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Discussion: - Freshman Essays


to prepare:

Social Psychological Approach to Insights on Human Behavior

  • Review Chapter 1 of the course text, Social Psychology, focusing on how social psychologists would view or attempt to explain a specific situation. Note the example about Edward Snowden on page 16.

    Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Sommers, S. (2016).
    Social psychology (9th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

    • Chapter 1, “Introducing Social Psychology”
    • Chapter 12, “Aggression: Why Do We Hurt Other People? Can We Prevent It?”
  • Review Chapter 12 of the course text, Social Psychology, focusing on aggression.
  • Consider the following five social situations in which aggressive behavior is demonstrated and how social psychologists versus laypeople might treat each situation:
    • A high school or college campus shooting
    • An act of domestic violence or child abuse within a family
    • Looting of shops and homes after a natural disaster
    • Domestic or global terrorism
    • White collar financial embezzlement
  • Select one of the five aggressive behaviors listed above for your Discussion post.

By Day 3

Post a discussion of the following:

  • Select one of the five aggressive behaviors listed in the full assignment directions. How would you explain the aggressor’s behavior if you had made the fundamental attribution error? In other words, provide a dispositional explanation for the aggressive behavior.
  • Next, provide a situational explanation for the aggressor’s behavior. What might be the aggressor’s construal, or interpretation, of the situation? Examples of several social situations are described in Chapter 12.
  • How is the aggressor’s construal influenced by the self-esteem motive (the need to feel good about ourselves by justifying our behavior) orthe social cognition motive (the need to be accurate by acting on available information)?
  • How could the aggressive act be explained by one of the following: the evolutionary view, or the influence of culture, or the influence of gender, orlearning?
  • Based on your reading of Chapter 12, what would you suggest to prevent or reduce instances of this specific type of aggression, either at the individual level or at the societal level?