In Week 7 we cover what many students often report is their favorite topic in psychology – social psychology. We will explore several famous studies related to conformity, obedience, and social roles/norms. We will also discuss the field of Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology – one you may not be very familiar with, but yet likely has an impact on your daily life through your work in various settings. Finally, we will discuss personality theory and application.
As you progress through your lesson this week, take full advantage of all of the features of this adapted learning lesson – complete the exercises, honestly assess your understanding of the material using the slider bars at the bottom of each screen, and review the support material suggested based on your progress. Be sure to ask your instructor if you have any questions over any of the concepts introduced this week.
To start this activity, you need to complete all the others before it. Social Psychology
Humans are diverse, and sometimes our differences make it challenging for us to get along with one another. A poignant example is that of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American who was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, in a predominantly White neighborhood in 2012. Zimmerman grew suspicious of the boy dressed in a hoodie and pursued Martin. A physical altercation ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin. Zimmerman claimed that he acted in self-defense; Martin was unarmed. A Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder nor of manslaughter.
Several groups protested what they deemed racial profiling and brutality against an unarmed Black male. Zimmerman, who has a Peruvian mother and a German father, was accused of being racist. Some media coverage was criticized for inflaming racial politics in their coverage. In spite of conflicts such as these, people also work together to create positive change. For example, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, people rallied together and charitable donations skyrocket (Brown and Minty, 2006). This module explores how the presence of other people influences the behavior of individuals, dyads, and groups. Social factors can determine whether human behavior tends toward conflict or harmony.
complete all the others before it. Industrial-Organizational Psychology
In July 2012, Yahoo!, one of the largest and oldest web companies, announced the appointment of Marissa Mayer as CEO. Yahoo! had struggled to define itself and excel in the industry for several years, and the appointment of Mayer, a top Google executive, made big news. Among her many decisions, in February 2013, Mayer announced that employees would no longer be allowed to telecommute. Telecommuting is representative of many management innovations that have been made in recent years, largely by tech companies. Telecommuting reflects a belief on the part of companies that employees are responsible, self-motivating, and perhaps work best when they are left alone. It also has an impact on work–family balance, though which way is yet unclear. And telecommuting reflects the more general trend of increasing overlap between workers’ time spent on the job and time spent off the job.
The reversal of this policy at Yahoo! brought controversy and a lot of questions about what it meant. Mayer has stayed largely quiet on her reasoning behind the decision, except to say that it was meant to better the company. She finally addressed her decision briefly at the 2013 Great Place to Work conference (Tkaczyk, 2013) by saying, among other things, that while “people are more productive when they’re alone, they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.” Interestingly, shortly after the Yahoo! change, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy also eliminated telecommuting as an option for their employees. Will the change make Yahoo! more innovative or more productive? How has the change affected employees at the company, particularly working parents and those taking care of elderly relatives? Was the change introduced in the most effective way? These are questions that are commonly studied by a branch of psychology called industrial and organizational psychology.
To start this activity, you need to complete all the others before it. Personality Three months before William Jefferson Blythe III was born, his father died in a car accident. He was raised by his mother, Virginia Dell, and grandparents, in Hope, Arkansas. When he turned 4, his mother married Roger Clinton, Jr., an alcoholic who was physically abusive to William’s mother. Six years later, Virginia gave birth to another son, Roger. William, who later took the last name Clinton from his stepfather, became the 42nd president of the United States. While Bill Clinton was making his political ascendance, his half-brother, Roger Clinton, was arrested numerous times for drug charges, including possession, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and driving under the influence, serving time in jail. Two brothers, raised by the same people, took radically different paths in their lives. Why did they make the choices they did? What internal forces shaped their decisions? Personality psychology can help us answer these questions and more.