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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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Manly Bonding from the Wedding Planner by Jamie Rhoten

A funny scenes from the movie “The Wedding Planner” is when the two men decide to do some manly bonding. This scene is in example of Social Facilitation. Social Facilitation is the phenomenon that occurs when a person that is performing a well-learned task, they preform better in the presence of others. Here in this scene Matthew McConaughtey or Steve is doing manly bonding with Justin Chambers or Massimo. Because Steve is in the presence of Massimo his performance (or attempt to perform) of athletic abilities is enhanced.

Steve first speeds up the treadmill to a running pace to perform better then he originally attempted to because of the presence of another man. Just as our book mentions that cyclist will become faster in group settings then when riding alone, this is true in this example as well. Men will preform better when they are manly bonding or exercising together. I have found this to be true in my experience with zumba. When I go with my friend I tend to not take breaks and will be more involved then when I am alone. Social Facilitation can teach us a lot about how we should exercise in groups to enhance performance.

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Dating and Foot-in-the-Door by Jamie Rhoten

The Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon is tendency for people to agree to do a large favor or request after first agreeing to a smaller favor of request.

I have seen this happen to myself so many times! I have always been known as a “sucker” or people pleaser. I found that this phenomenon happened on a regular basis when I was dating. One particular example was when I first transferred to BYU I had no desire to date any boy seriously. And especially, I had no interest in dating pre-missionary boys since I was two years older. Because of my job on campus I associated with many freshman boys. They were all very nice but I would occasionally get asked out. When it was a straight forward request to go on a date I was able to maintain my ground and tell them (hopefully gently) that I was not interested in dating at the time. But if they asked a smaller request such as would you want to help me study, I would often agree. Then after agreeing to the small request I would get hit with the larger request of “Would you want to go to a movie/dinner/fill-in-the-blank” and I would often feel obligated to say yes because they already had their Foot-in-the-door. After one date I would tell myself that I would explain to them later that I am not interested in another date..but I would feel bad about the first date and so when they asked again I would often hesitantly say yes so that I was not mean. This ended up getting me into lots of unwanted dates and hurting other freshman’s feelings. But I couldn’t help but feel some pressure or obligation to always agree to the large request if I had already agreed to a smaller one. I wish I would have known this phenomenon so I could have avoided many awkward situations.


Mean Girls by Jamie Rhoten

Obedience is when a person follows or behaves in accordance to demands.

Obedience is a form of conformity. In the movie “Mean Girls” the main character is a new student from Africa. During her first week she is introduced to a group of girls known as the Plastics. These three girls follow certain rules and if they do not obey or abide by those rules they are excluded from the group. The new girl, Lindsey Lohan decides to obey the rules or demands of the group and she changes her appearance, behavior, and beliefs. Here is an example in the movie where the new girl is being told all the rules after she has obeyed the first rule of wearing a pink shirt on Wednesdays. Because she has obeyed this rule she is included in the group.

This is an example of Obedience because Lindsey Lohan follows the commands or rules of the Plastic group and becomes a mean girl.


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Feminists in Ukraine by Jamie Rhoten

A Gender Role is the expectation for a member of a particular sex to conform to certain social norms, behaviors, attitudes, and actions pertaining to a persons particular sex.

In American culture the gender role for a woman is to be the nurture and caregiver of her children. Men are expected to be the provider and work outside the home while women are expected to stay home. This is especially prevalent in the gender role among LDS women to stay home and not to work outside the home. I did not realize that gender roles really do vary depending on the culture. One particular experience I had with this was in Ukraine.

For the semester that I lived in Ukraine I was with a host family. My host family was wonderful. My host dad was a dentist and my host mother had two children and owned a “confectionery” or a cafe/sweet shop. It was great! They had a nanny that took care of the children since my host mother worked long hours. One day while talking I asked about her grandparents. She said that she did not really know them because they had disowned her mother. She further explained that after her mother gave birth to her, she had twin boys. Her mother wanted to stay home and raise her three children. Because of this, her parents disowned her for being lazy and selfish for staying home and not working to support her family. In Ukraine, being a stay at home mother is a feminist, according to my host mom. I thought this was very surprising since it is the opposite of our cultural norms and gender roles for a woman.

This shows that gender roles really do vary across cultures and are socially constructed. The expectation of working outside the home or staying home to be a caregiver is a gender role that does vary not only across time in a culture, but also across cultures.



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Road Rage by Jamie Rhoten

The Actor-Observer Bias is a phenomenon where a person tends to look at external or situational influences to explain one’s own behavior and focus on internal or personal characteristics to explain another persons behavior.

I am typically a safe and courteous driver. But one thing that makes me get a little upset is when someone tail-gates me. It is not uncommon for me to think to myself “What a Jerk, they need to back off” or “Who does that Yahoo they think they are?” (a phrase my dad always says). I have seen this countless times whenever I am a passenger of a car and another driver does something wrong like cuts them off, speeds, tailgates, or swerves. We can all think of a time when we became upset at another person for their bad driving. We blame them for their lack of driving skills, their recklessness, or something about their personal character traits.

I have also been late for work before and driven double the speed limit, swerving in and out of traffic, while following way too close to cars signalling for them to get over in the slow lane. I would not classify myself as a jerk or a reckless driver. I would apologize and say I am late to work. In this case I am blaming the same behavior of bad driving from situational factors instead of my personal character traits.

Road rage is an example of Actor- Observer Bias because a person gets upset and yells at another person for being rude, or inconsiderate but yet when they do the same behavior to someone else they blame the situation they are in.

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I didn’t want to be a church nerd by Jamie Rhoten

Most people would agree that “what matters most is how you see yourself” but I might argue that what matters most is how you think others see yourself. One way people try to control what others think of themselves is by self-monitoring.

Self-monitoring is when a person is aware of the social contexts that they are in and attempts to control the way others perceive them by presenting themselves in certain ways and adjusting their behaviors to match the social environment.

I am a high self-monitoring person. This means that I tend to change (or adjust) my actions by the people and situations that surround me.

One example from my life happens to be in high school. I was older for my grade and so I was one of the first to get my license. So, of course, this meant I was responsible for driving my friends around. I was voted “most involved” in my high school because I was involved in all sorts of clubs and activities. I was in student council, cheerleading, choir, theater, and a handful of clubs.  Depending on what activities and friends I would have in my car I would change my music. With my cheerleading friends I would listen to pop music, with my theater friends I would listen to musicals, with my student council friends I would listen to “trendy” or alternative music, and with my church friends I would listen to country, and so on…

I would change the music I listened to in the car based on who ever was in the car with me. I did this to try to manage the image that they perceived of me. I wanted to fit in with whatever group was around me.  I wanted to ‘look good’ with that group. I personally really enjoy listening to conference talks and church music when I am alone in the car. But I never wanted to seem ‘too churchy’ or like I was trying to be a Molly Mormon, so I would only listen to my church music alone. This is an example of one of the ways I would be self-monitoring. I would change my behavior based on what group of friends I was with. In conclusion, I cared more about how others viewed myself then I did about being true to my identity (are who I thought I was) because I changed who I was (or at least my preference of music) dependent to who I was around. So far me, it was more important to monitor what others thought of me then to listen to my nerdy church music.

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A Theory I Believe in! by Jamie Rhoten

Can Fun be the New Social Psych Theory? by Jamie Rhoten

A Theory is a set of beliefs, assumptions, and/or observations that are attributed to explain some phenomenon and is usually believed to be true, but not yet proven fact. For example, Newtons Laws are considered factual but evolution is “just a theory” and is widely believed among scientists, yet is not quite proven as factual.

A new theory has recently been established (and heavily advertised in Europe)  by a popular car company, Volkswagen. I recently heard about their commercials advertising about their new theory posted on youtube and became curious. The theory that they are promoting social awareness of is simple…way simple.  It may even seem impossible to prove as factual..but I believe in it.

“Fun can change behavior for the better”

Volkswagen is trying hard to promote social experiments that claim to prove this theory correct. If they succeed, this theory will become known as fact in the social scientist world! The pioneers of this theory test it by addressing a social problem, such as, obesity, lack of recycling, or speeding violations. Then they form a creative and fun solution to the problem, and use observation as a method to research the results. The Fun Theory has created short promotional videos showing their findings and claim that fun changes behavior in a positive way. Here is a few of their videos that “prove” their theory as fact.

This is my favorite. It is not an official video from funtheory.com but it shows the success of changing a negative behavior (boys not lifting the seat up) by making it fun!

These videos demonstrating The Fun Theories research have shown some findings that the theory of introducing fun could be proven as factual, with more research and testing. But the theory does seem to be right to me at least. I mean the boy did changed his behavior because fun was introduced which shows our theory could be correct and proven… some day!

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