“You Have Been Brainwashed”

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Right now, Egypt is going through chaos and disintegration because of the discrimination and prejudices Egyptians are having about each other. Therefore, overbidding, distrust, and aggression is highly increasing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATmLvcEQzKU&feature=youtu.be

This video I will make an attractive promo for the campaign, in which I will send fear-arousing and cognitive messages. This promo will be not only presented to the participants, but also showed in media. I will tempt the participants’ participation also by ensuring social media campaigns through Facebook and Twitter in order to publicize for these training sessions/revisited national dialogue, and give the masses the chance to express their doubts and opinions of the political figures. I would contact network TV stations to publicize also for this huge national dialogue that include a wide range of political leaders of different ideologies. Media has always been a strong temptation for the political leaders.

I would also write to my representative in parliament after a holding a petition that is a strongly recommended request to pass a law that penalizes the overbidding aggressive political discourse with a fine of L.E.1000.

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In trying to change Egyptian’s patriotic discrimination against each other and their overbidding aggressive discourse, I will seek behavior change, which will engage participants in counter attitudinal advocacy.

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My participants will be the parties’ leaders and common political figures. Political leaders have a great social influence on the masses. They can change and guide the masses’ behaviors and attitudes either implicitly or explicitly. They also train and teach people to be the future leaders, so accordingly they pass their attitudes and behaviors to the future leaders, and people simply conform.

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My main approach is through the revisited national dialogues or the training sessions that participants will have. These sessions will offer the participants with the contact they need to overcome their prejudices, maintaining the six necessary considerations to successfully reduce prejudice according to contact theory.

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MULAN Bring honor to us all

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Mulan, is the story of a girl living in China with her parents and grandmother. In this movie, Mulan experiences gender prejudice against her. As a girl, she is expected to be graceful, obedient and silent. Mulan doesn’t fit in with the expectations of a young Chinese girl of the time. She is clumsy, outspoken, and independent. This attribution and generalizing of certain behavior to the entire gender reflects the ultimate attribution error. Also Mulan suffered from self-fulfilling prophecy. The prevalence of this prejudice and the stereotype threat made Mulan abide by the rules and didn’t act as herself, fearing from failing to bring honor to her family.  mulan
Chi Fu is the Chinese Emperor’s counselor. He arrives in Mulan’s village to announce that the Huns have invaded China. In order to restore peace, one man from every family must fight to serve their country. Mulan’s father has poor health at the time and is not fit enough to go to war. Mulan is concerned for her father’s safety, so she disguises as a man to take his place.

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There is gender prejudice in this movie towards men and women. Only men were allowed to fight. Men were stereotyped to be fit and strong to serve their country, generalizing the characteristics. Women were not allowed to fight. Women were not considered to have the right qualities to go to war.



Mulan, the movie, offers a kind of hostile sexism that justifies the discrimination against women and their relegation to traditional roles. Mulan, the character, faced social dissonance when she had to conform to group’s norms and abide by the role that is totally different from her character.


After Mulan actually saved China and the emperor from the Huns, the hostile sexism that she was suffering from decreased. In fact the emperor and the Chinese people in situ all bowed for her, which signifies the switch. However, it is almost impossible to say that the institutional discrimination and the institutionalized sexism operating through the society’s structures suddenly disappeared, but people may have developed a kind of implicit prejudice or implicit sexism. This might have happened because of normative conformity. At first they developed and didn’t challenge this prejudice to fit in and not challenge. But as the norms change, prejudices do. So, when the emperor bowed, they should all do to fit in. This kind of contact or when People witnessed Mulan’s action and behavior, this was the reason why their prejudice decreased to certain extent as the contact hypothesis states, and it was clear in the second episode of Mulan.

 

Why do I help You?!

In this video, many clips are being showed from different places, cultures, religion, and gender. The situations in this video include ordinary people who are threatened in different ways, and in every social situation other ordinary unknown people arise to help the threatened people who need help. However, the question is: Are these people who offered help real altruistic heroes or self-interested in some way and just showing off?

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What causes people to jeopardize their own health and well-being to help other people? What is it that inspires individuals to give their time, energy, and money to aid in the betterment of others, even when they receive nothing tangible in return? Altruism involves the unselfish concern for other people. It involves doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated to out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons. Empathy-altruism hypothesis states that when people feel empathy toward others, especially if they experience the same situation that others experience, their desire to help increases even if it involves a cost to them.

Basic Motives

Basic Motives

Altruism is one aspect of what social psychologists refer to as prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior refers to any action that benefits other people, no matter what the motive or how the giver benefits from the action. Remember, however, that altruism involves true selflessness. While all altruistic acts are prosocial, not all prosocial behaviors are altruistic. For example, we might help others for a variety of reasons such as guilt, obligation, duty or even rewards.

Help Others

In the video, the individual differences were somehow obvious. Not all the people offered help in the same way. Some offered help by getting people or cars from the train’s way; some were satisfied by calling for help; some stood only to watch. One interesting thing in this video was that in all of the situations males were actually the ones who offered help.
Although most of the people who needed help in the video, most probably, were out-group members rather than in-group members, people’s empathy was still high enough to intervene and offer help. However social psychologists claim that because people in need are out-group members, helpers helped these people to feel good about themselves and give good impressions on others.

 

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One interesting example is the last example in the bus in the video when the driver stopped the bus to save a person whose heart stopped or was unable to breathe. The bus was full of people who didn’t assume responsibility to intervene and help because of the large number, producing the bystander effect. Only the bus driver took a fast action until the person was awake again, maybe because of his sense of responsibility for the bus and the people in the bus. However, when the driver took an action, people in the bus were split into two: some stayed to watch, and some even got off the bus. People’s number started to decrease with time because they were getting late for their appointments and commitments.

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Parents can do several things to foster pro-social behaviors. Be a positive role model; if your child sees you acting in a positive way, he is more likely to follow suit. Encourage your child to play with others; playing is one of the best and most common ways children learn to interact with others. Playing encourages helping, sharing and cooperating, three pro-social behaviors that you should attempt to teach your child.

However, I would not see someone as completely bad or completely good because humans are more complicated than a simple word could describe and conclude them.

 

Let the fire Burns Me If You Are All with ME

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Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. This change is in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms / expectations) group pressure.

In this video, Zimbardo offers a proposition, which is less bizarre than his usual propositions and experiments. “If there is a fire, it is quite clear that you have to evacuate the place, but if everyone decided to do nothing, would you still evacuate the place or imitate them and risk your life?” This was Zimbardo’s question behind this experiment.
Participants in this experiment are driven by one of their basic human motives. First I will discuss the need to be accurate. They faced a crisis situation where they looked at others’ behaviors as a source of information and chose them as appropriate actions for themselves, resulting in private acceptance. Although when participants were put in the same situation but without group pressure (the actors), they chose to evacuate as fast as they can. These two situations were repeated many times, and the results were the same every time except with one case. In the presence of actors, one participant chose to take an action and get help, but the group pressure was irresistible. He went back to his seat, and took him twenty more minutes to finally leave. It appears that his private acceptance wasn’t strong enough. Informational Conformity can backfire when we are imitating others’ wrong actions, just like in this experiment. This contagion is defined as mass psychogenic illness.

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At the same time, there is a normative social influence factor in this situation. The other basic human motive, which is the need to feel good about ourselves and be liked, is important to people. Participants changed their behavior, which they would do if they were alone, to remain a member of the group in good standing and gain the advantage of group membership. The group here has more than three members, which increases the likelihood to conform. They chose to conform to the group’s social norms, resulting in public compliance. The exceptional case that decided to get help actually resisted the normative social influence and went against the group. The reason behind this is that the right answer and the accuracy for this participant are more important than being rejected by the group. When most of the participants were asked why they didn’t evacuate the room, they declared their surprise of not evacuating because they know that this was what they should have done. This manifests the gap between conjunctive and descriptive norms.

 

 

 

Facebook’s Cognitive Dissonance (Stop Implicit Sharing)

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Facebook’s user’s privacy is paramount. This privacy includes making sure that browsing Facebook is never shown to other users. One of the most important parts of Facebook is that we can all browse it freely and without consequence. When we decide to take an action such as commenting on a photo, it is then that we make ourselves known. This kind of actions is called explicit actions. The simplest action being, I like this. However, the current Facebook newsfeed is a whole different story. It shows everything one listens to, read, browse, buy, and many activities that one might not want or prefer to be showed up. The problem is that people don’t even realize that these activities are being showed up. One of these that one would never like to be showed, for example, is how many times you have visited a specific person’s profile, especially if this person is the ex-boyfriend or the ex-girlfriend. This kind of actions is called implicit actions.

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This gap between how the person needs to see him/her and the cognitive distortions that occur as a result of these implicit actions causes cognitive dissonance. According to the cognitive dissonance theory, basic human motives and self-esteem approach, people always want to maintain positive self-image, and if any evidence appeared to contradict this image, people might experience dissonance. People try to reduce dissonance by changing their behavior to bring it in line with their cognition about themselves and stop visiting the websites and doing the activities that they wouldn’t like to share. Or, justify their behavior by changing one of their cognitions and rationalizing. Convincing one that this activity’s sharing would not harm one’s positive image is an example. Or, justify the behavior by inventing new cognition and focusing on a positive quality to offset feelings of having acted foolishly, self-affirmation. Cognitive dissonance, in the case of having no reward, stimulates internal justification in general because of the absence of external justification.

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Implicit actions require you to behave differently. Every time you do something that might potentially show up on Facebook, you have to think to yourself, do I want this to appear on Facebook? You also need to think about who will see it. Our network of friends is expanding. One may have visited a specific website, which asked for permissions, and then after months you are surprised to find it posting things on your wall that you wouldn’t allow them to be posted with your controlled thinking because they might cause discomfort. In many times I myself sometimes experience postdecision dissonance after agreeing to a website’s permission because I feel it might threaten my self-image later (because of implicit sharing). Then I start justifying, thereby increasing the likelihood of agreeing to the permissions again.

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References:

chasen, b. (2013). Facebook’s Cognitive Dissonance with Sharing. chilly.

 

I Am Not the Third Party

Egyptians in the Tahrir square during the 25th revolution

Egyptians in the Tahrir square during the 25th revolution

I chose to talk about the political situation in Egypt, and in particular the phenomenon that recently arose in the Egyptian society after the revolution of 25th of January: suspecting each other. Most of the Egyptians right after the revolution started to feel that he/she is more loyal to Egypt and loves Egypt more than the others, which created a sense of congestion because Egyptians by nature don’t like to feel that there is someone who is overbidding them. Also, after the 25th of January, a lot of conspiracy theories against Egypt were provoked. People started to see weird faces for figures whom they used to admire earlier and never thought of doubting their patriotism. These figures later faced a lot of defamation campaigns against them, claiming that they are part of the fifth column who is serving external interests. Egyptians started to feel as if they don’t know whom they should believe anymore and lost trust in most of the society’s figures and even in each other.
Social psychology is a very good medium to use to study this phenomenon and find possible solutions for it because it is the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people. It studies how and why social environment shapes the thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors of the individual. It offers us the Covariation model, in which we study what causes social behavior by highlighting the two attributions: internal and external. Of course social psychology also offers us how culture differences affect social perception. There is a genetic component that is involved in shaping our attitudes, yet social experiences clearly play the major role. Therefore social psychology could help us understand how Egyptians adopted these phenomena and attitudes, and what developed them.
The attitudes that I am going to address are:
• personal belief that one is more patriotic than other Egyptians
• Suspicion of the rest of population and their positions
• people are only with the strong party
• Egypt is going downward
• Objection and protesting are good ways to spot the light on oneself

These attitudes resulted in these behaviors:
• stop listening to other people
• regarding oneself as superior to others
• overbidding others
• distrust people
• not cooperating with others
• not working hard
• protesting and objecting without strong purpose

 Middle class is common link between upper and lower classes

Middle class is the common link between upper and lower classes

I think for attitude change, we should target the middle class or the Bourgeoisie because this class is the common ground in the society, whom you can reach easily and communicate with them easily since their qualifications are much suitable: their education, social standard, living standard, social experiences, involvement in society, and role in revolution. One of the reasons why the revolution was provoked is to protect the bourgeoisie class and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. Also, all of the developed countries have a really strong bourgeois class; it is a feature of progress and development. So in order to step forward, we have to work on and enhance our bourgeoisie class. But the bourgeoisie class is very broad and includes different occupations making it very hard to analyze or focus on the whole class. Therefore I chose the intellectuals; this group plays a great role in society and in social perception. People’s schema and heuristics are partly formed by what they are being offered from the intellectuals and media.
In this case I think we should start by the attitudes first because we are trying to fix a problem that Egypt faces and is deepened in its roots. We need a long term solution because we are changing the thoughts and attitudes, which usually take much time than behaviors. If we succeeded in changing the attitude, the behavior itself would be changed too. And I would start by the problem of trust and suspicion of the rest of population and their positions. If this problem was solved and we made Egyptians trust each other as community, this would facilitate the mission to fix the other attitudes.
The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 was a diverse movement of demonstrations, marches, plaza occupations, riots, non-violent civil resistance, acts of civil disobedience and labor strikes which took place following a popular uprising that began on 25 January 2011. Millions of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. It was provoked by police brutality, state of emergency laws, electoral fraud, political censorship, widespread corruption, high unemployment, food price inflation, low minimum wages, demographic structural factors, and inspiration from concurrent regional protests. Therefore the self-perception theory played an important role in the causes of revolution when Egyptians were observing their own behaviors and the situation, in which they occur. Social comparison theory also affected the Egyptians when they shaped their self-concepts by people around them, and learned their abilities and attitudes by comparing themselves to other people, especially in Tunisia. Therefore, Egyptians were victimized and fed up by these causes. They collaborated with each other and stood in front of the regime. This was shown, for example, when the ordinary Egyptian people acted in defiance of the Egyptian antiquities, arrested the looters, and handed them to the police. Egyptians by the effect of culture have an interdependent view of the self. However, this collaboration and union were broken by personal interests.
The Muslim Brotherhood dominated the leadership of this young democracy of the Arab Spring. Muslim Brotherhood has broken many promises about the role it would play in representative government. Its flip-flops and power grabs in forming a new regime have only added to a worry among democracy advocates that Mr. Morsi would define his authority from Islam, or sharia law, rather than from constitutional rights and secular pluralism. Many Egyptian figures (liberal) used ingratiation to maintain their political survival. They used flattery and praise to make themselves likeable to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Even if they have contradicting ideologies, they would abandon it to get closer to the MB. This resulted in a whopping deficit of public trust. MB were using self-handicapping, and created obstacle and excuses for themselves so that if they do poorly on a task, they can avoid blaming themselves. Egypt’s protests reveal deficit of trust in Muslim Brotherhood and in the Egyptian political figures. As in personal relations, trust in government requires a great deal of openness and equality, which were not met by the previous two regimes.
Egyptians also faced many drawbacks from their international allies. For example, they thought at different times that USA, the most powerful superpower, was supporting Egypt and its development. However At one point, Obama backed former President Hosni Mubarak. Then he abandoned him. Next, under the democratic banner of “letting the Egyptian people decide,” he stood on the sidelines as the Muslim Brotherhood took power and began to run the country into the ground. Again unsure of what to do, he took what he thought was the line of least resistance—supporting the Brotherhood and its leader, President Mohamed Morsi. Only that didn’t work either. Obama showed his deep concern over the Egyptian military’s decision to oust Morsi. Obama’s policy was again repudiated by the Egyptians who lost their trust in Obama’s policies. The only “friends” America seems to have left are Morsi’s supporters in the anti-Western Brotherhood, who despise American values, oppose U.S. policies, and now blame Obama for backing the army “coup” against Morsi’s. USA’s natural allies the secular democrats, no longer trust USA because of Obama’s tendency to support whoever ends up in power. Obama’s policies reflect the two basic human motives: self-esteem approach and social cognition approach. He is always trying to make his decisions accurate and correct and maintain high self-esteem. Impression management is very crucial is very crucial to Obama. However, the abandoning of his policies to manage his image made the Egyptians distrust Obama’s policies, which reflect narcissism: extreme high self-regard (USA) combined with a lack of empathy towards other countries (I mean this concept on states level).
Since our attitudes are based mostly on experiences, these experiences of doubt and drawbacks led Egyptians to form attitudes accordingly. The affective components in Egyptians’ attitudes and behaviors are fear from being marginalized, liking objection, admiring political strength, and pessimism about Egypt’s Future. The cognitive components are the falling back of many political figures, revealing of many plans against Egypt made by people who were supposed to be loyal to Egypt, and revealing of many lies and broken promises. The behavioral components are not listening to other people, seeing oneself as superior over others, overbidding others, distrusting people, not cooperating with others, not working hard, and protesting and objecting without strong purpose. Egyptians develop most of these attitudes at two levels. Some might develop them unconsciously as implicit attitudes while some might develop them consciously as explicit attitudes. Some Egyptians maintain attitudes and behaviors through classical conditioning, in which they repeatedly pair a stimulus that elicits emotional response with a neutral stimulus until it takes some properties of the first stimulus. For example, watching political figures lecturing elicits doubt about their reliability. Repeatedly pairing these political figures (stimulus) with their lecturing about Egypt’s development (neutral stimulus) results in eliciting doubt when anyone talks about Egypt’s development. Another type of conditioning is operant conditioning, in which we freely choose behaviors to perform more or less frequent depending on whether they are followed by a punishment or reward. For example, Egyptians in the recent times were used to the phenomenon that those who oppose the regime and its policies rapidly get famous, gain popularity, and have the lights spotting on them, which are good rewards, so Egyptians start opposing the regime more frequently.
After we analyzed the ABC of the attitudes in this context, I think using the emotions to change the attitude would work the best because the attitude of distrust and suspecting others’ patriotism is based on emotion and social identity. Fear-arousing communication can cause lasting change if a moderate amount of fear is aroused, and if Egyptians believe that they and Egypt’s future would be reassured if they changed their attitude, returned to trust each other and stopped overbidding. Emotions could be used as heuristics to gauge Egyptians’ attitudes. Changing the attitude by changing behavior or cognitive dissonance would not be so helpful because in this context, there is high external justification, which is considered a drawback for cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance requires low external justification where people find internal justification for their behavior, bringing their attitudes in line with their behavior. Persuasive communication depends on aspects of the communicator, aspects of the message, and aspects of the audience. In persuasive communication, the effectiveness depends on the strength of the argument such as in central route to persuasion or the surface characteristics such as in the periphery route to persuasion. Confidence in people’s thoughts and attitudes affects how much they will be influenced by a persuasive communication. Therefore the probability of having an effective result from persuasive messages is not guaranteed; especially after researchers have studied a number of ways to avoid being influenced by persuasive messages, such as: attitude inoculation, alertness to product placement, resisting peer pressure, and Reactance theory.

 

 

The Arab Passion

Arab League, Union is strength.

Arab League, Union is strength.

Gilles Kepel offers us a contextual analysis of the events rationale in the Arab states. Or according to social psychologists, an analysis of the way in which how the social environment shapes the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the individuals who rule the states, and based on this social environment, they put their strategies and plans that affect the state’s policies and strategies. Therefore, he is like explaining the social psychology but on state level, Arab states.

In the politics of Arab states and even in any state, rulers and politicians tend to desperately need to feel good about themselves, one of the basic human motives. They often distort their perception of the world to preserve their self-esteem.the second basic human motive that tends to persist is the need to be accurate. The social cognition approach takes into account the way in which rulers and politicians think about the world. Kepel  explains how these two approaches affected the Arab rulers thinking, especially, since the Arab spring without using the social psychology’s terms.

While Kepel was explaining what is happening in the Arab world, he was using and encouraging a holistic thinking style, a type of thinking in which people focus on the overall context, particularly the ways in which objects relate to each other.

Kepel discussed how each Arab state has its schema of every other state. For example how Seoudi Arabia perceives Iran as its enemy because of struggle over hegemony on the GCC, and how each incident on the state level prime a certain thought and form the schema and heuristic.

Through introspection, states could cultivate their strategies, having a growth mindset. Social comparison theory is also helpful for state when they want to compete with other states. states know their own abilities by comparing themselves to other states. For example, when Qatar used Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a tool of supporting Qatar, Seoudi Arabia aslo used the Salafists as a reaction to Qatar’s action to balance the powers in Egypt and break the Muslim Brotherhood’s control over the voices. However most of the states make self-serving and defensive attributions.

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Kepel concludes the lecture saying ,” we can only predict because it is a process in the making.” This is what a social psychologist would also say.