Instructor: Kathryn Anderson, Ph.D.
Theoretical Application Paper
April 12, 2012
Social Psychology studies many things about human experiences that emerge from the fact that WE ARE NOT ALONE. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are shaped by the social reality around us, or our perception of it, with or without our knowledge. Many of the most puzzling questions in our lives are deeply rooted in social psychology. How do we fall in (and out of) love? Are women different species from men? Why do normal people turn into cruel, heartless monsters during war? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we are the only one different from others? Do we really know ourselves? And, what is happiness? Social Psychology has countless implications in the real world; however, captivating my attention are soldiers and their mental physiological state of mind after combat. The various amazing ways these men and woman are influenced by one another and the situations they are in, is mind boggling. Social perception on your-“SELF” will be broadened in a Social Context manner and the aftermath of a soldier will be better understood thanks to Methodology.
Not long ago I had a chance to speak with a Marine recruiter who was at a strip mall near a high school mostly attended by kids from low-income families. I asked the recruiter what he told these kids. He responded that he told them that they would have a chance to travel and see the world, that they would get paid for their education and that they would make life-long friends. I then asked the recruiter if he ever told these young people that there was a good chance that they would either be killed, wounded or return with PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder).
His reply was “No”, he never mentioned that. We never view the reality of war, only the stadium flyers, football field size flags, and Memorial Day parades. We pour trillions into wars, yet have no idea of the pain we are inflicting. I find myself in thought of why we are to be at war, why did my country require this price to be extracted from what is already a short existence on this earth. As I reflect on the marine and the audience he was targeting that mostly came from a single parent household if any, had voids that long to be fulfilled, the fact that people are prone to social influence, what picture does that paint about the target audience the recruiter chose. Researchers argue that the need to belong has become innate and is present in social influence. Sometimes I wonder if this is why these men and women sign up for such form of group. “For social psychologist, a fascinating question is how the decision to invade Iraq was made—indeed, how important decisions of any kind are made. Do groups of experts make better decisions, for example than individuals? I refuse to be sold abstract terms like democracy and freedom, believing that all wars are about the dollar, and more determined to know who profits from our pain
But how much of the war impacts the behavior of individual soldiers and their families back home as their sons and daughters depart to serve their country; leaving their comfort zone, return home from war with body bags and coffins of respected men and women they saw get murdered. Reality is-- your soldier has molded into a social norm of his surroundings and playing a role that’s expected. The son you raised with generation to generation passed down values to love your enemy like Jesus loves us-- now processes information in schemas (A metal structure people use to organize their knowledge about the social world). For example the soldiers’ schema is to turn off their emotions so they can kill other human called the enemy Martinez 2
which intertwines with the adoption of automatic thinking mentioned before. When they return, society expects them to turn their emotions back on so they can love all around them. Human beings cannot be so easily manipulated. A year...
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