NEUROLOGY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGYIntroductionIn the last few decades, neurology has shown promising results in terms of its immense potentialin understanding different behaviors in social psychology. It is also being utilized in addressingpsychological problems and a range of other mental illnesses. Experts believe that social workeducation must integrate neuroscience for professional practice. The recent technologicaladvancements have also significantly affected the research in social and behavioral science.Using extensive research, the studies have shown that the human brain and bio-sociologicalprocesses are closely involved in our behavior. It has provided us a deep insight into etiology,treatment and prevention of mental illness and other psychological conditions (Martin, 2002). It was a positive attempt on the part of Library of Congress and National Institute of MentalHealth that have profoundly disseminated the public awareness in the field of brain researchbenefits. It was the continuous efforts of medical researchers who conducted real-time clinicalresearch on the functioning of human brain. The researchers and scholars in the field of socialwork as well are utilizing this new wave of knowledge and attempting to pull their social workprofession with this new trend of neurological science (Price, Adams, & Coyle, 2000). Thispaper tries to look into different aspects of neuroscience that have positively affected the societyat large. It discusses the various concepts of neurological science that have so far successfullyprovided solutions for certain psychological challenges as well.The following topics underline some of the important social psychological or neurologicalconcepts in today’s scenario:1)Bystander EffectThe bystander effect is a social psychology principle and theory, according to which if in anemergency situation as the number of by standing people keep on increasing, they are less likelyto aid or assist in that situation. It is one of the most profound and well established socialpsychology findings that was established in late 1960s. It was in 1964, when Kitty Genovese wasattacked and murdered in front of her New York apartment. Which is why the psychologists atthat time started to study the behavior of the bystanders to observe whether they react or notreact in emergency situations. So, unfortunately, Kitty’s death let the psychologists to conduct adeep study and establish the important elements and reasons as to why bystander effect occurs ingroups (Garcia, Weaver, Moskowitz, & Darley, 2002). The significant causes of the bystandereffect are as follows:Diffusion of Responsibility: one of the pertinent reasons behind bystander effect is the presenceof social element known as diffusion of social responsibility. According to it, any bystander’ssense of responsibility towards helping a victim decreases when more witnesses are presentbecause each and every one of them feels that other people will respond to the situation byrendering appropriate assistance.
Pluralistic Ignorance: it refers to the state of mind of the bystander with which he/she thinks theother bystanders would be interpreting the incident in a particular manner when the case is not assuch. The bystanders form their opinions regarding the incident by noticing the responses ofother onlookers. Based on others’ reactions, the bystanders express their thought as if there is nobig issue, thereby their helping nature is negatively impacted. Not knowing how to help: in certain situations, even if a bystander wants to provide assistance,he/she may fail to do so because due to the lack of knowledge as to how the help be provided.Consequently, they start waiting for others to come for help. Although the bystander effect is all about a disposition of indifference on the part of commonpeople to the plight of victims of unfortunate situations. However, we can also exert positiveinfluence as bystanders to resolve a conflict. Just as passive bystanders induce a sense thatnothing is wrong in a situation, the active bystander, on the other hand can, actually, allowpeople to concentrate on the problem in order to motivate them to take action (Keltner & Marsh,2006).In another example, the positive active bystanders can provide police officers a leverage toengage as soon as possible so that they didn’t have to confront their colleagues.2)Attribution TheoryAttribution is the process of explaining by indicating a cause and the attribution theory tries toexplain how an average person attempts to create and construct the meanings of an event. Theperson, by utilizing his or her motives, tries to find a cause regarding his or her knowledge of theenvironment. These are the inferences made by the people for understanding their experiences,which influence the way they interact with the others. In 1958, Heider put across his views aspeople being naïve psychologists who never get tired of making sense of the social world. It isbelieved that making attributions bring order and predictability in our lives and it helps us tocope with the situations that had never been seen before by us (Sahar, 2014). They always tendto observe cause and effect relationships all the time. Heider put two important and influentialprinciples:i.Internal attribution: the internal attribution is all about disposition and is thephenomenon of assigning the cause of our behavior to our internal characteristics not tothe outside influences. Whenever we observe the behavior of others then we tend to looktowards internal attributions like personality traits. For an instance, we normally attributea person’s behavior to his personality traits or his belief system.ii.External attribution: the external attribution is all about reading the situation. It is thephenomenon that tries to assign the cause of a particular behavior to a certain situation orevent. That situation is outside the purview of a person’s control rather than any internalattribute. Correspondent Inference Theory: it is a type attribution theory, which explains that peopletend to pay special attention to the intentional behavior rather than paying attention to accidental
or unthinking behavior. Proposed by Jones and Davis in 1965, the theory tend to look towardsinternal attribution. They espouse that we do this whenever we see correspondence betweenmotive and behavior.Attribution Theory is very helpful in understanding and managing conflict to pacify the situation.As a matter of fact, the angry negotiators are less likely to bring positive results. So, conflicts areoften based on attributive dispositions – accuser and accused biases. The conflicts are likely toescalate when the accuser holds the accused much more responsible than the accused himself.So, by applying the principles of attribution theory the conflict can be effective managed andpeace can be restored (Allred, 2005). The parties are needed to be educated about rationalinformation processing.Also, in organizations, attribution theory helps the managers to understand the reasons behindthe behaviors of some employees, which in turn will allow employees to think their ownbehaviors.3)StereotypingThe term stereotyping refers to an oversimplified and somewhat condescending attitude ofpeople towards those who are outside their experiences and hold different views altogether.These attitudes are based on ingesting incomplete or distorted information as facts. In otherwords, it is widely held belief that a person belongs to a certain group with typicalcharacteristics. Due to the reason of this overgeneralization in the arena of social perception,stereotyping results into distorted social relationships. The common factors that are responsiblefor stereotyping are sex, race, age, sexual orientation, religion as well as physical deformity. Ofthese, sex and race are the most significant ones. A gender study conducted in 1992 by Williamand Best, observed that in various countries, males were typically attributed as adventurous,powerful, dominating as well as independent (McGarty, Yzerbyt, & Spears, 2002). While,females were attributed the characteristics of sentimental, submissive and superstitious.According to some other studies, it was found that in certain countries, people tend to think ofJews shrewd and ambitious, while African-Americans are inclined to be possessing musical andathletic abilities. While, the Germans were considered as methodical and efficient.Generally, the secondary sources of information are the cause for stereotyping because we derivemajority of our knowledge from these sources. The primary source of secondary information isthe mass media. Therefore, the dependence on secondary information also determines the contentof our culture. There are three key factors that cause stereotyping:i.Functional stereotyping: when it comes to mass media and we as audiences areconstantly exposed to a lot more information than we process. However, we tend toreduce complexities into simplicities and in this attempt to acquire simplistic version offacts, we often deduce inaccurate results.ii.Stereotyping is the result of selective approach of social perception because we see whatwe want to see.