I also have a colleague who is very much in the "free will" camp philosophically and I have a difficult time convincing him about the social forces that shape our behavior. If you are like me then you will love this new book I had the opportunity to review recently. It is called, Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. It will be released at the end of the year. Short review: if you like social psychology you will like this book and it's a worthwhile read.
For years I have struggled with coming up with great examples and additional research that had not been dealt with by the introductory texts. Now I have that book I've been looking for. Some highlights and observations from my dog-eared copy:
- judging people's expertise by our own narrowly ranged knowledge base
- being seduced by character is something we do when attributing explanations of behavior
- using famous people in advertising testimonials--do they really use the products they are hawking?
- realizing that situations are often invisible to us--we need to learn how to see them and their influence (the tools in this book can help me do this with my students)
- Numerous explanations of situations and the influence of context on people's behavior ("what's wrong with these people?"
- The wisdom of crowds--how real is it? when should we use/avoid it?
- Asch's study, conformity and mimicry of nonverbal behavior
- Who are you? An examination of self-definition that is flexible by situation and context
- What we think we will do and what we do are often very different things--some research
- A breakdown of the Singer-Schacter experiment--some details that are missing in the textbooks
- An overview of what is commonly called "The Lake Wobegon Effect"--where everyone is above average
- how we are skilled at self-deception
- achievement based on what we are told about intelligence
- gender differences--how much is biology and how much is society
- proximity and love--how location influences who we are attracted to
- how making yourself visible makes you more attractive
- Much, much more
If you have questions for the author, please comment below and we will do our best to get them answered.
posted by Chuck Schallhorn