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Following a Social Script by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 9)

We have all been there. We are going to meet the parents of someone we are currently dating. Its a nervous time because we want to give a good first impression and dont want to do anything stupid or embarressing. For most of us the hype is far greater than reality and it goes smoothly because we just play into a social script. A social script is a culturally provided mental instructions for how to act in various situations. We know how to pass the meet the parents test and we stick to basics to just get through and not risk it.

Passing the test doesn’t go perfectly smooth for everyone though. In this clip from the TV show Friends Phoebe is going over to meet mikes parents and throughout she is trying very hard to follow the social script she thinks she needs too to impress Mike parents. It goes okay (subtitles in foreign language)

Phoebe struggles to keep with the social script. Her efforts at the start though when she just arrives is a perfect example of a social script. What she wears and how she acts is nothing like she does throughout the show but she changes what she does to try and follow what she thinks is needed in that situation. May we all learn from phoebe and see that we dont always have to follow a social script.

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Field Research by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 1)

We have all been apart of a research project where lots of information needs to be gathered. And many times the gathering of information is not the funnest thing in the world to do so we look for an out. And often that out comes in the form of field research. Field research is research done in natural, real life settings outside the labratory. Field Research is the fun part of research when you get to go out into real life and actually see if what your studying works!

A great example of field research comes from Pepsi in the form of the Pepsi Challenge. Pepsi set out evey where and had two cups of liquid in front of the contestant and had them drink from each cup and then tell them which one was better. The field research was being done everywhere in society to help get a random sample and see if the people liked the Pepsi they had created. Here is a link from a way old school commercial involving the Pepsi Challenge.

This commercial shows the guy being told what to do and drinking each cup and then picking his favorite. This commercial show Pepsi field research they did when promoting their product. Field Research is typically the fun part of research and Pepsi found a way to make worth filming!

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Violation of a Social Norm by Austin Peterson

When searching for an idea of things that could be done to break a social norm my thoughts went to something that is the “least risky”. I had heard stories of things people had done and although many were funny. I didn’t have the desire to ruffle as many feathers as they did. So when seeking a normal situation I came across the wilk and the terrace where everyone eats lunch and decided this would be a great spot to do it. Seeing that most people sit in groups of friends I thought it would be breaking a social norm to go sit at a table with a few people on it and talk to myself out loud so they could hear.

After sitting down at the table after each bite of food I would give a recap of the bite. Things like “wow, the cucumber really showed in that bite” and many other sayings revolved around my food and how it tasted. The looks I received were not very kind as many looked and pretty much scowled at me. I was clearly breaking a social norm of keeping to myself in a group I didnt know anyone in and it was not going over well. I did this for my meal and the people left at about the same time I was finishing my meal. They didn’t say anything to me directly but the awkwardness they felt was obvious in their expressions and how they would talk to each other after I got there compared with before I got there.

It felt very weird to break a social norm. I would say the weird feelings were more in general as to what was happening rather than the specific act that I was doing. I didn’t really enjoy my time breaking the norm but it did help me realize that it is not that big of a deal to do something different. I did something I would never do by choice and if I saw someone doing I would think was very weird and no one even said a word to me. They did harmless rude things like glances and such but nothing that actually mattered. Overall it was a good experience, planning it made me nervous and anxious to see how it would play out but now that its done I realized it was no big deal. While I don’t plan on being a regular social norm breaker I now realize if I need to do it occasionally its no bigs.

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Misinformation Effect Can Damage a Life by Austin Peterson (blog entry 13)

When hanging out amongst friends many of us share stories with each other. Its a good converstaion starter and sharing funny expieriences with everyone so they can enjoy the moment too is something we often do. But we all have that friend who when he tells the story it is far better than how it actually played out in real life. In chapter 15 the misinformation effect is used to talk about the issue of people changing their stories in court and recently in the sports world their has been an amazing example of this. Misinformation effect is when someone incorporates “misinformation” into ones memory of the event after witnessing an even and received misleading information about it.

Brian Banks is a man who was an up and coming football star in California. However his life got rattled by a rape conviction that got put against him. This case has become an example of the misinformation effect as his girlfriend who pressed the charges and made statemenets in court has retracted her statemenents. Here is a quote from her in the article attached: “Gibson said that they were just playing around, being curious about sexuality, and that the adults got involved and blew it all out of proportion,” according to legal documents. “She said the adults ‘put stuff in [her] head.'”  She received misleading information and made statements that changed Brain Banks life.

At this point this story has become a happy one as Brian Banks get the shot at life he always deserved. But his life hit a huge road block and surprising twist when his girlfriend suffered from the misinformation effect. This can happen and there can be some very serious consequence from it. Mis remembering stuff happens all the time to everyone in the world, but stories like Brian Banks show us how dangerous of a thing it can be.

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Depressive Realism by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 12)

Unfortunanetly in todays world many people would consider themselves depressed. But they do and within depression many things happen. One thing that happens that is pretty interesting is when people have a depressive realism which is the tendancy of mildly depressed people to make accurate rather than self serving judgements, attributions, and predictions.

We see this happen a lot just after someone tries out for a sports team and gets  cut or just after a young relationship ends. They are bummed out and depressed that things didnt work out as they hoped but in the end realize maybe they werent that good at the sport or activity or the relationship was not that great and there will be better out there.

I think a great example of this is my sister. She is a pheonominal soccer player and always has been but when she was younger she always did all the sports that she could. In her sophmore year her basketball tryout didnt go as she had hoped and she was bummed, but after talking it over with people and thinking about it rather than continuing to believe she was great at everything and have self serving judgements of her play she realized soccer was what she excelled and decided to focus on that. Since then she has done awesome and been able to put in more time and effort as she focused her actions. But it took a negative event to bum her out to make her thing a little more accuarately about the whole situation.

Becoming depressed is not a good thing but in the case of only mild depression if you have a moment of depressive realism it can allow you to have some accurate thinking moments that could really help you out in the long run. In no way shape or form is depression a good thing but a tiny positive could be this moment of depressive realism we all expierience in our moments of weakness.

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Proximity Effect on Friendships by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 11)

Many things affect friendships but maybe the biggest factor is Proximity. Proximity is the geographical nearness or more functionaly distance. When thinking about our friends the only trait most of all of them have in common is theirproximityto us. We become freinds with those we grow up with in school and see around town just by being around them relationships get developed.

One of the great friendships of all time in the Tv world comes from Friends and its Chandler and Joey. They live together and are best friends. In season 2 however things get bad and Joey decides to move out, this is temporary solution but after a bit they realize that since their proximity to each other has greatly changed, the ability to hang out and have the same relationship is much much harder. Here is a video clip when they both expierience things and are starting to realize how much they miss not having the other around.

This video shows them missing each other and really shows the impact of Joey moving out has because the proximity to each other is not the same. Proximity to our friends has a huge impact on how well we are able to stay friends with people and let the relationships continue. We all have friends from high school or other situations that the relationship has faded and the only reason is the change of proximity to each other. Many things affect our frienships but no question one of the biggest isproximity.

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Examples of Empathy by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 10)

Natural disasters happen all over the world and often when these occur many feel very strong empathy for those involved. Empathy is the vicarious experience of another feelings or putting oneself in another shoes. Empathy is a great thing and the more that feel it the better. The book has a good quote by Michelle Obama where she said “When people ask me how Im doing, I say Im only as good as my most sad child.” A great example of empathy on her part.

The greatest thing empathy can do is motivate. Below is a video of a service project done by a ward to help the relief efforts in Haiti.

Although many of these people are not going through exactly what the people of Haiti are going through there empathy  is motivating them to act. The help they can provide is not going to change the world back to what it used to be but each effort can help and do more than if it wasnt done at all.

Empathy is something we all feel for others when we see them in a tough situation. Parents will often be the ones who feel empathy the most and their example can lead to great actions from the rest of us. The books points out that in humans empathy comes naturally and as well all use this natural ability for the greater good we can help make the world a better place!

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Racism by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 8)

Many say its an issue of the past and in many areas our society has come a long ways in issues or Racism. Racism is an individuals prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward people of a given race. Racism is a is a type of discrimination which is unjustified negative behavior toward a group or its memebrs. Many have moved past thsee issues but also many have not.

A good example of Racism is shown in the movie “Remember the Titans.” Remember the Titans is set in the 1970’s and so it would be more prevelent in this time period and this move shows great examples. This link is a piece of the movie when some locals throw a brick through Coach Boone windown while yelling some rude things. It is an attack against him because of his skin color and is shocking to the assistant coaches white daughter who is over at their house.

Our society has come along way in dealing with Racism. But it is an area we can always improve. As the movie clip from Remember the Titans shows some people take Racism to the extreme and do things out of line. While many dont do anything out of line and are mature enough to handle the situations. In the end its an opportunity to show love for our fellow man by treating everyone equal and avoid Racism.

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Free Ridin by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 7)

We all have that friend, the one we know will always try and get a ride but never offer the ride. The one who wont order and hope you dont finish your meal so they can score some free food. In all our groups of friends we have the one looking for a free ride. Free Riders are people who benefit from the group but give little in return.  Is it wrong that we all kind of just roll with it?

For an example of this I am going to the greatest show of all time in Friends. And going to Joey Tribbiani and although Joey contributes to the group in many ways with food he is completely a free rider. Many times he makes his way over to monica and chandlers to steal some lasagna or steal some pizza that they have ordered. In the episode with the candy Joey takes advantage of the basket and steals all the candy and then joins the group of free riders as Monica makes more candy. Not in all ways is Joey a free rider but in his food habits he is definantly a free rider always seeking to get some food from someone while rarely offering some to the group.

Free Riders can be as frusturating they come, you barely have enough and yet they still find a way to get away with some free grub or convince you to give them another ride to somewhere. But my question becomes, would groups be the same without that one free rider who everyone knows is begging and can mock and tease the whole way!! Or would this just be me falling for group polarization? Either way free riders are their to benefit and think how much would go to waste if we didnt have them in our lives.

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The Beard Card by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 6)

Here at BYU we have many rules that we get to follow. Many are understandable and some are not. But either way we follow and show compliance. Compliance is a type of conformity that involves publicy acting in accord with an implied or explicit request. We all at BYU comply with many rules and a great example is the facial hair rule that makes you forever seek a Beard Card.

The need for a beard card comes from the facial hair rule that BYU enforces which doesnt allows students to grow excessive facial hair. Many have thoughts and opinions on the issue of facial hair but only one man could ever truly play it off and that was Brigham himself. Here is a funny photo that shows just that    

The beard/facial hair rule at BYU clearly shows compliance by all of the students because we all respond to the request of the university whether we like it or not. The rule is in place and in order to do the things we need to do on campus and for our classes we comply even if we dont agree. As students at BYU we comply with many things and this is just another example of it.

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Personal Space by Austin Peterson (blog entry 5)

In any class I go into I have one main goal when I enter. Find a spot where it will be very hard for people to violate my personal space. My personal space is something I enjoy and if it gets invaded my class period will be fare more stressful. Personal Space is the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies. Its size depends on our familiarity with whoever is near us.  It is essentially the amount of room between you and the person next to you. For some its huge and for others its very small. I guess that why it got personal in its name, it different for all of us.

While in class is a place that personal space can get violated a lot, the other place it normally gets violated is the library. You know you have been there too when your studying at a table. You have all your books laid out and have staked your claim on the table and all the space at the table so you can move freely from book to book and not have to go around anyone.  And then that guy or girl comes and sits at the chair across from you and gradually tries to make their claim to the space as well. This can quickly become a huge violation of personal space and happens often. Here is a video clip of a girl doing it to a young man who was just hoping to have a harmless study hour.

This video clearly show this girl violate this guys personal space she starts by just grabbing the chair, she then puts her magazine down and slowly makes her way into his area. You can see him start to look around as she got closer and closer. Funny example of someone getting their personal space violated.

To conclude the idea of personal space and how close those around you can get is different for everyone. Your “buffer zone” is up to you. But a social norm it is, just look at around and violations will be occurring all around you!!

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Low Ball Technique by Austin Peterson (Blog Entry 4)

The Foot in Door Phenomenon is one of the most effective ways to negotiate. Whether you are negotiating with someone so they will help you or negotiating for a purpose such as buying something it is a good go to move.  There are different ways to go about this technique and of them is the Low Ball Technique. The Low Ball Technique is part of the ‘Foot in Door Phenomenon” and is “A tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante. People who receive only the cost request are less likely to comply with it.”  This is wordy but the examples are all around us. The Low Ball Technique is seen often in online purchases, they get you to agree to buy the product at a lower price but then add “fees” or “additional charges” but you are more willing to do it because you got a lower price initially on the project. Another very common example is when you ask someone to come over and help and tell them “it shouldn’t take long” but once they arrive you break the news that the entire basement needs to be cleaned out. While many people will probably be mad afterward, the Low Ball Technique can work great to get more help than you expected.

A good example of the Low Ball Technique comes from the movie “Just Go With It” starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Adam Sandler gets himself into a pickle and he needs Jennifer Aniston kids to help get him out of it. He discusses it with him and the kids actually use the low ball technique on him very well to get themselves a trip to Hawaii. Here is the clip from movie:

Did you see it?

The girl uses the Low Ball Technique by saying “if its an Acting class we should get paid”. Sandler sees this as a harmless thing and he needs them so he agrees. After he agrees to original deal she has her “foot in door” and ups the ante and Sandler has no choice but to comply with the additional requests.

This video shows a good example of the Low Ball Technique and also shows how easily and quickly it can happen. It is all part of the “foot in door phenomenon” and allows many people to get their original asking price in the end by giving a lower price to let the negotiations begin.

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Regression Toward the Average by Austin Peterson (blog entry 3)

Regression Toward the Average is something society as a whole shows in many ways but sports I think offers the greatest example. In sports many time when a player is doing something spectaculor over and over again he is praised but then when he returns to his normal abilities they call it “coming back to earth”. Regressioin Toward the Average is the statistical tendency for extreme scores or extreme behavior to return toward ones average. Few things show this principal better than sports.

I hinted in my intro that this theory was shown in sports and that is where my mind went as soon as I better understood the concept. This link is to Derek Jeter postseason statistics ( and shows a terrific example of a great player who started hot and has now regressed toward the average in his sport. A must forpeople who show regression toward the average is that their original test/performamce must be a very high score and set a very high standard for themselves. Typically one far greater than their abilities and one far above the average for that situation.

Derek Jeter was a great example of this, in his first two playoff sereis he hit over .400 and in 6 of his first 9 he hit over .333 both are exceptional numbers and far above the average that is to be expected out of a player in the playoffs. But now we sit and Derek Jeter has had 15 years and 31 series of expierience his numbers have come back to hig average. His career postseason average is just above .300 which matches up nicely which his 18 year career average which was just above .310.

Derek Jeter was the wonder kid who did the unexpected but as he continued to play and even play well because his start was so great his stats had no choice but to regress toward the average. This example shows how even with great players they all will come back to their average at some point.

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Individualism by Austin Peterson (blog entry 2)

Individualism is something that just in daily life we can all do, however it’s those that it becomes a habit that you really want to watch out for. Individualism is the concept of giving priority to ones goals and defining ones identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications. Individualism can happen in all settings and that includes sports.

When reading about individualism my thoughts instantly went to a play by Ricky Davis a former NBA player who at the time was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers were playing the Utah Jazz and with less than 10 seconds to play they were down by 24 points. The game was over and a bad night for the Cavs, however Mr. Davis was having a pretty good game to that point but was 1 rebound short of getting a triple double which is always a very cool thing to accomplish. However what Ricky Davis did next was about as perfect example of Individualism as you can get, after they threw the ball into him he ran back to his own basket and intentionally missed a layup to get a rebound and get a triple double. Not only was this embarrassing to the team and Ricky Davis himself but it showed exactly where his priorities were and how he cared more about those than the team. Here is a video of the play and link to an article discussing it as well.

Ricky Davis on this night illustrated Individualism in its finest form. As a member of the Cavalier team his goals should be in line with that team and he should go up or down with the results of that team. However on a horrible night for his team his focus was still on getting a personal accomplishment. To steal from the definition he was “giving priority to his own goals….rather than group identifications.” The group he was involved with was very disappointed by the event and it looked badly for all of them. But Ricky didn’t care because “he got his” and escaped that game with a triple double!!

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