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I broke the norm by Matthew Landeen

Most people have a bubble or a personal space  that they do not like violated.  I would definately include myself in this category.  I was really hoping to make a video of my encounters, but like a typical college student my roomates and I never could find the time to get together and do it, so I did it on my own with out a camera.

Typically when you meet a person you shake hands.  Jerry Seinfeld explains this social norm perfectly so take a look at the video.

So with these handshake norms, I put some to the test to see how I felt and how the others reacted.  I experimented with people who I already knew and random people that I met for the first time.  Typically I would introduce myself and offer to shake their hands, or just say hi and stick my hand out.  I would try my best not to let them go until our conversation was done.  At first it was hard trying to act completely confortable and come up with things to ask them while trying to note my behavior as well as their behavior, but it got a little easier after doing it a few times.

If there were other people around, most would look around them to see if anyone else though it a little strange that I had not let go of their hand.  This is a perfect example of some of the things we have talked about in class.  Oftem times people will look to those around them for information (conformity, social learning, helping and perceived emergency, etc.)  It was very hard for them to focus on the conversation I was trying to have with them, and in some cases some people forcefully pulled away.

It was kind of fun to violate a social norm, but I can imagine that it wouldnt be as fun if I was the one receiving the experiment.

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The Misinformation Effect by Matthew Landeen

The Misinformation effect – Incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event after witnessing an event and receiving misleading information about it.

Some of us may recall an event and tell the story of what happened believing that everything we “remember” actually happened.  Memory can be misleading and manipulated.

In this video, the male telling the story of when he was lost as a child appears to be a true memory.  He believes that this event really occurred.  He even created specifics in his memory like the flannel shirt.

This can be interesting in a court room because a lot of what the jury can go by is “eye witnesses.”  After many studies, we understand that an eye witness may not be as accurate and reliable as we originally thought.  When someone wants to believe something so badly that person can create memories of an event that never happened or alter the true memory to match the desired memory.


Social support and the common cold by Matthew Landeen

This title comes from a study that was done with 276 volunteers who were infected with the cold virus.  They were quarantined for five days and observed.  Those under stress had a harder time fighting off the virus.

Health Psychology – The study of the psychological roots of health and illness.

Part of this idea is that when we become stressed our immune system has a harder time fighting off whatever virus we are exposed to.  In this clip from “Guys and dolls” Adelaide is upset and stressing out because she has been engaged to Nathan, who is played by Frank Sinatra, for 10 years and feels like he is never really going to marry her.  listening to the lyrics you can see that she is worried about getting old and being single.  She explains that all of this can cause a patient to develop a cold.

This has to be my least favorite part of this movie.  I can hardly stand watching her sing, but it was a good example so I had to show it.

Right before I got accepted to BYU I just broke up with my girlfriend of six months.  I was working a full-time job, a part-time job, and was serving on Phi Theta Kappa.  I guess the stress of all of this killed my immune system and I got super sick.  I am a healthy person and almost never get sick, but the stress got to me.  So take some time each day to relax and unwind so you can avoid getting sick.

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Opposites do not attract…at least not in my case by Matt Landeen

Similarity Hypothesis – We are attracted to people who are similar to us because they share the same values and opinions as we do, and we like our values validated.

This rings very true to me.  I would like to consider myself an accepting person, but I know I am guilty of regarding those that hold the same values and opinions as me at a higher level than those that do not.  When I meet someone that shares similarities with me I feel better and I believe subconsciously I view or possibly treat them better than someone that differs.

Before class started there were some people talking about a controversial subject.  When all came to the conclusion that everyone agreed, some were saying, “exactly” or “thank you.”  They had their values and opinions validated by others and hypothetically it is more likely that they would be friends with each other than with someone that did not share they same opinions as them.

Like I said, this rings true with me, I am more attracted to people that share similarities with me, I think we all are.

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Are you just going to stand by? by Matt Landeen

The Bystander Effect – People are less likely to provide help when there are other bystanders.

The discussion in class about Kitty Genovese really got me thinking about why people didn’t help, which could have prevented her death.  Seeing an accident some of us think, “oh someone has already probably called the police and helped them.”  We are quick to assume that other people have already come the aid of the person in need of help.

The other big reason why people don’t stop to help is because no one else is stopping.  If no one else acknowledges that there is an emergency and help is required, we assume that we have misjudged, and that no help is required.

This really made me think how easy is it to ask someone, “hey are you ok, do you need help?”

I hope I don’t readily assume that someone else will help when I see someone in need of assistance.  With stories like Kitty’s, I hope we all are more quick to offer help.

To end on a lighter note, here is a funny clip from Seinfeld about bystanders.

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Are you frustrated? This guy is. By Matthew Landeen

Frustration – Anything that blocks us from achieving a goal.

Frustration aggression theory is one way of explaining why we get aggressive.  Frustration grown when our motivation to achieve a goal is very strong, when we expected gratification, and when the blocking is complete.

Some people get frustrated more easily than others.  Check out this guy in an office when he can’t get something to print right from his computer.


This video is classic.  His goal is to print from his computer.  He shows signs of a calm responsible adult even when his second attempt fails and he gets sprayed with black powder.  Frustrated, he gets aggressive and acts irrationally when he can not complete his goal.

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Are you a mormon? by Matt Landeen

Stereotype – Beliefs or ideas about the personal attributes of a group of people.

Living in Utah, sometimes it is hard to find someone that does not already know about the LDS church.  Most of the people living here know what stereotypes or rumors are true and which ones are not.

I work at a drug and alcohol recovery center that mostly caters to patients from out of state.  Most of the time the first thing a patient will ask me is, “Are you a Mormon?”  While working there I have been asked almost everything from A-Z concerning mormon stereotypes.  Having been on a mission, I have been well prepared in how to respond.

Some of the things people ask me I feel like they already know the answer to but want to see my reaction anyway.  These stereotypes are the ones that really bother me.  I am fine answering honest questions but when the stereotype is discussed just to see the reaction of a member of the group the stereotype is about, I get a little frustrated.

One patient asked me how many moms I had.  One asked me why I don’t believe in the bible.  These of course are stereotypes that people, who are not educated or just heard something wrong, have about Mormons

The thing about stereotypes is that most of the time they are not true for everyone in the group.  This can offend people if we are quick to make judgements just based on how we classify them to a specific group.

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Deindividuation in “Lord of The Flies” by Matthew Landeen

Deindividuation – Doing together what we would not do alone.

I have not read the book “The Lord of The Flies.”  I have only seen about 10 minutes of the movie.  One of my friends tried to explain the whole thing to me and quite frankly I was really disturbed, but sometimes that is the case with deindividuation.

I am going to include a clip but with WARNING.  This clip has some bad language and some may get offended so view with discretion.

I can’t see any of these kids in this video behaving the way they did if they were alone.  In the clip you can notice that with more time they also change their appearance to have more physical anonymity.  This makes it easier to act in a way contrary to their personal beliefs and more towards group behavior.

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Conformity by Matthew Landeen

Conformity:  Thinking or acting differently in a group than you would normally act or think alone.

There are many examples of conformity and I feel that we are all guilty of it at some point in our life.  Remember this is not always a bad thing.  Sometimes it is good to conform even though it has a negative connotation.

This candid camera video illustrates conformity very well and provides some humor.


If the people in the elevator were alone they all would probably face the doors.  When the groups behavior is different than the norm, the individual conforms to the group behavior even though it does not make sense to them.  This experiment has been done by other modern-day groups and the reaction is the same.

Since studying conformity I have become more aware of the small ways that I conform and sometimes am not aware of it.  When we took a brake during class I went to the bathroom.  After washing my hands I always take just one paper towel.  Both of the people before me took two and I conformed and took two.  I definitely would not have taken two if I was by myself in the bathroom.  This is not the first time this has happened.  I typically conform to the groups behavior unless I strongly disagree with the groups behavior.  Pay attention to your own behavior and try to observe when you have tendencies to conform.

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What is the norm? What is expected? by Matthew Landeen

Normal behavior or expected behavior is the etiquette or rules that each culture has that makes up acceptable behavior.

It is very hard to know what the norm is.  I think most people, if they are observant, can get a good idea on what kind of behavior is expected of them.  It is easy to watch what others around us are doing and get a good feel for what the norm is.  I would like to tell two stories that illustrate that sometimes this can be hard, and sex and gender play a big part of this.

I went to pick up a girl for a date.  The expected behavior is that the guy would open the girls door for her.  This is not because the girl is an invalid and can not open her own door, but rather to show that the guy is treating her like she is special.  Naturally I go to open the door for my date and in a kind way she says that she can open her own door.  I was not offended but caught off guard.

I met a different girl and went to her house to pick her up.  This instance was not a date but when she got in my car her father started yelling at her to get out of the car, but she could not open the door by herself.  Her father made me go open the door and have her get out.  I then had to shut the door and re open it to let her get back in and then shut the door.  Anytime she got in and out of the car her father expected me to open the door for her.  This became a habit and sometimes I find myself, out of habit wanting to open the door for anybody that gets in my car.

With peoples opinions becoming more diverse its nearly impossible to understand fully what someone expects especially when it comes to gender roles.  One date didn’t want me to  open her door for her and another girl expected it opened every time.  Its also not in our culture for guys to open the door for guys nor girls for girls or girls for guys.  I wonder if this will become an extinct practice as women become more independent.  Who is to blame?


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Attitude Modeling by Matthew Landeen

Attitude Modeling – I define Attitude Modeling as the formation of attitudes learned by watching the attitudes of others around you.

The picture that I have posted with this post is a demonstration of both behavior and attitude modeling and I will explain more in depth why it is.  Yes this is a picture of me as a child and I never ever thought that I would someday use this for an example in social psychology.

Please click on the link below to try to open the picture, I hope this works.


In this picture I am modeling the behavior of my dad.  Most look to their parents as role models, and as young children want to grow up to be just like them.  Obviously at that age I had no clue what I was doing, and who knows if my dad did, but I wanted to be right there with him so I pulled out my plastic tool box and went to work.

I know that this picture is really a representation of behavior modeling, but the attitude I have now towards mechanics is a result of what is happening in the picture and what has happened over time.  My dad has always had the attitude that if someone can learn and do it so can he.  He is not a mechanic but there has only been a few times I remember him taking the family cars into the mechanic because he could not fix them.

I have modeled his attitude.  I believe that I can learn and do something just like anyone else.  While it really bothers me when my car stops working and I don’t know why, I really enjoy learning new things seeing if I can solve the problem by learning.  This is an attitude that I learned or modeled from my father.

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Non Verbal Behavior -Matthew Landeen

Non Verbal Behavior is almost self descriptive.  A lot of what we communicate is actually done with out words.  Our posture, eyes, hands and facial expressions are all behaviors that  communicate how we feel and can be more honest than what we actually say.  In a social context we can learn things about a person through non verbal behavior that we otherwise would not learn from what they tell us verbally.

This subject is very fascinating to me and most of what I have studied is from sources online or from the show “lie to me.”  I fully understand that that program is not completely accurate, but  non the less it is fun to learn about.  Before my mission I read a few books on body language and while I have probably studied more about nonverbal communication that the average person I am in no way an expert.  I am a beginner.

Monday night for family home evening we played and “ice breaker” game to get to know one another.  We played two truths and one lie.  In this game you tell the group of people two truths about yourself and one lie.  This game was really fun to try to observe how people reacted when they told a lie.  Obviously the point was to try to guess which of the three was actually a lie.  I thought I did pretty well, but the easiest to spot was my roommates lie.  I have been around him long enough to know what his baseline behavior is and therefore could tell when his normal behavior changed when put in a stressful social situation.

The night got even more interesting when we decided to play mafia.  Just by chance I drew the detective role and my roommate drew the mafia role.  This was beneficial to me because I eventually asked my roommate point blank if he was the mafia and when he said no I immediately knew he was lying to me and the game was over.

Non verbal behavior is best observed when you already know how the person behaves in his/her natural environment.  When you know this you can easily note the changes when there is social pressure or when their non verbal communication does not match their verbal communication.

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The Spotlight Effect by Matthew Landeen


The Spotlight Effect is a way to describe someone that feels like the whole world is watching them.  This is intensified when they feel like they did something unusual or anything that drew the attention towards them.  The faulty thinking of the spotlight effect is that in reality they are not watching you any more closely than the next person.

The faulty thinking comes because typically we are self conscious about the reason we feel people are looking at us.  Embarrassment or anxiety tends to make things a bigger deal in our head than they are in reality.

To illustrate the spotlight effect I will tell how I actually felt the effect during the class discussion today and why I think I felt it.  Professor Holt-Lunstad had us write on a piece of paper, I am…. and we could fill in the blank.  She asked some of the students to say what they wrote down.  I, without thinking, just blurted out “I am single.”  For the rest of the time in class I felt like every time a fellow student saw me they were thinking “hey thats the kid that announced to the class that he is single.”  I don’t make a lot of comments in class so I feel that thats the only thing people are going to remember me by.  This is the spotlight effect in action.  In reality, I hope, people will forget about it and hopefully I will make some more comments in class that are intelligent to quickly replace the comment that I hope people don’t remember me by.

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The difference between correlation and causation by Matt Landeen

Correlation and causation are two different things.

Correlation says that two things go together

Causation says that the change in the dependent variable is directly caused by the change in the independent variable


In this picture stock-illustration-9308296-rooster-sunrise.jpg we see the sun rising and a rooster crowing.  While we all know that the sun coming up is not dependent on the rooster crowing, one who doesn’t know this may incorrectly think that the sun came up because the rooster crowed.  This is an example of correlation, these two things go together.

This silly youtube video gives another example of correlation vs causation.  The video claims that over the years the number of traditional pirates has decreased.   Also over the years, people claim that global warming has increased.  While it is a little far-fetched to assume that global warming was caused because of the diminishing number of pirates, the video notes that when the number of pirates went down the severity of global warming went up.  Simply because two things occur or have a relationship does not provide enough evidence to say that there is a causation.

It is very important to note and know the difference between the two especially when making a theory or hypothesis.  Many mistakes can be made if we see a relationship between two variables and label it causation when in reality there is a correlation and not enough research was done to be certain about the relationship.

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