Journal Entries 91-114

91. Anger - oh yah! My friends know about this pretty good. I wouldn't think that the people I hang around with are aggressive. But they definitely show a great deal of displacement of frustration - especially on their cars! Whenever my friends get mad - for example - they got in a fight with their girlfriend -

they tend to take out their anger on their cars. Luckily most of them work on cars! Me, I guess when I get mad, I get really quiet. I won't talk to anyone! But when I get super mad - the wall and my fist become enemies!

92. It has been proven that under certain situations we are more likely to loaf. Boy, it sure is easy to loaf when you're at work. One way I noticed that my manager has tried to reduce loafing at work is by goal setting. Since I work in retail - the more we sell, the more we make! Commission is very important to all of us at work -- and it seems most of us always try to sell as good as we can -- so our reward is very nice at the end of the month. Not only does this goal setting make a profit for the employees who show the effort -- but it is also profitable for the company. I think accountability and identifiability is very important. I want to be noticed at work when I sell a three thousand dollar ring -- and when I stay after hours to help clean up -- and I want the people who choose to "loaf" to be noticed too -- and believe me -- they are!

93. We had a golf meet yesterday. I played terribly. It was my worst round in like three or four years. Naturally, I was a CLASSIC case study of self-serving bias. I came up with every excuse in the book to explain why I played so poorly. It was raining; it was the first time I ever played that course; I had a couple of bad holes; the list goes on and on. I attributed my failure on a hundred external factors, but none on me. I couldn't understand why I played so poorly, so there must have been some causes. I never play that bad, so I tried to find reasons. Well, there's always tomorrow ...

94. I experienced the illusion of causation the other day. For Easter, my aunt brought my new baby cousin over for dinner. During the afternoon, the baby started crying. The baby was just put down for a moment, after being held by her mom, when she started to cry. Naturally, I assumed that the baby's crying was caused by being put down for a second. Because she started crying right after she was put down, I thought that was the cause. The two events occurred very close together. Actually, we don't know that putting the baby down made her cry. There could have been several other possible explanations but since they occurred almost simultaneously, I developed a causal relationship to explain the baby's behavior.

95. I've encountered the consistency theory hundreds of times. Most recently, I thought my friends were acting stupid, but when I was included, I thought our behavior was fun. One of my friends just bought a computer. He would tell me how fun his computer video games were, I thought playing video games was a waste of time. Then, he invited me over to play these video games and they were really fun. My attitude completely changed towards computer video games. The inconsistency in my beliefs and behaviors conflicted; consequently, my beliefs changed to match my behavior.

96. I was watching a TV show the other night and there was a conflict between two people. They used role playing to solve their problem. They each played the part of the other person. By doing this, they realized how they were treating the other person. I think role playing can definitely change attitudes and behavior. In this case, each person realized that their behavior was inappropriate toward the other. Furthermore, their attitudes about their inappropriate behavior changed and also how they looked at the other person; just by playing their role. In role playing, you gain the entire perspective of an interaction in a relationship.

97. Informational influence can be a key part of playing golf. For example, when I play with three other players, we re all pretty equal. The other day, we had an away tournament at a golf course that I never played before. We walked up to a long par-3. I looked at the yardage and pulled out a four iron. When I looked up, the three other players all had three-woods in their hands. Immediately, I began to doubt my judgment. I thought that since all three players had the same club, they must be right. I figured that they knew something that I didn't. I was scrambling trying to figure out what they knew that I didn't. Because that was my first time playing that hole, I hit what the others did. Since it was three against one, I agreed with their choice because I thought I was wrong.

98. Authority has a strong influence over our actions. Not so much authority, but a person who controls rewards and punishments. Every morning I listen to Jonathan Brandmeier on WLUP-FM. He is really funny and has A LOT of fans. These fans get really crazy sometimes. Whenever he gives away something like a jacket or pajamas, people will call up and literally beg to do something to win these prizes. The listeners consider these prizes to be sacred. I have heard people describe the actions of these fans who are crazed perform their feats, over the radio. People have streaked across an intersection, climbed a billboard in underwear, parked their car and blocked traffic --all for "Johnny B pajamas!" Because he is so popular, and people want his prizes so bad, he has incredible control over his audience. He controls the rewards that his fans want, and will do anything for.

99. This past summer, I worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation. I bring this up because today's lecture was on social loafing. When you discuss social loafing, you talk about I.D.O.T. workers! In my yard on I-55 in Bolingbrook, there were four groups -- a blacktop crew, grass mowing crew, and two general maintenance crews. The most loafing happened in the two general maintenance crews because they were relying on each other, their tasks weren't very identifiable, and the tasks usually weren't very interesting. Conversely, the blacktop and grass mowing crews had less loafing because the members were identifiable, you knew what crew did work, as opposed to the two maintenance crews. Also, goals were set before the work started. The mowers had to cut a pre-determined amount of miles and the blacktop crews had to fix a particular section of road. I can hardly wait until this summer to see if their working habits have changed. I wonder ........ NAH! No way!

100. Goal setting can improve performance, I use it for myself and it helps me a lot. I try to set goals when I'm doing home-

work. I set goals for what I want to get done each day, rather than say, over one week. I like to space out assignments so I do a little bit at a time rather than doing it all in one night. In one of my other classes, I have to read a play for tomorrow (Tues.). Rather than trying to read one hundred pages tomorrow night, I made myself read one act each day. I was able to finish the play easily. By setting daily goals, I was able to meet each goal and avoid loafing and not doing it. Setting goals helps me avoid loafing and helps me finish what I set out to do.

101. North Central College uses the "attractive" idea to persuade people to attend the college. While going to class on a couple of days, I remember seeing a photographer on campus taking pictures of two or three attractive young students. I instantly thought of the course catalogue. The young people on the cover will help emphasize the stereotype of the student's physical appearance: happy, intelligent, kind, sociable and successful.

102. I have to admit that I form biases and irrational errors in my judgments from time to time. One good example of this is an individual's name at my job. His name is Jan. Naturally, this is like "A Boy Named Sue." One may think of all kinds of connotations when being told, "One of your bosses is named Jan" before meeting him. In addition, when I see someone who appears sloppy, I automatically associate their appearance with a poor attitude, low self-esteem and laziness. Many times I talk to people on the phone and form a picture in my mind of what I believe this person to look like. In many instances I come to find out that their appearance is close or nearly opposite of the expectations I had made. A strong, harsh voice of a male on the telephone does not necessarily represent a big, strong and mean male individual.

103. One final point involves names. My dad's name is Robert R. Malone. Yes, the infamous Robert, Bob and Bobbie syndrome. It's funny how many bells went off in my head when we discussed this irrational bias. Most of our family and friends along with his immediate business associates refer to him as Bob. A rather familiar type of association for most people. Most of his mail along with people unrelated or new acquaintances refer to him as Robert. A more formal, respected approach. Oh, and my Mom refers to him as Robert from time to time when she gets angry. Lastly, my aunt refers to my dad as Bobbie. As you might of guessed she is much older than him and he is still considered the baby in his family. I get a kick out of that one. I did notice a pattern, however. Many times, those people who initially call my dad Robert eventually call him Bob. This usually happens when the relationship starts to blossom and the initial introverted atmosphere changes to an extroverted atmosphere.

104. This past week on my way to driving to North Central I was listening to the news on the radio. A most unusual and contro-

versial story was broadcasted along with a special interview feature part to this particular story. The story involved a high school girl refused to join the cheerleading squad because her breasts were too large. The individual in charge of picking the cheerleaders informed the girl that she should consider breast reduction surgery because of the future complications she would have due to having "large" breasts. Anyway, the story was brought into the news by the lawyer of the girl and her parents. The lawyer (a woman) was very insistent on getting some type of settlement to justify the harm brought to this girl and girls in general. The lawyer insisted that this was a discrimination case and that this girl and no other girls should be subjected to be judged by the size of their breasts. In addition, the lawyer mentioned the emotional aspects of such a decision in the sensitive type area to a girl of this age (Girls at this age are very self-conscious, etc.). The lawyer stated that the individual who told the girl to have surgery was not a doctor. The lawyer wanted a settlement in the way of an apology, a change in school policy and, the kicker, a million dollars. This story to me was a good issue to use in a persuasion situation. I personally thought that it was ridiculous at first, sided with the lawyer, girl and parents originally, then sided against them firmly in the end. Why such a change? Well, first I never really had a firm stand on such an issue. I never really thought of the issue of breast size in school cheerleading. Second, the story was presented in a way that brought out all sides of the story. The lawyer presented her side and the broadcaster questioned, analyzed and then formed his opinion. The broadcaster was very effective. He used a two-sided type argument when he stated how he could understand the feelings of the lawyer and he used to think some of the things the lawyer said were true. For example, the lawyer stated that the individual telling the girl to have breast reduction surgery was not a doctor and should not have made such a statement. The broadcaster said he can understand that the individual was not a doctor and agreed. He did say, however, that it is generally known through articles and information presented that everyone has heard that large breasts in women "can" (notice, he did not use do) cause complications for women physically. Both the lawyer and broadcaster presented a rational approach to their views (good reasons and explanations). The broadcaster, however, was very simple and direct. The lawyer, however, used an emotional approach. Here, the broadcaster was more effective. He used attitude activation beautifully. He brought the most important aspects which forced me, and others I'm sure, to think and get charged and activated. He mentioned the greater amount of harm the lawyer was subjecting to the girl with all this publicity and by filing a lawsuit. He questioned the million dollar amount and stated how he thought this was steep. The lawyer then focused on the remaining aspects of the settlement (the apology and change in policy was more important). The lawyer was effective in her repetition in that she continually mentioned the emotional aspects the girl was subjected to. In addition, the lawyer was credible or at least seemed so. The lawyer was a woman so could relate to other women (breasts), she was a lawyer with many successful cases, and she was a teacher herself for six years. She made her credibility known as she mentioned all of the above and more than once. This story was an excellent example to use to show how so many effective techniques and strategies can be used to persuade people. They fit in well with our discussion in this area of class last week.

105. Cooperation and competition are very important in a job related atmosphere. Cooperation is something a small group within the office I work in is in need of. This group has five girls in it which are all competitive. The team effort belief in this part of our company is diminishing. The problem seems to be that the girls are afraid to cooperate because they won't get the credit or be recognized individually for their effort or ideas. Some social loafing is taking place. They are so eager to do well and improve that they tend to do their jobs ignoring all factors around their areas except their own. They are afraid to communicate or trust because someone might steal their idea or rework it. In addition, the males in our office tend to cooperate more than the females. I believe that females feel they must be more competitive to be noticed in our office. However, this competitiveness, lack of trust and communication is hurting their cooperation levels. Many times the girls refuse to talk and just clam up with one another. This creates gates or blocks in good working habits and therefore poor performance. In addition, this attitude expands and turns into threats like "Well, I'm just not going to do it" or "It's not my job." Unfortunately, these threats reduce the chance of cooperation. However, I believe the girls are basically competitive and there is no hatred as an outsider might think just by hearing or observing this situation. In addition, I believe this problem is going to be tackled soon. A meeting is going to take place on Tuesday of next week for these five girls. Finally, this mess was brought to a manager's attention (his eyes are usually closed to problems until they're overwhelming -- yet, another problem area). He realized that there are some problems and that most of all the competition within this group has brought about hostility. He is going to bring them together (the meeting) which is one good starting approach to get these girls back on track. I'm sure he is going to then force them to cooperate or else. I'm sure it will work.

106. Besides frustration, there are three other unpleasant conditions which lead to aggressive behavior. The first unpleasant condition is pain. I remember one particular time I had a piece of fiber between my contact lens and my eye. Talk about pain! This happened while I was driving. Needless to say, I became very angry and cussed like a sailor. Finally, I decided to pull off the road and take my lens out. What a relief! I drove with one eye closed all the way home as I had no contact solution with me. Attack is yet another form of unpleasant condition. In my case, a verbal attack. Any type of negative verbal abuse towards me usually ignites very hostile emotions. Again, I get angry or sarcastic or just clam up. Loss of control is yet another unpleasant condition which increases arousal and then aggressive behavior. For me, getting up in the morning and looking at the alarm only to find out I should now be at work is downright frightening. Being in a hurry and out of control makes me angry and I tend to be abrupt and crabby.

107. When we talked about altruism and helpfulness in class two past experiences crossed my mind. The first experience was on my sister's birthday, December 22nd. Our family had a dinner planned for this occasion. We were all to meet at a restaurant at a particular time. The weather on her birthday was terrible. It was very cold and icy. Also, there was quite a bit of snow still on the ground from the previous week. Well, I got stuck in my parking spot at my apartment. And, no one helped. I saw several people look out their patio windows at me, but no one helped. My tires were spinning and I know people must of heard my car. I was absolutely frozen. Well, finally I managed to dig around my tires and rock myself out of the rut. I was late for the dinner and had a chill all night. I was very mad that people saw me and did not help. I just couldn't believe they would watch a girl struggle whom they had seen in the apartment hallways and laundry room. However, after talking about the reasons some people help and some don't in class, I understand a little bit more. I believe the reason most people didn't help was just the ambiguity of the situation and lack of empathy. These people were just unsure about whether I really needed help or the consequence if they did help. And, it was so cold perhaps it just was not worth the effort. In addition, there was obviously diffusion of responsibility as there were many observers, yet not one helped. Perhaps, the observers thought someone would eventually help me and each passed the buck to the other.

The second experience was when I was on my way home which at this time was to my parents' house. I saw a jogger on the side of the road which looked injured as he was lying down and holding his leg. It was dark out and I wanted to stop, but thought maybe I should get my dad to come with me. So, I drove quickly home and dashed into the house to tell my dad. My dad was very eager to help just as I was because he was a jogger. You see, both of my parents and myself are joggers (similarity was the key here). Anyhow, my dad went with me to go see if we could help this injured jogger. Well, he wobbled himself to a parking lot down the street when my dad and I found him. He was not a jogger, but a drunk with long hair and earrings and a beautiful orange jacket. I was so glad my dad was with me! My dad and I brought the man home and I apologized to my dad for mistaking him for a jogger. He was very understanding. I believe both my dad and I could relate to what I perceived as an injured jogger. My dad has limped home himself several times. We definitely had empathy for this supposed jogger. I believe our moods were good too. I know my dad and myself well enough to know that if either one of us were in a bad mood, we would not have bothered.

108. My first experience with writing options in the securities market was a great success. Not only was it profitable, but I managed to sell and buy at the precise high and low points thereby confirming my belief that I was exceptionally good at this. I was soon projecting how my profits would grow over the next few years.

The results that followed were not as impressive. A mix of smaller wins and losses did not change my beliefs. There were always explanations that could take me off the hook and place the blame on some external circumstances that which were temporary and unusual. Essentially the small losses were written off as flukes, and the small wins were seen as a direct result of my skill; they would have been even larger had so many things not turned against me. The self serving bias (wanting to see myself as a skilled trader) and the illusion of control (believing all the wins were a result of my good judgement) were at work here. It was not until a substantial one time loss occurred that I began to objectively evaluate my performance. The dissonance between my beliefs and what was occurring became too great to rationalize away.

109. The idea of influence being stronger when the motivation for it is obscured can be seen in William Shakespear's play, "Othello".

In "Othello" a central character named "Iago" (yago) begins to plant in the mind of Othello, who is his general, the idea that Othello's wife is cheating on him with Othello's lieutenant.

Iago accomplishes this masterfully by arranging to have Othello stumble on evidence of his wife's cheating. At the same time Iago halfheartedly downplays the evidence, yet subtly acknowledges to Othello his own suspicions. He makes Othello coax these suspicions out of him thereby making his motive appear as protection of Othello's Wife and her lover, when in fact it really is to destroy the marriage and everyone involved.

110. Women will sometimes be persuaded to let a date come up to their apartment at the end of an evening, "just for one drink". Though reluctant the woman feels obligated if she allowed the man to pay her way--the reciprocity norm takes hold of her. If the woman seems to be easy prey he may tell her how tired he has suddenly become and ask if he could just lie on the sofa for "a few minutes"--since the weather is bad and he has a long drive it may not be safe to get behind the wheel just yet. If he has made it this far, asking to spend the night, which would have first seemed out of the question, is now likely to be met with "sure I guess that would be alright."

111. A good example of behavior affecting attitudes or self-perception theory is as follows. I watched Fall From Grace the other night. It was the story about Jim and Tammy Bakker and the crime he/she committed. It was interesting to hear the actor who played Jim Bakker talk about how unjust our society is to give Jim Bakker forty-five years in prison and Oliver North seminars at schools. It seems he became sympathetic towards Mr. Bakker after playing him. I'm assuming this affected his attitude although I obviously don't know how he felt about it before he took the role. Its just that most people don't feel sympathetic towards Jim Bakker. (False consensus?)

112. I could really identify with our discussion of GROUPTHINK. I was just in a meeting last night where I believe groupthink occurred. The meeting was running late (past 5 p.m.) We were discussing a standard format for recording information on customers in our database. A small portion of our group had written down some standards for our review with very obvious input and approval from our manager. The tone of his voice, the smile on his face, his speech about the importance of standards and his praise for the members who had taken the initiative to put some standards down on paper. It was as if only an idiot would have not liked anything about the member's suggestions for standards. I thought I was the only "idiot." I was afraid that my manager would misinterpret my descending opinion on the selection of standards for a total rejection of standards. He definitely was the mindguard.

My manager was not the only source of direct pressure to conform. The clock was ticking away and we were all late for something -- at least dinner. The looks I would have gotten from those hungry people....

I had the illusion of unanimity. No one else was giving any negative feedback. But then I noticed the expressions on a couple faces. I wasn't the only idiot! "Bravely" I broke through the normative influences to conform and gave my input. And others followed. The informational influence to conform, which was the actual time constraints, were valid, though, and we simply postponed our discussion on the selection of standards til the next meeting.

113. I attended cosmetology school after high school. The "in" thing to do while I was in school ws to dye a small piece of hair onthe front of your head some strange color. Being eighteen and in cosmetology school, this sounded like a great idea. I proceeded to dye a small portion of my bangs red. In addition to school, I worked part-time as a waitress. My boss didn't mind my little red streak, and nobody ever really notice it. Nobody except an elderly couple that I was serving one evening. "What's that red piece of hair for? Are you a punk rocker?" the man asked. I laughed and politely explained that I was in cosmetology school and that I had done it just for fun. "Well, I just hate those punk rockers. They are all on drugs! You're not on drugs are you? Is that what that red piece of hair means?" his wife asked. Once again I explained the piece of hair, and I informed her that no, I was not on drugs. I then proceeded to take their order and read off all of the salad dressings. "We have ranch, thousand island, blue cheese, poppy seed,..."

"What?! Pot seed! You serve pot seed dressing?! You know, those seeds come from marijuana. Marijuana is a drug! Those punk rockers smoke marijuana and dye their hair different colors. Do you smoke marijuana?" Well, I was finally able to convince her that we didn't serve pot seed dressing, and that I was not on drugs. After they left the restaurant, I decided that the first thing I was going to do when I got to school that next day was to take the red out of my hair and keep it all one color!

114. After discussing comparison and relative deprivation in class today, a Madonna song from the Dick Tracy soundtrack kept echoing through my head. It's about how we're never satisfied with what we've got and how we always want more - in fact, I think the song is titled, simply, "More". If I find enough songs which describe and exemplify certain aspects of social psychology, maybe I'll make a tape and hand it in with this journal. But, in case I don't get around to that, let me give you some excerpts from the song:

"Once upon a time, I had plenty of nothing, which was fine with me because I had rhythm, music, love, the sun, the stars and the moon above, I had the clear blue sky, and the deep blue sea...That was when the best things in life are free.

Then time went by and now I got plenty of plenty, which is fine with me 'cause I still got love. I still got rhythm, but look at what I got to go with 'em...

Who could ask for anything more I hear you query? Who could ask for anything more, well let me tell you, deary...

Got my diamonds, got my yacht, got a guy I adore. I'm so happy with what I got, I want more"...

"More is better than nothing, true, but nothing's better than more. One is fun, but why not two, and if you like two, you might as well have four, and if you like four, why not a few - why not a slew more?....

"Each possession you possess helps your spirits to soar. That's what's soothing about excess; never settle for something less; somethings better than noting, yes...but nothing's better than more, more, more; except all, all, all. Except, once you have it all you may find that though things are bliss, there's one thing you miss - and that's more...more!"

The poor girl, once happy with the thought that "the best things in life were free", now has diamonds, a yacht, everything she could possibly desire...and she still wants more. Of course,this could simply be greed. But relative deprivation seems to be a main source of greed. If we weren't looking to what other people have, we wouldn't be on this quest for "more". It is through comparison that we realize others might have more than ourselves, so if we didn't compare ourselves to others, we wouldn't know how much we needed to have "more" than them.