has generated a lot of research and has also been applied to different communication contexts (interpersonal, group, intercultural)
- Parsimony: The theory uses Axioms and Theorems to explain the concepts of the theory logically
- Test of time: After 30 years the theory is still being used by researchers
Social Penetration Theory
- Taylor and Altman developed Social Penetration Theory (SPT) in an attempt to understand relational closeness between two people
- The term 'social penetration' refers to the bonding process where people move from more superficial forms of communication (as we saw in URT) to deeper more intellectual and emotional types of communication that include multiple dimensions
- Social penetration refers to the process of relationship bonding whereby individuals move from superficial communication to more intimate communication.
1. Intimacy exists at many levels beyond physical intimacy.
2. These levels include dimensions such as intellectual, emotional, and shared activities.
This is where you share your hopes, fears, opinions and beliefs without fear of ridicule or chastising. It is within intellectual intimacy you learn how to mirror each other, validate the other's point of topic and engage in deep discussion of ideas.
In emotional intimacy you accept the person for whom he or she is without reservation, that means taking the good with the bad. On a daily basis, both parties feel comfortable to voice and share their anger, happiness, and secrets.
Assumptions of SPT
- Relationships start out superficial and get more personal as the relationship progresses (non-intimate to intimate) but there can be in-betweens in relationships as well
- Relationship development is systematic and predictable BUT ALSO constantly changing
- Because relationships change, they also experience:
- Depenetration and Dissolution
- Transgressions (rule violations)
- Conflictual communication (backpedaling)
- Self-disclosure (revealing personal information) is a core concept in the development of a relationship and can be:
- Strategic: planned self-disclosure
- Non-strategic: spontaneous (and sometimes embarrassing)
Relationships progress from nonintimate to intimate.
1. Relational communication begins at a rather superficial level and gets more personal as the relationship progresses.
2. Not all relationships fall in the categories of nonintimate or intimate; some may fall at some point in between (e.g., moderately close relationships with co-workers).
Relational development is generally systematic and predictable.
1. Relationships-like communication-are dynamic and changing.
2. Despite this change, even dynamic relationships follow some established standards and patterns of development.
Example: Romantic: Getting to know each other "flirting," First-date, hanging-out, dating, going "steady," etc.
Friendship: Initial meeting, conversation, group activity, one-on-one activity, deeper conversations, etc.
Relational development includes depenetration and dissolution.
1. Not all relationships endure the test of time; some fall apart or depenetrate, which can lead to dissolution.
2. Altman and Taylor point out that while communication can allow a relationship to move forward in intimacy, it can also cause a relationship to move backward (e.g., conflictual communication).
3. Just because a relationship depenetrates, doesn't necessarily mean it will dissolve.
Relationships experience transgressions, which are violations of relational rules.
Transgressions can but do not necessarily lead to relational breakdown.
Self-disclosure is at the core of relational development.
1. Self-disclosure refers to the process of revealing information about oneself to others.
2. Nonintimate relationships typically progress to an intimate level because of self-disclosure.
3. Self-disclosure can be either strategic or nonstrategic.
a. Strategic disclosures are planned.
b. Nonstrategic disclosures are spontaneous. "Stranger-on-the-train" is a phrase that has been developed to describe the times when people reveal information in public places to complete strangers.
the onion theory
Social Penetration theory is often called
"the onion theory" because the layers of an onion are analogous to the levels a person goes through as they move from a non-intimate to an intimate relationship
Yellow: Your public image (the face the world sees)
Blue: Superficial likes and dislikes
Pink: Attitudes about small issues
Green: Morals, values regarding important issues
Red: Deepest, darkest fears hopes & dreams
Moving through the layers of the onion is a reciprocal process-the more open you are, the more open the other person is likely to be
As relationships move deeper into the onion, the breadth and depth of subject matter expand
Breadth: the variety of topics discussed
Depth: degree of intimacy and detail covered in a topic discussion
The more intimate the relationship, the more depth and breadth in disclosure .....and with that comes vulnerability
Issues Related to Self-disclosure
Trust: a level of trust is established through prior self-disclosure
Too much too soon: too much private information revealed too early can make one member of the relationship uncomfortable and cause them to end the relationship
Most people don't want to risk revealing too much information too soon at the risk of becoming vulnerable so Altman & Taylor developed a form of cost vs. rewards to explain the process we go through as we self-disclose information
Rewards & Costs
Rewards: interactions that stimulate satisfaction
Costs: interactions that produce negative feelings
Reward/Cost ratio: the balance between the two; relationships that provide more rewards than costs will likely continue, relationships that don't usually end
Two important things to consider in the Reward/Cost system:
1.This weighing of pros and cons is more important and has more impact at the beginning of a relationship
2. It is possible to build up a "reservoir" of positive reward/cost experiences that can help a relationship out in later stages
A social exchange: relational costs and rewards
A. SPT is rooted in many of the same principles found in Social Exchange Theory (Chapter 11).
B. Altman and Taylor (1987) theorize that relationships can be viewed in economic terms as the exchange of rewards and costs.
1. Rewards are those relational events or behaviors that stimulate satisfaction, pleasure, and contentment.
2. Costs are those relational events or behaviors that stimulate negative feelings.
3. A reward/cost ratio is often calculated to determine the balance between positive and negative relationship experiences.
4. If a relationship provides more rewards than costs, it is likely to continue. If the costs exceed the rewards, dissolution is possible.
a. Rewards and costs have a greater impact early in the relationship compared to later.
b. Relationships with a reservoir of positive reward/cost experiences are better equipped to handle conflict effectively.
The Four Stages of SPT
- Public level
- Superficial in nature and participants are cautious
- Behavior guided by social norms
Exploratory Affective Stage:
- Personality characteristics surface
- Private aspects become public
- Communication is more spontaneous
- Interactions are relaxed and casual
- Private jokes and gestures are created
- Positive and negative criticisms are exchanged without threat to the relationship
- Open expression of thoughts
- Partners can anticipate one another's behaviors
- Dyadic Uniqueness emerges
Critique of SPT
Heuristic: tons of research! Theory can be applied in many contexts and types of relationships
Limited scope: self-disclosure is too narrowly defined in this theory
Relationship development is seen as too linear and doesn't take into account outside forces
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