Web Exercises

  1. Social Psychology in the News. Your textbook opens Chapter 9 by highlighting recent examples of mass shootings. Your textbook argues that because social behavior is purposive, it is possible to determine why these examples of extreme aggression occur. What do you think the top three causes of mass shootings are? Learn what a recent sample of Texans say are the causes of mass shootings at http://www.texastribune.org/2015/11/16/uttt-poll-mental-health-top-cause-us-mass-shooting. What percentage of the respondents said that the most important cause of mass shootings is the failure of the mental health system to identify dangerous individuals? Explain how the fundamental attribution error is reflected in the data. Based on information presented in your textbook, which personality traits should professionals target when attempting to identify individuals most likely to aggress? Relate some of the other causes of mass shootings identified in the Texas poll to research discussed in your textbook on the media-violence hypothesis, the weapons effect, social rejection, and provocation. This exercise develops your ability to evaluate the evidence that connects media exposure and real-world aggression; describe the contextual factors that affect aggression; and identify the effects of social rejection and provocation on aggression. The exercise also develops your ability to apply the fundamental attribution error to real-world contexts.
  2. Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. Learn about the newest type of aggression by visiting http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/. Define cyberbullying. Does cyberbullying represent direct or indirect aggression? Justify your answer. Suggest how cyberbullying may often reflect relational aggression. Based on information provided at the stopbullying.gov site, how does cyberbullying differ from real-life or “FTF” bullying? How prevalent is cyberbullying? Check out some of the tools in the cyberbully’s kit by reading the article at http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/11/educators_warn_of_10_dangerous_apps_that_can_be_misused_for_cyberbullying_or_by_predators.html. Name three of the apps mentioned in the article. Describe their intended purpose and explain how they may be misused by cyberbullies. Provide concrete examples of their misuse. This exercise will help you distinguish among the various types of aggression.
  3. You are probably aware that scientific explanations are not simply accepted as soon as they are published. Rather, they are subject to continued test, not only through empirical investigation, but also through critical thinking. Critical thinking involves evaluating the quality of the evidence offered in support of a theory, as well as considering alternative accounts of the phenomenon the theory is supposed to explain. Critical thinking is perhaps especially crucial for theories as provocative as the culture of honor hypothesis. Define culture of honor and identify the specific phenomenon it is intended to explain. State the origin of a culture of honor. Read the Psychology Today article athttps://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/200904/is-southern-violence-due-culture-honor. Discuss several difficulties with the culture of honor theory. In your answer, make explicit reference to the concepts of external validity; and archival research, and extraneous or confounding variables. The exercise develops your ability to explain how the culture of honor impacts aggression and to discuss the Cohen and Nisbett laboratory and field research that supports the theory.
  4. Your textbook notes that alcohol is associated with heightened aggression. Visit http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/alcoholfuture.htm for a description of an alcohol/aggression study using a competitive reaction-time task similar to that used in the Giancola et al. (2009) study cited in your text. Briefly describe the procedure used in the Bushman et al. study reported on the Ohio State page. State how the screening procedure minimized the potential effects of confounding variables. Identify the independent and dependent variables. Identify and state the purpose of the placebo used in the experiment. If you continue your study of psychology you will undoubtedly encounter the notion of a manipulation check: visit http://www.psychwiki.com/wiki/What_is_a_manipulation_check%3F for a definition. Identify the manipulation check in the Bushman et al. study: did the researchers successfully manipulate the independent variable? State the results of the study. Are the results consistent with information provided in your textbook regarding the role of the prefrontal cortex in aggression? Why or why not? How do the study’s results fit with the potential explanations offered in your textbook for the alcohol/aggression relationship? This exercise underscores the brain structures involved in aggression and foreshadows the discussion of deindividuation in Chapter 12.
  5. Doing Research. Although you were no doubt exposed to a wide variety of research methods in your introduction to psychology course, archival research is often overlooked. Define archival research. Identify one advantage and one disadvantage of archival research. Visit the University of California at Davis archival research site at http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/sommerb/sommerdemo/secondary/archives/intro.htm. Why is archival research called secondary research? Read the section headed “Uses”; be sure to click the links titled “More . . . .” Describe two of the examples of archival research mentioned in the section. Click the link titled “Underreporting and bias” at the bottom of the page. How do underreporting and bias compromise the accuracy of crime statistics? Be as specific as possible. Describe how victim surveys may be used to improve the accuracy of crime statistics. Finally, define selective deposit and suggest how it may limit the validity of archival data.
  6. Social Psychology Applied to Work: “Mobbing.” “Workplace bullying on steroids.” That is how some have described mobbing, an especially extreme workplace aggression phenomenon. View the Australian news program at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYDiSAzkOGU for a brief introduction and then read the article at http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/28/bullying-at-work-workplace-mobbing-is-on-the-rise/. How does mobbing differ from workplace bullying more generally? Who becomes a mobbing target? Describe some of the techniques that mobbers use. What workplace conditions seem to give rise to mobbing? Finally, how can a target fight back? Outline the steps a target can take when mobbing occurs. This exercise adds to your textbook’s discussion of workplace bullying; additionally, it foreshadows the discussion of deindividuation in Chapter 12.