Journal Entries 61-90

61. My nine-year-old daughter "mailed" me a letter yesterday. As a homework assignment, each child had to write a letter to their parents. The purpose of the letter was to persuade their parents to allow the child to buy the item that he was requesting. Their teacher had covered the two-sided argument in class.

My daughter's letter requested a pet. In it she listed one by one all the counter arguments that I have expressed over the months. After each of my counter arguments, she presented her logical argument to negate my side.

Needless to say that I'm impressed. She did an excellent job. Now I'm on the spot. It's either produce the pet or produce new counter arguments!

62. Over the months since my daughter started back to school, I've been experiencing a mini-Prisoner's Dilemma.


ignore don't ignore others ignore the notice

the the notice


me 2 4

ignore 1 3

the notice

Every month the school sends home a notice pleading for volunteers for the Picture-Parent Program. (Once a month a parent would show a print by a famous artist to the class, giving details about the work of art, the artist, etc.) Every month I have been selfish and ignored the requests, hoping that someone else's parent will volunteer. (Partly I have ignored the requests because I truly don't have time since I'm enrolled full time at NCC. Partly I've ignored the requests because of a stereotype that I have about the typical suburban housewife -- lots of free time to fritter away here and there on nonessentials.) They have more time than I do; therefore, let them do it.

Well, evidently, they are being selfish also because yesterday a final notice came home from school. My daughter's class still does not have a volunteer. Unless someone responds this week, her class will miss out on this "valuable learning experience."

Thus comes the Prisoner's Dilemma. If I continue to be "selfish", it's the best thing for me but bad for my daughter's class. If I don't ignore it and the other's don't ignore it, then that's best for the school but not for me. If we all ignore it (which we have so far) it's bad for the school but better for me than if I don't ignore it but the others do. They will be following their most selfish strategy and I will be mad.

So far we have both been following our most dominant strategy -- ignore the notice. What to do now?!

Another reason I have for not wanting to volunteer is that I fear they will use the foot-in-the-door technique. They'll start off with just being a Picture-Parent. It only takes one hour per month and you care about your child's education, don't you?

Then once they've got you at the school, they start lowering the boom with project after project that needs your help. You start off slowly just helping out and before you know it; somehow, you're the chairperson of the committee running the project yourself. My initial commitment to the school would cause me to be consistent. I know it's all happened before.

63. The book touched on reducing racial prejudice through social contact. This brought me back to my high school days.

In 1965, the Catholic schools made a stab at integration in St. Louis where I lived. The all-black high school on the north side of town was changed from co-ed to all boys. The all-white high school on the south side was changed from co-ed to all girls. The plan was to bus all the black girls south and all the white boys north. (This was in line with the stereotype that boys could handle themselves better in a rough neighborhood than girls. Evidently many white mothers did not share this stereotype and simply removed their sons from the Catholic school system and put them into the public school close by.)

Many attempts were made by the nuns at my now all-girl school to get the black girls and white girls to intermix. The girls were paired off by opposite race as "co-sisters." On retreats girls of opposite race were bunked together.

However, none of this forced social contact really worked. The girls still separated by race for lunches, social events, etc. The ingroup/outgroup bias was clearly distinctive here.

64. During the recent flooding in Gurnee, the TV reporters interviewed many people who were sand-bagging, asking them why they were helping out. Many responded in line with the social responsibility norm. They didn't live in the area, had nothing to gain or lose from stopping the flooding, but were out there helping because it seemed the right thing to do.

I think that many were also motivated by what the book terms "perceived reasons for the need." People are more likely to provide help if they attribute the difficulty to external causes beyond the person's control. Here the rain causing the river to rise and flood would be an example of an uncontrollable event externally caused.

An example of someone not helping because they feel that the event was internally caused and controllable was found in the movie "Burning Bed." In it, Farrah Fawcett is being abused by her husband and goes to her mother for help. Her mother's response is, "You make a hard bed; you got to lie in it." Here the mother clearly feels that since the daughter decided to marry the man -- a controllable, internally caused decision -- she isn't as deserving of help. It's her fault, she'll have to deal with it.

65. A telephone call from one of my neighbors reminded me of our discussion of cooperation/competition. Her son is on Naperville Central's football team. The coach stresses that every game is a team effort, every member has an important contribution to make towards winning the game. This is what we discussed -- cooperating means working for a group goal.

She also talked about how the coach "hangs" an effigy of the other team, ridicules the other team, and verbally tears them apart. The purpose of this is to get his team riled up against the other team. This would go along with the idea that ingroup/outgroup biases promote competition. Here the coach is stressing negative things about the other team, stressing their differences, and increasing antagonism and hostility, all of which increase competitive feelings. He is also producing a common external threat, the other team, which will decrease the hostility among his own team and further increase their cooperation.

66. Getting dressed for work today, I thought how nice it would be to be a cashier in a store so that I had a smock to wear at work over my clothes. I could dress as comfortably as I wanted. It'd even be nice to be a clerk in my office and wear comfortable shoes and slacks. But no...

I put on heels and a suit or dress every day. I am uncomfortable. I don't do it because I feel better in them. I do it because of the normative influence of my peers. As part of the Finance group (all the men wear suits and ties), I want to be accepted. I am a salaried department head. In truth I feel I'm at the bottom of this group. Therefore to be accepted to their group I dress a certain way.

A further example of this is the hours I work. Before my promotion, I worked 7:30-4:00. Now I am there by 8:30 a.m. and stay till 5:00. The reason is that the rest of the group stays that late, if not later. Further, my boss once remarked that the "professional staff usually works till 5:00."

Again to be part of that group and to be accepted, I stay that late every day. I suppose I also accept the fact that it is correct to stay till 5:00 because everyone does (informational social influence).

67. As I was driving to work, I was singing along with a Patsy Cline cassette that my husband had left in the cassette player.

I am reminded of how my taste in music has changed since I was young. When Bruce and I started dating, WCFL and WLS were THE rock stations. That was the only music I listened to. When Bruce said he liked country music -- Eddy Arnold, The Statler Brothers, etc., I knew we were from two different worlds. I had an open mind. If that's what he liked, it was his problem.

After we married, I bought my contemporary pop music, he bought country music. We both played our music we liked. In the car we took turns with selections.

After a few years, I developed a liking for the smooth male country singers, while still disliking the twangy country music and any female country singer's music.

As you'd expect, I developed a taste for the twangy stuff too. Today, I'm bellowing along with Patsy Cline.

It is obvious the exposure effect brought me over to country music gradually. No one forced me to listen to it nor even tried to make me like it. However, the occasional music being heard over the years influenced my attitude toward music so that today "country" music is my favorite with "easy-listening" a close second.

68. I know that flying is safer statistically than riding in a car. Nor am I afraid to fly. Yet I am reminded that no matter how much I think I believe it, I really don't. For example, I drive my car to work everyday and never once consider that I will not make it home. Yet on Friday, my husband and I had our will updated because we are flying out of town without our children. I know I never get on a plane without a feeling of apprehension and never land without a feeling of relief. From my studies I can attribute my feelings to two possible factors:

1) When I drive a car, I am in control. I drive defensively and alertly. When I get on a plane, I have absolutely no control. The pilot is in charge. He may have had a fight with his spouse and his head is in the clouds. (Pardon the pun.) He may have a terrific hangover from the night before. The loss of control has a terrific influence on my feelings.

2) The vividness effect is also dominant. When an airline crashes, it makes the front page. We see horrendous scenes of the accident sight on the 10:00 news. We see interviews of victims' sobbing relatives. All the people on board the aircraft are dead and never had a chance to survive.

This image always comes to mind when I fly. The vividness of this scenario is hard to wipe from my mind.

69. Today was a real eye-opener. We attended the World's Fair and several pavilions of different countries. I'll admit I went in because my husband wanted to see it. It would not have been my choice.

However, as we walked through the pavilion, we saw models of their cities, roads, harbors, airports, train systems, agriculture, etc. It was all quite amazing and impressive. I had commented earlier that it was amazing how we, as Americans, really know so little of the rest of the world. The schema or image I had of Saudi Arabia was money-hungry, oil selling Arabs riding camels to their homes in the sandy desert. In short, I had a negative image.

I suppose that is why I was so amazed that the country seemed to be as progressive and modern as the U.S. We also watched a film on the country about its progress over the past ten years. Again I was amazed. Their housing had increased seven times. Irrigation and new water supply systems created seven times the farm lands. Wheat fields increased. Medical assistance to citizens increased. They gave free land to citizens who would farm. They gave free housing to citizens moving to the larger cities. They provided medical insurance to those who needed it. There were also scenes of their country's leader meeting with Reagan, M. Thatcher and many other world leaders. After twenty-five minutes, we got up and walked out.

Obviously, the impressions I was receiving conflicted with my earlier opinion. At first I accepted it. However, as time went on and their images got stronger, they created a conflict for me. Could I have been that wrong? Am I that misinformed? (The probable truth is yes to both of these questions.) However in order to maintain consistency and confidence in myself, I had to modify my acceptance of this data with the stipulation that it was mostly propaganda. If this country did everything as stated in this film, half of the U.S. citizenry would be on its way over right now. If they had as many friends in high places as they wanted us to believe, wouldn't they be more of a world power than they are.

If all they said was true, was my country trying to keep me from knowing it? This cognitive dissonance forced me to alter the images they were throwing at me.

70. We went sightseeing in Vancouver using their transit system to get around. I was thoroughly impressed with Vancouver and even more so with their transit system and the people.

The bus, train, and seabus are part of the same network. For a three dollar (Can. $) day pass, you can go anywhere, anytime by one of the three systems. The amazing thing for me was the bus drivers.

They did not fit the schema of a bus driver. They had neat appearances, were friendly, and even thanked you when you left the bus. It was a sharp contrast to the image of the gun-carrying Chicago CTA driver.

The extreme contrast to my negative image of drivers probably made them appear more friendly and helpful than they actually were. Had I not been from the Chicago area, I wonder if I'd have been so impressed.

71. I had been out of the office last week. The State of Ohio called our office regarding our company's change. He told one of the clerks that we had to apply for a new state identification number. She advised him that we didn't because the only thing that changed was the name of the company, not the owners, not the business, etc. He was very emphatic about it. After twenty minutes of going back and forth, he advised he'd call back next week to talk to the manager.

When he called this week I said, "Yes, the only thing that changed was the company's name." He said, "Okay, think you. That's what I needed to know."

It was as though the title of Payroll Manager gave me the credibility the clerk did not have. Therefore, he was reluctant to disagree with me although I told him much less than the clerk did.

72. In reviewing Chapter 11, I was struck by one point. Relationships can be defined as exchange and communal. The difference is that in exchange relationships we operate on the equity theory. We want to receive benefits from the relationship in accordance to what we've put into it. However, in communal relationships, the other person's well-being is our only concern. Further, (page 269 of text) on the subject of defining love, Berkowitz states people in love should "be concerned about each other's welfare and not insist on return payments for benefits granted."

I will agree in true friendships and in love, record-keeping is not desirable. However, I'd also argue that love could be defined as wanting to put back into a relationship (payments) for benefits already received, as well as concern for the other's welfare. Some examples follow.

When we first married, I worked full-time while my husband finished college (before my liberated days). This was out of concern for his and our welfare. I did not expect anything in return. Now sixteen years and a family later, I am going to finish school. It is not easy. My personality takes a real nose dive during semesters. My energy level is good for squat. My husband does 75% of the housework. (The other 25% doesn't get done.) My level of patience will never get me a mother-of-the-year award. Yet in one of my reflective, depressive moods last year, I asked my husband why he put up with it. His response was "you put me through school years ago; it's the least I can do now." That is love.

As a further defense of my original point, I contend the happier you are in a relationship the more you want to put into it. The more satisfied you are in terms of your needs and desires, the more you want to satisfy your partner's needs and desires. However, you don't wait to be satisfied before "paying back." What I am saying is that in true love relationships, the major concern is the other's welfare. The follow-up is not anticipation for return on your investment but wanting to invest more for what you've already received.

73. During the course of our first Psy 221 lecture, many things came to mind that I felt should be jotted down here. The first thing that I thought of while we spoke of relative deprivation was my boss. She started out as a teacher, then as an assistant director, then as a director and now she is an area director. However, I recall not wanting to be near her when the time came for the announcement of the new district manager. It always seems to me that my boss is not satisfied with her position in the company -- that she is always trying to do everyone else's job just to prove how great she is. She also feels that by being able to do so many others' jobs well, she deserves to be at a higher position in the company. I see her hard work and abilities as a very large investment. But I do not believe she feels she is getting back what she puts into her job.

74. While sitting at home today waiting for delivery men, I had much time to be thinking of journal examples. One thing I thought about was the uneasy feeling I had all morning. I realized that the uneasiness was due to the uncertainty as to when my furniture would come. I had no control over the situation. My lack of control was increased because our phone does not get connected until Wednesday and so I could not call them and they could not call me. Not until I had gone downstairs and used the phone in the rental office to find out what time my delivery would come did I feel that I had some control and thus felt more relaxed.

75. I think our attitudes can change with a changing environment or situation. Ever since I can remember I have been a "not-so-good" housekeeper. My attitude toward cleaning was neutral to negative. However, now that my husband and I have moved into our own apartment, I see cleaning as an important part of living in the apartment. I think because the apartment is truly ours, I feel that cleaning it isn't so bad. Any other time, I was living in someone else's house and I guess I didn't really feel the cleaning was my responsibility. Perhaps though, my attitude hasn't really changed. It may just be that because I have been cleaning a lot, I think my attitude has changed but, I may simply want to believe this so my actions are consistent with my thoughts and attitudes. I guess the best thing to do is to let time pass and see if I continue to clean. If so, then perhaps my attitude has actually made a change. I also need to be aware whether or not my behavior may be due to high consensus in my new situation -- now everyone I live with cleans fervently (my husband) whereas before, the people around me did not clean. So, rather than a change in attitude, I may just be reacting to my surroundings. Although, the behavior is highly distinctive, so I may have an attitude change or some other internal explanation for my cleaning behavior. But again, my conclusion is to wait and see if the behavior is consistent before I decide whether or not I have had an attitude change.

76. Another incident that happened at the party was an example of ingroup/outgroup feelings. My husband, another couple and I all went together to the party. None of us (except my husband) knew any of the others at the party other than the host and hostess. So naturally, we ended up hanging around each other. Normally, I may have gone into the living room (where the majority of people were) and started talking with someone. However, on this particular night, I was slightly inebriated and without feeling my usual sense of control, I did not feel able to meet new people. Also, there were normative influences working on me. The group I came with did not go into the living room and since I wanted to be a part of that group I went where they did. I guess I should get back to the ingroup/outgroup feelings. At one point during the night, the four of us ended up sitting on the floor up against the wall behind the kitchen table. At this time, Bill (our friend) turned to us and said, "Doesn't it seem like we're a group all our own." We did. Also, the tone Bill used was slightly negative toward the others. Even though we didn't know them (we hadn't even said hello), there were slightly negative feelings simply because they weren't a part of our group. Perhaps if we had mingled more, we would have felt more closely to the group and avoided those negative feelings.

77. Something funny came to mind while I was looking over the section on physical attractiveness. Specifically, I was looking at the idea that attractive children are given the benefit of the doubt more often than less attractive children. This is so true! I work with two three-year-old boys that can look at me with their respective sets of baby blues and browns and melt me to the ground. It is so difficult to discipline a child that looks so cute when they look at you. In these situations, I consciously have to think about what I'm doing in order to discipline the gorgeous kids the same way I treat the other children.

78. Today, I was stopped at a red light. At one point, I edged my car forward slightly. Immediately after I did this, the man next to me (in his very sporty, turbo, fancy car of some sort) edged forward also. I, at once, thought to myself, "What a jerk, he just doesn't want me to get ahead of him when the light turns green." At this point, I realized that I wasn't taking this man's perspective and that I was making a fundamental attribution error. Perhaps my movement forward made him think the light was green, or perhaps he was just tired of having his foot on the brake like I was.

79. Before I quit my job, I had a very good attitude about the company I worked for. The people, I thought were professional, the programs were excellent, etc. I held these attitudes for many reasons among which -- I was a part of that group. Kinder Care was my ingroup while other child care centers were the outgroup. Even though Kinder Care centers were the only centers I had been in, I had a strong distaste for other companies. However, now, I no longer work for Kinder Care and I am no longer in the ingroup there. I am with the ingroup of a different company and thus have a good attitude about my new ingroup. I have this attitude not only because it is my ingroup but also because now I have new knowledge of them. Also, now that Kinder Care is part of my outgroup my distaste is now for them. My attitudes changed not only because of the ingroup/outgroup situations but also because I wanted my attitudes not to contradict my actions. If I had let that occur, I would feel a loss of control and some cognitive dissonance.

80. Unfortunately, our new apartment is not completely sound-

proof. My husband and I can easily hear the person above us. We have never met the person but we already have preconceived ideas about who she is, what she does, and what her attitudes are. Last night, she came home very late and right away Bruce starts going on about what a tramp she must be for staying out so late. He constantly makes fundamental attribution errors about this person above us. Since we have never met her, we cannot possibly take her actual perspective of things. However, we could give her the benefit of the doubt. Who knows, maybe her car broke down or she was on vacation and her plane came in late. Although we don't know her and we probably shouldn't think things about her without even meeting her, it's fun to make up ideas about who the person upstairs really is.

81. I have established a bedtime routine which we follow every night: bath, juice, books, kiss Daddy, look out window, hug bunny, lie down in crib. He knows the pattern by now and doesn't get upset when I put him in bed. There is a predictability in our actions, and I assume that gives him a feeling of control. I think it's important, though, that he is able to handle some variety so that if something occurs which is out of the ordinary or contrary to our/his routine, he won't fall apart completely.

82. The saleswoman got really excited the other night when Kevin waved bye-bye and smiled at her. She probably thought that Kevin really liked her and that his behavior was highly distinctive. I know that he is consistent in waving and smiling, and this was not reserved especially for her. I doubt that all babies wave and smile at everyone, so that would not be a consensus.

83. Kevin was at a different babysitter's house this week. Three-year old Katherine seemed to be content playing with her toys until her mother picked up Kevin. Suddenly Katherine needed to be held and comforted. I realized that this was a form of reactance: she didn't want her mother until someone else had claimed her. I notice this quite often with Kevin too. He doesn't want an object (medicine, a sharp knife, etc.) until I put it up out of his reach.

84. I consider our son, Kevin, to be a normal 19-month old little boy. He's very active, curious, energetic, loud, etc. Sometimes it's very difficult to keep cool while he's being "normal." My husband lost his cool over the weekend. Kevin was doing something he shouldn't have been doing. I think he was climbing up on the kitchen table. Dan (my husband) yelled at Kevin and pulled him down. Kevin yelled and cried. Dan yelled. Kevin yelled louder. Dan yelled louder. I was in the next room, and it sounded awful! I think Dan felt out of control. He could do nothing to get Kevin to act in an "approved" manner. Dan was uncomfortable with his uncertainty; he was unable to effect outcomes with Kevin; and he needed some predictability with his relationship with Kevin. I thought Dan was behaving in a bad way. I got angry with him. But now when I analyze it, I see that his loss of control produced the strange behavior. (See what you've got to look forward to!)

85. Tomorrow's election affords the perfect opportunity for social loafing, and unfortunately, many people take advantage of it. The group goal is to elect qualified leaders of our choice. People tend to have less accountability and less identifiability. Next year if our leaders are doing a poor job, we can say, "I never voted for that jerk!" or "Yes, I voted for that jerk, but so did a million other people!" This allows us to diffuse our individual responsibility. Or I could tell myself that my one little vote isn't going to make any difference in the election, so why should I bother to vote at all?

86. Go back to Dan's reaction with Kevin. Who is to say that Dan was "behaving in a bad way?" Do other people screech (like Dan did) when their children screech? No -- internal cause -- low consensus. Does Dan screech at Kevin often? No -- external cause -- low consistency. Does Dan screech at all children or only at Kevin? Only at Kevin -- internal cause -- high distinctiveness.

87. I thought the statistics you gave us in class were interesting. These statistics relate to the percent of cooperation between males and females. In each pair in which a female is present, the cooperation rate decreases. My initial thought was that females are not as trusting as males. However, I really don't think that is true based on readings I've done as well as my own personal experience. I think these low cooperation rates for women relate to the differences in upbringing between males and females. Although it has changed quite a bit in the last few years, my generation experienced boys playing team sports throughout school; girls were rarely involved in team sports. If they were, little attention was given to these games compared to boys' games. As a result, women tend not to have experienced working (or playing) as a team member to accomplish a group goal. There have been many studies along these lines which relate to the business world. Possibly women managers tend to delegate less; they prefer to do the work themselves. They may tend to trust people less in work situations so they can get the job done "right." I think this relates to not having developed trust in group goal situations. However, I think that women tend to be more trusting in social situations, with friends and family. This is all supposition on my part, but I wanted to explore this on paper because the statistics really intrigued me.

On the other hand, the last page attributes external causes to females' behavior. There could be internal causes as well, but I just don't want to face up to them.

88. Several years ago I was very uncomfortable working for my boss. He was old enough to be my father; he was well-mannered and polite and generally a very nice man. However, when he would stand and speak to me, he would move so that his nose was almost touching mine. At first I thought he was hard of hearing and needed to stand close so he could understand me. But I quickly found that wasn't the case. I worked for him for two years thinking he was just weird in that regard. After reading our textbook, it finely hit me (11 years later) that he had picked up customs and habits from South America, which is where he had lived just prior to my working with him. Now I understand that he wasn't just a dirty old man but had been following the socially acceptable behavior standards from his former home.

89. Relating to my husband's broken leg experience (again!), I offered some help to a woman last week at school. She was on two crutches and looked wistfully at the coffee pots before class started. I offered her my seat so she could put her bad leg on the table and got her some coffee. After living with this situation for so long, I know it's impossible to carry a cup of coffee while on crutches. This is a perfect example relating to my notes on "conditions affecting whether or not to help -- #6 empathy -- more likely to help similar others because easier to empathize/easier to relate to them." (I know punctuation is incorrect, but here I am quoting my incorrectly punctuated class notes!) This was the only condition which warranted me to help: there were many other people around; I was anonymous to her; I didn't feel guilty about anything; and I didn't even think about her response.

90. I saw the movie "Witness" last night in which Harrison Ford plays a Philadelphia cop who lives among the Amish for a short period. A strong outgroup bias was evident among the Amish. Some of them didn't accept him because he was an "Englishman." Most likely, they had encountered some other non-Amish people who behaved in a manner that wasn't acceptable to them, and they had these same feelings toward Harrison Ford initially. They had these same feelings about the woman who brought Harrison Ford to live in their community, and there was a lot of gossip about, and hostility toward, the two of them. After the community got to know Harrison Ford as a man rather than an "Englishman," they accepted him.

One day Ford went to town with a group of Amish people. He was dressed like the rest of them. The people in town were accustomed to their pacifist ways, so they were quite surprised when Ford got into a fight with some bullies and won. The Amish excused him as being a cousin from Ohio. From then on, I'm sure the Ohio Amish had a bad name in Pennsylvania. This vividness effect would be used to make judgments about the Ohio Amish.

Ford was hiding out from the Philadelphia police and didn't want his picture taken. So when a tourist woman insisted on taking his picture, Ford replied, "You take my picture and I'll rip out your brassiere and strangle you with it!" Obviously, the woman didn't take his picture. This unusual behavior (vividness effect) would probably cause the woman to have negative feelings about all Amish people. Ford was not really an Amish,but the woman's perception of reality was that he was. For her, Amish people are probably stereotyped as nasty.