Motivation and attitudes
Voiceover: So we're gonna take a look at a branch of Psychology called Social Psychology. So we're placed in different situations each and every day, so you can't dismiss the fact that these situations affect our behavior. This is a situational approach to behavior. And theorists place the situational approach to behavior under a branch of Psychology called Social Psychology. So Social Psychology is a branch of Psychology concerned with how social phenomena influences us, and how people interact with others. So it focuses on the interaction between an individual in his or her environment. So this is us in our environment, and this interaction is going to shape our behavior. So in many instances, people behave very differently, depending upon their situation. So behavior is seen as being influenced by external situational factors rather than internal traits or motivations. So, external is a very important word, external or situational factors. So in this theory, or explanation, so to say, it's hard to predict someone's behavior based off of just one situation. Because, that one situation isn't going to be really predictive of how they'll act or be in another situation. That's the beauty of this situational approach, is that, depending on the situation, the behavior may change. That's the assumption we need to go in with. And as social creatures, we humans base judgments and ideas about others simply off the situation in which that person behaves. But we also acknowledge, and it's important to do this, that sometimes we behave in ways that deviate from our typical character in differing situations. It's kind of like saying, you can't judge a book by its cover. An attribution is the process of inferring the causes of events or behaviors. So attribution has two parts to it but we're going to focus on one part. So attribution can either be internal or it can be external and the external, is what we're going to be focusing on today. So, over the course of a day, or let me step back a bit. Attribution, I said, is the process of inferring the causes of events and behaviors, and it's something that we do everyday without even really realizing that we're doing it. So, over the course of a day we probably make tons of attributions about our own behavior, as well as that of the people around us. So, the concept of attribution is actually much more complex, but since we're gonna focus on the external. We'll break that part down. So the external attribution is the inference that a person is behaving a certain way because of something about the situation he or she is in. So, external attribution has three main parts. And the first is consistency. So, now we're looking at external situational, circumstances, we're looking at consistency, so does the person usually behave this way in this situation? And the second is distinctiveness. Now distinctiveness in this case is does the person behave differently in different situations or is this particular situation distinct. And the last is consensus. So, do others behave similarly in this situation? Now, if we can confidently answer yes to this second two questions, so the ones that regard distinctiveness and consensus, so if we can say yes to does the person behaves differently in different situations. And do others behave similarly in the situation? Then we can come to the conclusion that the person is behaving in a particular way due to their situation. So here we can say the situation is having an effect on their behavior. Now if the person usually behaves the same in new situation, then you know that their behavior is not really affected by that situation, since they're consistent. So if we answer yes to this one, then we know that maybe their behavior isn't totally dependent on the situation. If it's going to be consistent from situation to the next situation to the next situation. Maybe that is more of an internal attribution. So, pretend you're at the zoo with your very calm and reasonable best friend, and you head over to the snakes exhibit. And although your friend doesn't like snakes, she calmly takes the time to look at them and read about all the different kinds of snakes out there. Now one day, you have this genius idea to decide to bring a pet cobra to her house. And the second she walks in the door, she screams and freaks out and runs out, and you are totally bewildered. You have no idea what to do. Well, what can we conclude? I mean I wouldn't say your best friend is always frantic. But clearly based on the distinct situation she was placed in, she's going to behave differently. So, in the zoo, the snakes are all caged up. She's obviously comfortable, she knows the snakes are not going to come at her. But the second you brought it into her living room, in a different situation, she felt like her safety was being endangered. So she's going to act differently in that situation. So moral of the story: Situational approaches teaches more about a person the more time we spend with them and see them in different circumstances. And also, don't ever bring a snake that close and in the open to your best friend's house.