Easy A social psychology final paper

Topics: Sociology, Cognitive dissonance, Psychology Pages: 6 (1323 words) Published: May 27, 2014

Easy A
SOPS 101
Professor Wight

The movie I chose was Easy A because there are many psychological concepts this movie that relate to real-life events and it covers many theories we learned about in this class. Easy A was released in 2010 and directed by Will Gluck. It’s about a teenage girl named Olive who accidentally admits to her friend Rhi that she was having sexual relations with boys. She felt pressured into lying since her friend had already engaged in sexual acts with her boyfriend. A rumor then spread and many people in the school then ignored Olive because they thought what she did was an immoral act, but the guys started giving her more attention. I feel that this applies to many people in the world today and it is not just in this movie. Many social psychological concepts come up in this movie like: conformity, looking glass self, self-presentation/impression management, cognitive dissonance, situational constraint, majority influence, self discrepancy, and social comparison theory to name a few. In the beginning of the movie, Olive lies while talking to her best friend, Rhi and accidentally said that she had slept with someone when in fact she was still a virgin. Rhi was not a virgin anymore so Olive felt that she had to lie to conform to the norms of her friend. The Social Comparison Theory says that to interpret whether our performances are successes or failures, we must often compare them with our own goals and expectations or with the performances of others. (DeLamater, 85) This theory helps us have conformity with others just as Olive compared her views to her friend’s views and then ended up lying to receive positive reinforcement from her friend. Olive was using this theory when she looked at one of her peer’s actions and saw her own behavior as in opposition to the norm.  Then because she probably felt inferior to Rhi, she changed her behavior. Had she not gone along and followed what her friend did and changed her behavior and looks she would have been violating this theory. The Asch Conformity Paradigm shows that within limits groups can pressure their members to change their judgments and conform with majority’s position even when the position is obviously incorrect. (DeLamater, 287) This is shown in the movie when at first she is pressured and says she had sex with someone because her friend did and once she got that reputation the guys persuaded her to act like she was being promiscuous and having sexual relations with them. Even though she knew this was wrong she still decided to do it because the majority influence put more pressure on her to go with “having sexual relations” to help some of her friends (who were guys) become more popular. This resulted in cognitive dissonance, which is a theory, that deals with consistency between behaviors and attitudes and it occurs after a decision and when one acts inconsistent with their beliefs. (DeLamater, 153) This is shown when she makes the decision to lie to her friend and say she has had sex and afterwards she has second thoughts and starts to regret it because it went against her values that she held. Another outstanding concept in this movie was self-presentation/tactical impression management. Self- presentation and impression management are petty similar because they are both processes by which individuals attempt to control the impressions that other form of them during interaction. (DeLamater, 89-90). Throughout his movie Olive presents herself to everyone at her school as someone she was not. She was viewed as the new school slut and at first she had cognitive dissonance about this but she then started to embrace it. Olive began to look the part by wearing risqué clothes like corsets and tight revealing shirts. She even sewed an “A” on her clothes as a reference that she was being portrayed as Hester Prynne, the main character from The Scarlett Letter who was deemed to be adulterous and that was...

References: DeLamater, John D., and Daniel J. Meyers. Social Psychology. 7th ed. N.p.: Cengage Learning, May 20, 2010. Print.
Devine, Z., Gluck, W., Emmrich, A., Johnson, M.B. (producers) & Gluck, W. (director). (2010). Easy A [motion picture].  United States: Sony Pictures.
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