Web Exercises

  1. Your textbook notes that priming is one way that behavior may be affected outside one’s awareness. Define priming. View some of the purported “subliminal advertisements” at m.mentalfloss.com/article.php?id=67223. How does subliminal advertising reflect priming? Illustrate your answer using two of the advertisements featured on the site. Visit www.mindfithypnosis.com/what-are-subliminal-messages to learn more about the use of subliminal messages in advertising and in the self-help arena. Scroll down to the section headed, “The Science of Subliminal Messages.” Briefly summarize the scientific research on perception outside awareness using normal participants in the laboratory; neuropsychological patients; and surgical patients under anesthesia. Does this research support the application of subliminal messages in advertising or self-help? Why or why not? This exercise should enable you to define and illustrate the concepts of priming and spreading activation.
  2. Your textbook notes that stimuli outside awareness may influence thought and behavior through priming and spreading activation. Define priming and spreading activation. Learn more about the use of subliminal messages in advertising and self-help by visiting www.mindfithypnosis.com/what-are-subliminal-messages. If you have an Android phone or an iPhone, download the free app Subliminal Messages Lite. This small, simple app allows you to create and briefly display a message on your phone’s screen at specified intervals. You can vary the message, the display time or exposure duration in milliseconds, and the time between exposures (called frequency) in seconds. How might you use this app to test the efficacy of subliminal messages? How would you select your participants? What message(s) would you choose? How would you vary the display time and frequency? How would you test whether the message influences behavior? How would you control for experimenter and participant expectancy effects? Make explicit reference to independent and dependent variables and to internal and external validity in your answer. This exercise should enable you to define and illustrate the concepts of priming and spreading activation and those of internal and external validity. It should also develop your ability to apply some of the experimental research concepts you learned in Chapter 1 of your text.
  3. Social Psychology in the News. On October 1, 2015, a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, killing nine and injuring another nine. On October 9, gunfire erupted on two campuses: Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University. To some, school shootings underscore the need to limit Americans’ access to firearms. Others worry that lawmakers will capitalize on these tragedies to curtail Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms. The arguments on both sides of the debate are likely to reflect mental shortcuts such as the availability heuristic and biases of motivated reasoning, such as the confirmation bias. Visit lifehacker.com/this-graphic-explains-20-cognitive-biases-that-affect-y-1730901381 and thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2015/09/26/5-cognitive-biases-that-are-killing-your-decisions. Briefly describe four biases that are not mentioned in your textbook; include at least one from each site. Then suggest how responses to school shootings might reflect some of the biases mentioned in your textbook and on these sites. Include responses on both sides of the debate and be sure to mention specific heuristics and biases. How do these responses reflect the motivation to conserve cognitive resources and the self-enhancement motive?
  4. Doing Research; Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. You have probably felt dismissed when a conversational partner reads a text on her phone while you are talking. Admit it, though: you have occasionally filled an awkward silence by reading an alert. It is called “phubbing,” one of the newest entries in the social media lexicon. Phubbing refers to snubbing one’s conversational partner by using one’s cell phone. Researchers have just started investigating phubbing scientifically. In this exercise, you will use this developing area of inquiry to expand your understanding of reliability and validity. Go to www.huffingtonpost.com/james-a-roberts/to-phubb-or-not-to-phubb_b_8209924.html. Scroll down to the nine statements under the heading, “Are You a Phubber?” These are the items on a phubbing scale. Although the article asks the reader to supply a yes/no answer to each item, a 5-point (e.g., never/rarely/sometimes/often/always) scale could be used for greater precision. How might you establish the phubbing scale’s reliability? If the phubbing scale is valid, then phubbing scores should be related to scores on scales measuring variables to which phubbing should be related. For example, phubbing should be related to the frequency of cell phone use. The more one uses one’s cell phone, the more opportunity one has to phub. Phubbing scores should therefore correlate positively with the frequency of cell phone use. Identify two other variables that might be related to phubbing and state whether a positive or negative correlation would support the validity of the phubbing scale. Would correlations approaching +1.00 or -1.00 support or undermine the phubbing scale’s validity? Why or why not? Think carefully. To learn more about the real-world consequences of phubbing, visit fusion.net/story/208198/phubbing-is-ruining-american-relationships. You will find a report of research on “p-phubbing,” or being phubbed by one’s significant other. For some couples, p-phubbing leads to conflict over cell phone use, which in turn leads to relationship dissatisfaction and even depression.
  5. Social Psychology Applied to Health: Stress and Coping; Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. “TMI!” one might exclaim in response to an instance of oversharing by a friend or acquaintance. Is oversharing merely indelicate, or is it potentially more harmful? Can one really have “too much information”? Go to www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/15/social-media-and-stress and read the article describing the stressful effects of social media. Briefly describe the research reported in the article and highlight some of the main findings. To what extent are the effects consistent with your own social media experience? How might you use your knowledge of the appraisal model to mitigate social media’s potentially stressful effects?
  6. Social Psychology Applied to Health: Stress and Coping. In Chapter 3, your textbook describes people’s emotional reactions to stress. Expand on your textbook’s discussion by visiting www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm. Describe some of the sources of stress in your life and evaluate your stress habits, attitudes, and excuses. For example, do you explain away stress? Identify some of the healthy and unhealthy ways you currently respond to stress. Examine the eight stress management strategies outlined at the end of the article. Are there some you use already? Are there others you would like to try? Discuss the role that appraisal plays in these strategies; be as specific as possible.
  7. At the end of Chapter 3, your textbook outlines several differences in cognition between Eastern and Western cultures. Briefly describe two of these differences in a few sentences. Cultural differences in cognition have real-world implications. Visit iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/negotiating-the-top-ten-ways-that-culture-can-affect-your-negotiation for a discussion of cultural differences in negotiation style. Select two or three of these differences and suggest how they relate to the cognitive differences reviewed in your textbook. How might you describe your own negotiating style with respect to the dimensions described in the article? (You might have to imagine your likely negotiating style.) Which differences might be most important to keep in mind were you to negotiate with business counterparts from Eastern cultures? This exercise should help you summarize differences in cognition between Eastern and Western cultures.