Introduction to Social Psychology
Mass media, pseudocommunication, listening and comprehending - these are all parts of social psychology and influence how we interact with each other and behavior, whether we realize it or not. We participate in these actions of listening and silently forming responses, or get swayed by advertisements for things we don’t need, and are never really aware of it. In this paper I hope to be able to explain five concepts/ideas brought forth from my readings in Social Psychology and how they have impacted my life in the past and going forth. Some of these ideas I have experienced before, but did not necessarily know that they were part of the field of social psychology and now feel that I am gaining a deeper understanding (to some degree) of how so much of our interaction is socially constructed. On page 15 of Social Psychology the text discusses mass media and the idea of communication as culture and shows how we are all influenced and affected by marketing. I think most people would agree that they know advertising in the media is all around us, but how many of actually realize how often we fall prey to it. The text illustrates that the media wants the people who view their advertisements to become consumers, meaning they target a particular group of people to send their message too, so that those people then become the consumers of the product. The media does this in a way, though, that allows the consumer to think that they had free-will in choosing this particular product. You do not have to just watch television to be surrounded by these advertisements, they are on magazines at the checkout in a super market, all over internet, the radio (even internet radio stations such as Pandora) – basically, they are all over our social world. The media affects everyone, and it starts at an early age targeting children and enforcing the idea that they won’t be “cool” unless they have this new Barbie or remote control car. In elementary school and even into middle school there was a line of school supplies by Lisa Frank, and if you had any of her stuff you were the coolest girl. Of course the pencils didn’t write any better, the notebooks weren’t any different than a plain one, but I just had to have them because on TV the girls that did were the prettiest and had the most friends. I would like to believe that I have gotten better at recognizing the force of media as I have aged, but I think I am just lying to myself. As a woman, I’m aware that in a lot of advertisements by mass media we are shown images of women who are naturally thin and told that that is the norm, we should all strive to be that size 2 super model. Just because I’m aware of it however, does not make it any easy as we are always shown new products that will make us thinner and more beautiful – here, take this diet pill and apply this lip stick and you will look like whoever is hot at that moment. I was recently absentmindedly flipping through a magazine in a doctor’s office when I happened to stop on an ad for new mascara featuring a model with the most gorgeous eye lashes; I mentally took note of the name of the mascara and kept looking through the magazine. Later on that week when I was in the store I wandered into the makeup section and was looking for that mascara that would give me full, gorgeous lashes. It was not until I arrived home with my new purchase that I realized I did not even need new mascara and had fallen prey to the allure of mass media telling me what I need. As humans I believe that can view ourselves very differently, Social Psychology raises the thought on page 60 that we have the ability to see ourselves both as actors/performers as well the observer, in the acting stage we are participating in the real world, but on the flip side we can observe it as well. This would mean that while you are talking to someone you are able to step out of your own body (figuratively) and...
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