Web Exercises

  1. Visit http://www.upworthy.com/a-guy-with-a-twisted-sense-of-humor-explains-how-your-brain-is-quicker-to-judge-than-your-eyes for a humorous take on the science of first impressions. Scroll past the text and GIFs to view the video. Explain how “thin slices” and the X-system of thought contribute to impression formation. Illustrate your discussion by making reference to the MRI study, the Scottish “hello” study, and the professor ratings study described in the video and the accompanying text. This exercise will help you describe what is meant by a “thin slice” and the research that has supported its predictive value.
  2. Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. “Please press or say ‘one’”: Twenty years ago, the artificial-intelligence frontier was machine voice recognition. Today, the new frontier is the machine recognition of facial expressions of emotion. Briefly describe the evolutionary perspective on emotional expression and summarize the research supporting it. Identify the six basic emotional expressions. Then read the article at http://www.betaboston.com/news/2015/11/07/affectiva-aims-to-grow-with-an-emotional-appeal/ and view the graphic at http://graphics.wsj.com/data-mining-of-emotions/ for a demonstration. In one or two sentences, describe the technology outlined in the article and its potential applications. Imagine one or two additional applications. Consider a variety of realms – entertainment, business, medicine, security and law enforcement, therapy, and sports and recreation – and be creative! Finally, suggest some concerns surrounding the use of the machine recognition of emotional expression. This exercise allows you to identify the six basic emotional expressions.
  3. Social Psychology Applied to Law: The Decision to Shoot; Social Psychology in the News. In two high-profile 2014 incidents, Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner, of New York City, died at the hands of police officers. Both men were African-American. In neither case were officers indicted. The deaths of these men added fuel to the Black Lives Matter fire. As scientists, social psychologists are committed to the belief that empirical evidence should inform society’s response to potential social problems. Visit makingconnections.redlands.edu. Select “Crime and Criminal Justice” from the Social Issues pulldown menu. Select and read the “Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot” article. Summarize the research described in the article. To what extent does the research support the notion of a dangerous anti-African American bias among police officers? To what extent does it contradict such a notion? How might you respond to the criticism that the research described in the article is low in external validity? This exercise will heighten your appreciation of social psychology’s application to law and criminal justice.
  4. The textbook describes several cognitive illusions, such as the gambler’s fallacy. Define illusory correlation. Amazingly, illusory correlations may develop after a single pairing of variables. Access Risen et al.’s (2007) research paper at http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/jane.risen/research/oneshot.pdf. Read the introduction (pp. 1493–1494). According to Hamilton and Gifford (1976), how might negative stereotypes arise from an illusory correlation? Define one-shot illusory correlation. How do they arise, and how might they produce stereotypes? Suppose you wish to test Risen et al.’s notion of a one-shot illusory correlation by playing a rather nerdy – and unethical – prank: how might you “create” such an illusory correlation in someone else? Read the discussion and general discussion (pp. 1500–1501). Based on the discussion, briefly summarize the research presented in the article. Based on the general discussion, how does Risen et al.’s (2007) work extend that of Hamilton and Gifford? This exercise will contribute to your understanding of cognitive illusions.
  5. Read the story at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/youre-not-as-virtuous-as-you-think/2015/10/15/fec227c4-66b4-11e5-9ef3-fde182507eac_story.html. The article presents a concept called “moral overconfidence.” How is moral overconfidence defined in the article? How might moral confidence be useful, in the author’s view? How may moral overconfidence have contributed to the behavior of participants in Milgram’s experiments? To the business scandal at Enron? Although moral confidence is not currently a concept widely identified in social psychology you can hone your ability to apply social psychology concepts by viewing moral overconfidence through the prism of the illusions, biases, heuristics, and motives described in Chapters 4 and 5 of your textbook. Your assignment is to develop a social psychological construal of moral overconfidence making explicit reference to concepts mentioned in the textbook, including but not limited to the availability heuristic, overconfidence, the better-than-average effect, the enhancement and consistency motives, self-serving attributional biases, the fundamental attribution error, the actor-observer effect, and the illusion of control. Do not worry: there is no correct answer. A thoughtful analysis, however, is required. This exercise affords a review of Chapter 4 concepts and strengthens your understanding of cognitive illusions and the process of attribution. It also foreshadows the discussion of social influence and Milgram’s work in Chapter 6.
  6. Chapter 5 of your text concludes with a discussion of attribution. Watch the video at http://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/video/fundamental-attribution-error. Define the fundamental attribution error. The video notes that we tend to overestimate our own ethicality: 80% of us think we are more ethical than those around us. This statistic underscores the notion of moral overconfidence explored in Exercise 5.5. Read the Additional Teaching Note. Define the correspondence bias. Illustrate both concepts from your own work experience or that of someone you know: can you think of situations where your behavior or that of others was misjudged in accordance with the fundamental attribution error? Finally, answer the discussion questions immediately below the video. This exercise broadens your understanding of attribution and reinforces your understanding of the fundamental attribution error, the correspondence bias, and the actor-observer effect.