The Situationist

Situationism in the Blogosphere, November 2009 – Part II

Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 3, 2009

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Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during November 2009 (they are listed in alphabetical order by source).

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From Nicholas Herrera Psychology Today Blog: “Attributional Biases and Violent Soccer Play”

“On November 5, 2009, during a soccer match between the University of New Mexico and Brigham Young University, UNM defender Elizabeth Lambert behaved badly. […] People seem to think that Lambert’s actions on the field reflect a deep-seated anger, moral defect, or unconscious conflict. […] These simple explanations are comforting, because they reaffirm what most people already believe: Good people do good things and bad people do bad things. However, they neglect the findings of social psychology, which show that behavior is a function of the person and the situation.” Read more . . .

From Nicholas Herrera Psychology Today Blog: “Cognitive Dissonance, the Need to Belong, and Mass Murder”

“On Thursday, November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 29 others at Fort Hood in Texas. Since then, there has been much speculation as to why he behaved as he did. Some of the more prominent explanations include post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of working with combat veterans, harassment from fellow soldiers because he is an Arab and a Muslim, dissatisfaction with the Army, depression, and distress caused by his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. […]  In Hasan’s case, social causes seem to be especially important. In particular, he seems to have suffered from social isolation, harassment, and cognitive dissonance.” Read more . . .

From Nicholas Herrera Psychology Today Blog: “The Chicago Cubs and the Curse of a Stereotype (Part 1)”

“Once again, the Chicago Cubs are not in the World Series. Last year, however, they seemed destined to win it. They won 97 games, the most for any Cubs team since 1945 and the most in the National League. […] Given the Cubs’ history and people’s love of supernatural explanations this is not surprising. People are especially likely to believe in superstitions when they feel that they lack control over an event. People also expect the cause of a dramatic event to be equally dramatic. Oftentimes, however, the cause is not dramatic, but rather a subtle and seemingly unimportant situational factor. In the case of the Cubs, this factor may have been the stereotype that they are “loveable losers.” Read more . . .

From Nicholas Herrera Psychology Today Blog: “The Chicago Cubs and the Curse of a Stereotype (Part 2)”

“Stereotype threat, a social psychological theory developed by Claude Steele and his colleagues, describes the fear experienced by members of a group that their performance might confirm a negative stereotype. This apprehension, as well as the added pressure to perform well, can increase anxiety and physiological arousal, trigger distracting thoughts, and reduce working memory capacity, all of which can impair performance. Even well-learned motor skills can be affected. Ironically, people who care more about their social group and performing well and have higher ability may be most vulnerable.” Read more . . .

From Psychology Today Editors Psychology Today Blog: “The Danger of Self-Affirmation”

“All people want to think well of themselves. This is, at least, what many psychologists would have us believe. So too would hundreds of practitioners of the self-help movement. Indeed, in the US, a multi-billion dollar personal improvement industry is built on the premise that people have an insatiable hunger for positive self-views. […] With enough repetitions, the argument goes, people who suffer from low self-esteem will transform themselves into highly self-confident individuals who will discover that the world is their oyster.” Read more . . .

From Sam Sommers Psychology Today Blog: “Fort Hood Fallout”

“Psychologists call it illusory correlation. The idea is that when we think about others, we tend to overestimate the association between groups and actions that are distinctive. It’s one of the ways in which societal stereotypes are perpetuated and endure over time. And it’s exactly what has many an American Muslim concerned in the wake of this week’s tragic shooting spree at the Fort Hood Army base.” Read more . . .

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For previous installments of “Situationism on the Blogosphere,” click here.

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