While we are all individuals with separate goals and separate beliefs, we all want to be in groups where we feel like we belong. These groups guide us in our journey in this life and sustain us as human beings. Each person brings something different or unique to every group that they belong to. In the same way we impact the group, it impacts us our lives. This means that a lot can change about a person who joins a group. It is human nature to want to belong and joining groups fulfils this need. It also grows us in the way that we relate to others and our social character. Groups also allow us to have the ability to achieve our individual goals, when we would otherwise have failed had we been by ourselves. Our motive to join groups and belongs influences how we carry ourselves; we refine our character and learn to work with others so that they can be more accepting of us. Our need to join and fit into groups also drives our willingness to cooperate with others. This means that we are more willing to listen to other opinions. In corporate situations, this is important for the creation of strategies that lead to success. Being in groups allows us to think as a group when we have to and maintain strategic distance when it is necessary. These skills prevent polarization of the group as well as groupthink (Forsyth, 2014).
The negative side of our motive to belong in groups is that sometimes we focus on our identity as a members of the group that we forget our own identity. This sought of behavior can lead to negative consequences often associated with cults. We forget to think for ourselves and are easily swayed by others.
The Fundamental attribution error describes how human beings looking at situations or other people, tend to underestimate the impact of situational factors on the behaviors of others. At the same time, human beings tend to focus on other dispositional factors, blaming them for unwanted behavior in others. For example, people will believe that if a person is violent, that it is a personal characteristic but will not look at the circumstances that led them to react in a violent manner. Becoming more aware of this error opens our minds to the possibility that we may be misjudging others and their behavior. It allows us to take time to look at certain situations before coming to a conclusion on whether certain behavior stems from situations or character. Understanding the term also allows us to be more open to listen to explanations of behavior and prevents us from judging people too harshly.
The defense attribution is an explanation of behavior and the human tendency to defend their beliefs and those of others and the general world population. Here The problem with defensive attribution is that it is the cause of unwarranted faith in relief when there are no sign that such a relief will come. People sustain their beliefs and are of the mind that the world is a just place. For this reason, using defensive attributions, they cling to their beliefs even in the face of evidence that discredit their statements. For instance, the doomsday clan had predicted that the world was going to end on a certain date. When that day came and their predictions failed to pass, they defended their beliefs stating that their prayers had saved the world. This belief allows them to have a sense of control since they believe that the world is just and their suffering is not as a result of manipulation from any specific groups of people. Defensive attribution is dangerous because it prevents people from seeing the reality of their situation which leads to stagnation. People fail to see evidence that disagrees with the just-theory and are thus constantly stuck in situations that they would otherwise work to move away from. The best way to correct these situations is to realize that we must look at evidence objectively and make decisions. The decision-making process allows us to feel like we are still in control and that
The way we see and judge people is based on a number of factors. The first is attitude. Attitude is psychological and often out of our control. It is how we express ourselves when we evaluate other people. It can be negative or positive or even neutral. It often clouds our perception of these people in the future. Once we form our idea of how we see them, it is often very difficult to change this idea. Other factors are based on stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. These are based on the notion that others who are different from us are of a lesser class and do not deserve as much respect or opportunity like they would if they were. Certain stereotypes also influence our beliefs. For instance, we may believe that all Mexicans are uneducated or drug dealers. This will influence the way we perceive them and even our behavior towards them. Many of the forms of discrimination that may influence our perceptions of people include racism, sexism or economic class. Although they are a product of the normal categorization process, we should not let them affect our perception of others so much that we are unable to work with them. These factors also influence the people we find attractive. We have heard of people that insist their choice for marriage will belong to a certain race. Culture influences our stereotypes as well. Certain notions are learnt based on the culture we live in. for instance, if a child is brought up in a racist culture, then they are more likely to grow up with the same perceptions of different races.
For me, I find happiness and draw my positive attitude in the way people who are from different cultures treat one another. It is always refreshing to read stories of good Samaritans helping strangers when they do not have to. Certain communities on social media are helpful as well. For instance, it is a great thing to see people from all across the world dropping their differences to discuss a show or an artist that they all love. This allows me to maintain my hope in humanity even with all the different problems I face.
Forsyth, D. R. (2014). The Psychology of Groups. Champaign: DEF publishers. doi:nobaproject.com
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