Thursday, August 23, 2007

Maybe we just can't help it...

Hello fellow social psychians,

Just a posting to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s lecture on prejudice and stereotypes. My blog 1 topic is on stereotypes and the lecture offered me much food for thought. It was somewhat upsetting to discover though that as a species, us humans may be innately destined to be prejudiced. Although sad to hear, it did offer me some comfort… as strange as that may sound. You see, I always wondered why we hadn’t learnt yet how to just be nice! I mean, why do we still continue to discriminate people based on such silly superficial characteristics? We have come so far, in the way of medicine, technology and education, however we still go to war, stigmatize, discriminate, and stereotype people different to us. If we can’t really help this prejudiced way of acting then I suppose it’s not that all that bad now is it… We are after all only animals, maybe that’s all we are really capable of being? Animals, who fight, challenge others, and who are wary of strangers… Animals with the addition of ipods and trendy designer clothes… maybe we have no control over our tendency to behave in this manner… Or maybe there is more to acting in a prejudiced way than simply following our innate drives? Not all of us act on these negative feelings… perhaps we all secretly hold these prejudiced thoughts, but only some of us act on them… of course I am not being serious here and this premise is far from what I believe… but it is an interesting idea… Any thoughts?


Saturday, August 18, 2007

I've decided on my blog topic!!

Hello everyone,
I have finally decided on my topic for my first blog. I previously stated I was going to do the question on stereotypes “Choose and describe a stereotype that is commonly held about a minority group in Australian society. Discuss why this stereotype exists, how that stereotype was formed, and how it is maintained. Also consider how this stereotype could be changed. Present a concept map depicting your understanding of the socio-psychological variables involved.”
Now I have decided that I am going to write about homosexuals as a minority group in Australia. Although it has been time consuming trying to find Australian journals, I am slowly gathering some great information! I’m thinking my essay will outline how Australians perceive the stereotypical homosexual, then explore why this stereotype exists. I’m probably going to discuss things like gender roles, cultural norms being violated, how people are frightened of the unknown and different… Then I will look at how this stereotype was formed focusing on religion, biology, laws and fear. I have found a lot of interesting studies about how the media can contribute to the maintenance of homosexual stereotypes. I will finally outline some possible ways to change the stereotypes associated with homosexuality, things like education.
Just a starting point… any ideas on things I should look at researching more, or things I shouldn’t discuss would be greatly appreciated. And does anyone know if the concept map for this question should focus on how stereotypes exist, how they were formed, how they are maintained or how they can be changed or all of these factors???

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Online world..

Hi everyone,
I must say I was apprehensive to read the latest blog posted by “willing participant” due to its length! However I began reading it and found that I couldn’t stop myself from finishing it. I have to completely agree with you WP, there is an online world or society out there, which comprises of rules and regulations that one must follow if one wishes to be accepted as a valued member (not unlike the real world!). I often find myself trying to explain my online assignments (for example this blogging idea) to my Grandma, only to be reminded that- she just doesn’t get it… I often tell my Mum the latest gossip about friends I haven’t seen in years and she replies… “Oh did you run into her?? How lovely” and I always disappoint her when I reply “Nah Mum, we were chatting on myspace”. So I guess the online generation has a massive advantage in the way of communication and socialising. We can chat and share stories with our friends on the other side of the world, or that we don’t have the time to catch up with, or even chat with people we have never met before. But this advantage can also act as a disadvantage. People can get comfortable conversing only online, and may not have the opportunities to develop their interpersonal skills in the real world. Not to mention the dangers involved in sharing personal details with strangers. Although I agree with the idea raised by willing participant, that the generations before ours can be uninformed about the online world, I don’t think they are to blame. The online world is a daunting and challenging one. Like a child being taught in the real world, we too must become accustom to the ways in which the online world works. This process can’t be easy for those people or generations who have no experience with the internet. I think communication between the online generation and the offline generation about the implications of the online world could really help in reducing the incongruence on the issue... any other thoughts?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hey everyone, in response to Jessica's posting, I find it hard to believe that so many people did conform to Asch's conformity experiment. I would like to think that I would not conform to an obviously incorrect group of people. But I guess in certain situations I feel more inclined to just agree with the crowd to avoid conflict. Like we learnt in this weeks lecture, when I am with a group of people I believe know more about a particular subject than I do, I am more likely to conform and agree with them, an informational social influence. When I was younger, like in high school, I was more likely to go along with the crowd to be liked, a normative social influence. But I think now, that I am more confident in who I am, and what I know and believe in, I am less likely to conform. Standing up to a crowd can be intimidating though, and maybe this has a lot to do with why so many people in the experiment just agreed with the group. Although this conformity isn't really an issue with experiments like Asch's, in the real world, it can have devastating effects. So I for one will aim to speak up, and say "I do not agree that line A is the same length as line B!".