Psychology is the study of human behavior in relation to the mind. Psychological processes manifest themselves in a number of social issues. For instance, it is possible for an individual to point out either his/her state of emotion as a great influence of ones behaviors. James as quoted by Parrott, (2001) defines emotion as “the bodily changes that follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur.” Following this line of thought, bodily conditions that we possess at different occasions will define the various emotion states that we possess. Further researches have narrowed the study to prove how cognition resulting from different occasions would lead to different physiological arousal like: happiness, sadness, and fear among others. Cognition arousal and physiological state can occur either independently or they can be interrelated. For instance, a man driving his car along a black spot would have a picture of a rolling car; cognitive arousal, and therefore develop the physiological state of fear. On the other hand, it is possible to change our emotion by the labels we give them. Parrott, (2001) notes a research that indicated that, “Seventy-one percent of his subjects simply reported their physical symptoms with no emotional overtones…” At times there is a conditional feel that is not as strong as the usual state of emotion. In a case where a subject cannot explain his/her physiological state then drug injection plays an important role in stimulating the nervous system. This may make a subject note palpitations or facial expressions that would compromise the state of his/her nervous system.
Another facet of social cognition is manifested in pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. According to Chia and Lee, (2007), “Pluralistic ignorance refers to erroneous beliefs held by a group of individuals about the attitude or behavior of others.” One instant where pluralistic ignorance is witnessed is sexuality among college students. An average college student believes that his/her fellow student would indulge in sexual intercourse with another student much earlier than the actual case really is. Lambert et al. as quoted by Chia and Lee, (2007) report that, “College students overrated their peers’ comfort level with the behavior of hooking-up when two people agree to engage in sexual behavior without any commitment for the future.” Though the studies were based in the US the concept applies to other nations; for instance, Singapore. The main reason behind the misconception has been the influence of the media. Internet, print and visual media always overrate sexual orientation of individuals. People who heavily rely on these media for information always have their mind tilted towards a biased perception when it comes to sex; while on the other hand, sees themselves to be an exception. Since researches have indicated otherwise, students mustn’t be at any pressure to get into sexual relationships. Another instance where pluralistic ignorance manifests itself is in alcoholism. Use of alcohol among youths is overrated by the media and this makes students to think that their fellow students get into alcoholism at a relatively early age.
Social issues are also manifested in the classroom. There has been a claim that most teachers in schools give attention to the needs of boy child at the expense of their female counter parts. This behavior can be explained using the prophecy of self fulfillment. The Sadkers did a research on this issue and as quoted by Patrick, (1995), “girls were normally expected to raise their hands and get permission to speak while boys were often allowed to interrupt teachers and other students with unsolicited opinions.” There is a need to reverse these trends and provide equal opportunities to all students in the classroom. Female students must be given a chance to speak in class by making sure that equal opportunity is given to both boys and girls during question time. The second most important step to take is by creating heroines in stories and books to counter the use of male protagonists in the society. This is aimed at instilling self belief among female students.
In conclusion, it is evident from the three issues above that our behaviors are controlled by perceptions that are not always right. Victims of the social issues in the society are young generation because of ease of manipulation from the older generations. Therefore, to address our social issues, attention has to be paid to the younger generation.
Chia, C. C and Lee, W. (2007). Pluralistic Ignorance about Sex: The Direct and the Indirect Effects of Media Consumption on College Students’ Misperception of Sex-Related Peer Norms. International Journal of public opinion research, 20, (1) 52-73
Parrott, W. G. (2001). “Emotions in social psychology: essential readings.” Key readings in social psychology New York, NY: Psychology Press
Patrick, M. (1995). Are girls taught to fail? Web.