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Movie Theater by Jamie Rhoten

So there is a social norm in movie theaters. If it is not a sold out movie theater where there is plenty of available seating you NEVER sit next to a stranger. There is a social norm to sit at least one seat away from the stranger next to you. I broke this social norm on accident last weekend. My husband and I went to a movie and were excited to see it not full and a good seat was available next to some teenagers in the middle. I sat down a seat away and things started feeling uncomfortable when the other girls started looking and talking about me.  Then, a boy came and took his seat again right next to me! He had just stepped out for a moment. I felt SO uncomfortable as I sat right next to a complete stranger. I felt uncomfortable because there were so many other open seats. This guy probably thought I was a weirdo. I told my husband about the situation and how I would be paranoid the entire movie if I stayed braking this social norm. Finally we ended up pretending to get popcorn and moving to another seat. This seams like a small social norm to break, but I am a shy person so that was enough to make me feel the social repercussions from violating that norm.


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Keeping up with the Jones by Jamie Rhoten

Social Comparison is a tendency that we all have. Social Comparison is evaluating your abilities/opinions through comparing yourself to others. I think that children can be a great example of this. As this picture shows the little boy, who probably was excited to receive his treat of a Popsicle, became dissatisfied by evaluating his treat to the bigger ice cream treat of another.

While this is a simple example, it shows that until the boy compared his delight in his treat with another person did he become dissatisfied. When I was little I wanted to be Pocahontas for Halloween. I was excited when my mom got me an Indian costume. It wasn’t until I saw another girl wearing a real beautiful and expensive Pocahontas dress that I became angry. It through socially comparing myself with her that I became angry with my mom for getting me the ugly and cheap costume.

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Eye Witness by Jamie Rhoten

The Misinformation Effect is when a person will incorporate information that is not correct into their memory after witnessing an event after being misguided by some form of information pertaining to the event.

This can be seen in the way that police do a suspect line up. Eye witnesses of a crime will often look at pictures or a line up of suspects. If the real suspect is not present, many will choose a false criminal and misinform the police. This is because they will incorporate or “mix up” their memories to match the pictures of the suspects that they were shown.

This example of students who witnessed a “criminal” stealing the purse demonstrated the misinformation effect. They were shown incorrect suspects and they incorporated false information into their memories about the looks of the “criminal”. As stated by one student, “I would have put the wrong man in jail”. This shows how powerful our memories can be deceived after being shown incorrect information and incorporating that misleading information info our memories. Because of the Misinformation Effect I am not so sure that I trust eye witnesses anymore.

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“You Complete Me” by Jamie Rhoten

Complementarity is a popularly believed tendency that two people in a relationship compete the “missing pieces” or what is missing in each other. I have noticed this as I have listened to others explain how perfect their boyfriends/girlfriends are because they are “everything I am” or “we just complement each others weaknesses”. In my own relationship I have noticed that I have said that my husband just seems to “make me whole” and when we are not together it does feel like I am missing a part of myself. In the movie Jerry MaGuire, Tom Cruise shares his feelings for a girl that demonstrates complementarity.

It is easy to apply this clip to complementarity. Tom Cruise believes that he was missing something by himself and he has now realized that this other girl completes him.

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Bully by Jamie Rhoten

Recently I saw a trailer for an upcoming documentary called “Bully”. This documentary could be related in many ways to the topic of Altruism but I first thought of it as an example of the Bystander Effect. The Bystander Effect is the tendency for people to be less likely to help another when there are other people or bystanders around.

In the scene where the boy or “nerd” is on the bus full of other students is an example of the bystander effect. The boy was being punched, strangled, and stolen from. He was in obvious need for help. Why was there not another student that was willing to help? According to the bystander effect it is because a person notices that there are other bystanders witnessing the event as well, so there is a lack of assuming it is their responsibility to help.

Hopefully with this documentary there will be enough pro social behavior advertised and education on the matter taught, that when it comes to bullying, there will not be a bystander effect- I hope others will help.

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“he does not like that wall” by Jamie Rhoten

In regards to aggression, Displacement is a term to describe the redirection of a persons aggression to another target or source that is other than the original cause of frustration. Usually the new target is either more acceptable or is safer.




In this clip from The Office Andy gets frustrated at a girl because of a breakup. Instead of letting his frustration lead to aggressive behavior or punching the source (the girl), he displaces his aggressive energy by punching the wall (another target). Punching the wall is a much more socially acceptable behavior then punching a woman, especially in a work setting. Andy clearly displaced his hostilities to a safer target.

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West Side Story by Jamie Rhoten

Ingroup bias is the tendency to support and accredit good qualities to a persons own group.

One of the most obvious examples that I thought of was from West Side Story. In this classic musical, there are two groups; The Jets and the Sharks. The Jets are American while the Sharks are Puerto Rican. These groups have many negative beliefs or stereotypes about the other group or outgroup. In one of the opening scenes the Jets sing a song displaying their ingroup bias.

In this song The Jets sing about how great they are. They sing about the good qualities that they have like how they are the “gold medal kids” and how they always “walk tall”. They also sing about The Sharks or Puerto Ricans are “lousy chickens”. They favor their own group and disfavor the outgroup. They even go as far as to say that they are going to hang a sign that visitors are forbidden. This is because the visitors are not part of their group so others are not welcome. It is easy to see the “us” verse “them” theme in this song. But this video is an  example of ingroup bias because the Jets sing about all of their good qualities they their group possesses.

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