Social interactions

Elements of Social Interaction

  • Status: your social status
    • Types of status (e.g., achieved, ascribed): achieved = obtained status, such as becoming a doctor. Ascribed = you're born with it, such as your race.
  • Role: the role you play for a given status. Eg: treating patients when you're a doctor.
    • Role conflict and role strain: role conflict = conflict between multiple roles (Eg: being a doctor and a soldier at the same time). Role strain = conflict between requirements within the same role (Eg: patient care vs patient autonomy. Jehova's witness refusing blood transfusion, which may save their life. Parents refusing vaccination of their kids.)
    • Role exit = quitting a role
  • Groups
    • Primary and secondary groups: primary group = long-term relationship/interaction, such as family and friends. Secondary group = short-term relationship/interaction, such as classmates, colleagues.
    • In-group vs. out-group: you identify with/belong to your in-group. Groups that you don't identify with/belong to is called an out-group.
    • Group size (e.g., dyads, triads): dyad = pair relationships (eg: husband-wife, staff-customer). Triad = 3 members (eg: parents and single child).
  • Networks: made of social relationships/ties
  • Organizations: made of professional relationships. An organization is an entity in itself. It has a goal, structure, and culture.
    • Formal organization: secondary groups that serve a specific need/goal. Eg: governments, corporations, universities, hospitals.
    • Bureaucracy: a system of government where non-elect government officials make the decisions.
      • Characteristics of an ideal bureaucracy
        • Hierarchy of authority
        • Impersonality
        • Written wrules of conduct
        • Promotion based on achievement
        • Specialized division of labor
        • Efficiency
      • Perspectives on bureaucracy (e.g., iron law of oligarchy, McDonaldization)
        • Iron law of oligarchy: government tend to shift toward being ruled by an elite group
        • McDonaldization: shift toward being efficient and practical like McDonalds/fast food restaurants.

Self-presentation and Interacting with Others

  • Expressing and detecting emotion: verbal and body language
    • The role of gender in the expression and detection of emotion: Popular belief is that girls are more emotional and they are also more sensitive to detect emotion. Research shows that society has particular expectations of how boys and girls express emotion. Eg: girls can cry, guys should act tough, girls should be gentle, guys can be aggressive. This shapes how guys and girls express emotions differently.
    • The role of culture in the expression and detection of emotion
      • individualistic cultures (Western): individualistic emotions predominate, such as pride and anger
      • collectivist cultures (Asia, Africa): emotions that promote interconnectedness predominates, such as friendliness and shame
  • Presentation of self
    • Impression management = self presentation = how we act in order to influence how others perceive us.
      • self-disclosure: introducing yourself as doctor to a patient
      • managing appearances: wearing a white coat, looking compassionate
      • ingratiation: telling your interviewer that his research is fascinating, even when you couldn’t care less
      • aligning actions: aligning/justifying your actions by making excuses
      • alter-casting: imposing an identity on someone. Eg: as a doctor, you should...
    • Front stage vs. back stage self (Dramaturgical approach)
      • dramaturgical approach = using theater performance as an analogy to impression management
      • front stage: when you’re being observed, you act to conform to society’s expectations
      • back stage: when you’re by yourself, you can be yourself
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication: verbal = things you say. Nonverbal = body language
  • Animal signals and communication
    • Bees: waggle dance to communicate location of pollen
    • Baring of teeth = aggression
    • Birds: fluff up their feathers to look bigger and more intimidating

Social Behavior

  • Attraction
    • interpersonal attraction = like/dislike. Causes include physical attractiveness, proximity, similarity, familiarity, complementarity (opposites attract), reciprocity
    • physical attractiveness = how good someone looks
    • sexual attractiveness = how much sexual desire they arouse
  • Aggression = behavior that intends to cause harm
  • Attachment = parent-child relationship = develops during first 2 years of life
    • secure attachment = normal = caring parent, child upset if parent leaves, comforted when parent returns, child prefers parent to stranger, good social skills later on
    • avoidant attachment = uncaring parent = child treats parent like any stranger
    • ambivalent attachment = inconsistent parent = child upset if parent leaves, but may not be fully comforted when parent returns
    • disorganized attachment = child abuse = disorganized response to presence and absence of parent, such as avoidance, resistance, confusion, repetitive behaviors such as rocking
  • Altruism = helping others at the cost of yourself = evolutionary helps you indirectly as you share genes with those you help
  • Social support
    • Biological explanations of social behavior in animals = genetic (hunger drives foraging, testosterone drives mating) and social (learning from those around you)
    • Foraging behavior = seeks out food
    • Mating behavior and mate choice = finding, attracting, and choosing a mate
    • Applying game theory: game theory = decision making. Decisions have a benefit-cost ratio. Pick the choice of action that has the most benefit-cost ratio.
    • Altruism = help others at the cost of yourself. Alternatives: spite (harms both), cooperation (benefits both), selfishness (help yourself at the cost of others).
    • Inclusive fitness = explains altruism = when you help others who share genes with you, you indirectly help yourself

Discrimination

  • Individual vs. institutional discrimination
    • individual discrimination = it's just you doing the discrimination
    • institutional discrimination = the society doing the discrimination. Can be subtle, such as providing different access to opportunities, promoting positive/negative stereotypes in the media.
  • The relationship between prejudice and discrimination: prejudice = pre-judge = you're judging someone based on their race before even getting to know them. Discrimination = action = you are prejudiced against a certain race and because of that, rejected them from med school.
  • How power, prestige, and class facilitate discrimination: power (ability to obtain goals), prestige (respect), and class (socioeconomic status) divides people into haves and have-nots. This leads to prejudice and discrimination.