In the scenario provided, Sarah portrays several aspects of social psychology. The first is her attitude towards her curfew. She is shown to be obedient towards the curfew, but is persuaded by her new friends through the peripheral route because she likes them and, lastly, was having fun enough that she felt she could ignore her curfew. This also opens her up to cognitive dissonance in that she knows she needs to be obedient and obey her curfew but she also is having a good time with her friends and does not want to go home, causing a conflict in beliefs.
She conforms quite a bit to her new friends’ beliefs, first by staying out with them, then by leaving with them when they did due to the fight, and in general just staying grouped with them. She did these things due to normative social influence but also because she hoped they would continue inviting her out and her new friends were popular. The scenario then shows how Jack was attracted to Sarah due to physical attraction, proximity, and similarity and wraps up with a display of hostile aggression and the end of the party due to the cathartic reaction.
Each of these displays of the aspects of social psychology can be displayed further in-depth. Sarah’s attitude towards her curfew involves several factors. The first factor involved is obedience. The scenario explains that Sarah is very obedient and always does what her parents tell her to. Obedience is behavior that is in response to the orders of another (Carter & Seifert 2013). This factor shows that she desires to be obedient and wants to be home in time for her curfew.
The second factor in Sarah’s attitude to her curfew is persuasion via the peripheral route of persuasion by her friends to stay out with them. The peripheral route to persuasion is influence based on small, noncore factors (Carter & Seifert 2013). In this case, it is because she likes these new friends so much that she is persuaded to stay out with them. The third and final factor in Sarah’s attitude toward her curfew is her persuasion of herself through the central route to persuasion.
This route to persuasion is in response to an argument that focuses solely on the arguments merits (Carter & Seifert 2013). In this case, the argument is that she is having a great deal of fun staying out and would like to continue to have fun. This persuades her further to stay out and to view the curfew and obeying it to appear less attractive. This actually demonstrates a moment of cognitive dissonance for Sarah, which means she has discomfort for holding two conflicting ideas at the same time (Carter & Seifert 2013).
On one side, she wants to stay out and continue having fun but on the other she knows she should go home to be on time for her curfew. Her response to this is that she is having enough fun with her friends that missing her curfew this one time is worth it and that she is happy she went to the party instead. Sarah spent most of the night conforming to her new friends. The first case in which this happened was when she decided to go out to the party rather than go home and obey her parents.
In this first case, Sarah was desiring to belong to the group and this sense of belonging led her to be worried that if she went home that her new friends would not invite her out again. To prevent this, she changed her behavior to stay out with her friends rather than being obedient to her parents and coming home on time. The second time she conformed to her peers was when she went outside for the fight. While it did not mention that she specifically went outside, it did mention most people in the house went outside and this leads the reader to believe she went outside for the fight.
In this case, it seems to be a case of wanting to belong. The entire house went out to watch the fight and to belong to the crowd Sarah would have had to follow. The final time Sarah conformed to her peers is leaving after the fight. This appears to be for the same reason as previously mentioned but also because the fight may have produced a cathartic effect on the partygoers. The fights displayed hostile aggression and while the partygoers were not involved, they did witness the violence which may have produced a release in pent-up emotions and led to everyone’s feeling “partied out”.
Finally, there was the attraction of Jack to Sarah. The reading mentions that Jack lives in the same area as Sarah. This implies that they may see each other often and that he may be attracted to her due to their proximity. Due to their interest in the same music and hobbies, they also display similarity which would give Jack a second reason to be attracted to Sarah. Finally, it is mentioned that Jack calls her beautiful which means he is physically attracted to her. This is the third reason for Jack’s attraction to Sarah.
Throughout the scenario, Sarah displays a great deal of the aspects of social psychology. She is obedient to her parents but is able to be persuaded to disobey and break her curfew. She shows cognitive dissonance when she is conflicted about missing her curfew but deciding to stay and the party. She conforms to her peers by deciding to go to the party, go outside to watch the fight, and then leave the party with everyone else. And finally, Jack shows three factors of attraction to Sarah; proximity, similarity, and physical attraction.