Social Psychology

Social Psychology


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I appreciate the fact that criticism is an important part of life. Therefore, I always try to receive criticism on what I do in a positive manner. Stone and Heen (2015) reveal that people often avoid hearing negative things pertaining to their actions or behaviors. However, criticism is necessary as it helps an individual to determine how to become better or more productive (Sargeant, Mann, Van der Vleuten, & Metsemakers, 2009). Criticism often takes the form of feedback. Notably, there are several sources of feedback, such as colleagues, peers, friends, workmates, superiors, mentors, instructors, and parents. However, I sometimes avoid tough conversations with people who are likely to give me feedback. I understand that I have to learn to embrace positive criticism regardless of its source. I try to receive critical feedback in a positive way because it enables me to improve my skills, attitudes, perceptions, and actions pertaining to my studies or professional obligations. Ali, Rose, and Ahmed (2015) explain that critical feedback should motivate an individual to achieve positive personal and professional growth. Nonetheless, critical feedback should not be malicious or biased (Fazio, Huelser, Johnson, & Marsh, 2010). On the basis of this understanding, I welcome critical feedback from anyone as long as the intentions of their criticism are positive or meant to make me better.

I have realized that I often find it difficult to admit that I am wrong. Porath (2016) explains that the human brain views feedback as a threat to survival. Therefore, it is the protective role of the brain that makes people avoid thoughts that they would be wrong. Ahn, Kim, and Ha (2015) add that human beings often seek a better place in the social order. Therefore, feedback may be viewed as a threat to one’s social standing. Maslow’s pyramid demonstrates that self-esteem needs are high in the needs hierarchy. This is the reason why the kind of feedback that is likely to impact negatively self-esteem is considered a primal threat (Porath, 2016). I tend to remember feedback strongly and sometimes I remember criticism from others inaccurately. This would be attributed to the fact that criticism threatens my self-esteem. Sargeant et al. (2009) reveal that people rarely forget the feedback they receive in the learning environment or at work. For this reason, I strive to receive feedback in a positive manner so that it can have a desired impact on my behavior, attitudes, and actions at work or in my learning environment.

Porath (2016) demonstrates that people develop negative bias when they receive unconstructive feedback. It is the negative bias that makes people to remember criticism in more detail (Fazio et al., 2010). I realized that I sometimes develop negative bias, especially when receiving formal feedback pertaining to my studies. However, I have learned over time to manage my negative bias with a goal of ensuring that undesired feedback does not intimidate me. Therefore, I try to get energized and to take negative bias as an opportunity of exerting more effort in my studies. It is my efforts of taking feedback positively that enable me to improve my grades. My understanding of the criteria or characteristics of effective feedback allows me to differentiate between positive and negative criticism in my learning environment and at work. When I realize that the individual giving me feedback provides helpful information, I welcome the criticism and apply it to support my personal and professional growth.

I understand that I should prepare to receive feedback following the completion of an important task at work. I prepare effectively for feedback by inviting it from superiors, colleagues, or peers I trust. Mayo (2016) indicates that people should anticipate challenges so that they are not caught unawares when they receive undesired feedback. This is the reason why I often evaluate myself before inviting feedback from peers. Self-assessment enables me to anticipate specific successes or failures pertaining to my performance in studies or work. Singh (2017) explains that individuals who expect challenges are effective in receiving undesired feedback. I regularly ask my colleagues at work to suggest ways they think I can improve my performance. This enables me to receive useful feedback from them.

My values influence the way I receive feedback. I value feedback that is motivated by concern for others. I also appreciate feedback that is meant to guide or support others. Therefore, I ensure that I do not take condemning feedback seriously. Additionally, I refrain from learning from feedback that is motivated by anger. Sargeant et al. (2009) assert that effective feedback should be objective, supportive, and based on a sense of responsibility. Therefore, I seek feedback from my colleagues and peers at an appropriate time to ensure that their observations of my performance are reliable, valid, and informative. I realize that I sometimes struggle to embrace failure. However, I understand that successful people embrace failure and take it positively as a gateway to success (Geithner & Pollastro, 2016). Therefore, I will learn to accept feedback related to my failure or poor performance with the goal of improving my personal and professional behavior. Algiraigri (2014) demonstrates that individuals who focus on self-improvement choose happiness and take feedback in a positive way.

Grenny (2015) illustrates that people normally assume either a fixed or growth mindset. Notably, fixed mindsets characterize people who avoid obstacles, challenges, and criticisms. On the other hand, growth mindsets are demonstrated by individuals who embrace obstacles and challenges (Harms & Roebuck, 2010). Therefore, I plan to work on my mindset with the purpose of ensuring that I enhance positive thinking regardless of the challenges, criticisms, or obstacles I face in my studies or at work. I understand that my tendency to avoid circumstances that are likely to make me uncomfortable is a setback in the development of a growth mindset. Therefore, I will try to embrace uncomfortable feedback as long as it is constructive, interactive, and clear. However, people should be able to determine the intentions of givers of feedback to ensure that they are not misled or discouraged by biased criticisms (Geithner & Pollastro, 2016).

Carrico and Riemer (2011) assert that it is important for people to listen to the feedback they receive without interrupting. This means that people who are receiving feedback should not assume that they already know what they will hear. It is on the basis of this understanding that I refrain from being defensive when receiving feedback from my colleagues or peers. Swanwick and Chana (2013) explain that the goal of receiving feedback should be to get useful information for self-improvement. Therefore, it is not appropriate to interrupt those who give feedback, such as by being defensive. In addition, it is necessary to assume positive intent when receiving feedback (Granito, Mangione, Miranda, Orciuoli, & Ritrovato, 2014). People who assume negative intent are likely to be defensive when receiving feedback, which would impact negatively their ability to gain insights on areas they need to improve. When I reflect back, I realize that there are times when I have learned from individuals whose intent for feedback was not clear to me. Therefore, it is my ability to assume positive intent that enables me to learn about myself from the perspective of others.

In many cases, I label the feedback I receive as either negative or positive. My research on receiving feedback has informed me that it is not appropriate to label feedback in the context of its perceived appropriateness. Pelgrim, Kramer, Mokkink, and van der Vleuten (2012) indicate that it helps to take feedback as information rather than biased critique. Receiving feedback as information enables me to understand how others perceive my behavior, talents, and actions. In most instances, I find feedback to be highly motivating. This is because when others demonstrate that they admire my talents or behavior, I get encouraged and strive to be better. However, I understand that I should also welcome negative comments as they act as eye-openers and prevent me from making mistakes without knowing. Carrico and Riemer (2011) recommend that it is useful to seek additional or specific information while receiving feedback. I sometimes ask my colleagues at work to rate my performance in team activities on a scale of 1 to 10. The feedback I receive enables me to determine my specific level of performance, which is helpful in implementing specific strategies for self-improvement.

In conclusion, I consider myself generally effective in receiving feedback. However, there are several areas I need to improve. For example, I need to embrace negative feedback which emanates from formal assessment of my studies and work activities. I should also understand even if I put in a lot of effort, I should consider that I would have done better. For this reason, I plan to practice my skills and competencies in receiving feedback to ensure that I get adequate information to support the implementation of my personal and professional growth strategies. I have learned that people acquire feedback effectively when they assume positive intent, receive it as information, and take time to listen and interpret the things they learn from others. I plan to continue embracing feedback because it determines my ability to improve my skills and ability to engage effectively with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Appendix Tasks

Task1: Discussion Sentence

The findings of this study suggest strongly that social categorization contributes to the well-known frog-pond effect, as well as to local dominance more generally (Alicke, Zell & Bloom, 2010).

Task 2: Summary of Methods and Findings

Alicke et al. (2010) used experimental design to conduct their primary research. The experiment involved 33 male and 67 female university students. The participants were not provided accurate information on the actual objective of the experiment to prevent them from altering their behaviors to suit the needs of the researchers. They were categorized into groups of 5 through random selection. The participants were then engaged in lie detection tests during which they assessed videos of their peers and stated whether they thought those in the videos were lying or telling the truth. Participants were then presented with bogus feedback regarding their performance. Some students were informed that they were the best performers in a group of five. Other students were informed that they ranked 5th or 6th in a group of 10. The findings of the experimental study indicated that the students exhibited lower self-evaluations for being last in the highest-performing group than being first in a low-performing group. The experiment allowed the researchers to demonstrate that social categorization results in the frog-pond effect where students who perform highly within inferior groups make more favorable self-evaluations than those who perform lowly within superior groups.

Task 3: Reflection

The findings Alicke et al. (2010) report in their article are convincing as they were based on valid research procedures. The authors cite several similar studies that agree with their findings on the impact of the frog-pond effect on self-evaluation. My personal experiences enable me to agree with the conclusions of the researchers. For example, my self-evaluation at work is influenced more when I am ranked in small groups than in larger groups. I believe that if I rank 4th in a group of 5 people, I am likely to develop strong evaluations of myself than when I rank 50th in a group of 200 people. The researchers successfully demonstrated that social categorization has a significant impact on an individual’s self-evaluation. The conclusions of the authors persuade me to believe that small groups are more effective in assessing the performance of team members than larger groups. However, I believe that more research is needed to compare the objectivity of evaluation and feedback in small and large groups. In addition, the implications of the fish-pond effect on professional practice within highly diverse organizational environments would benefit from additional research on the topic.

Task 4

I argue that the experimental design was appropriate for the research reported in the article. This is because Alicke et al. (2010) used findings from their experiments to draw convincing causal conclusions pertaining to the impact of social categorization on self-evaluation. For example, the researchers effectively demonstrate that feedback from participation in a small group has a stronger effect on an individual’s self-evaluation than feedback from participation in larger groups. The frog-pond effect is described by the authors in line with postulates of theories in social psychology, such as social facilitation and social learning theories. For example, the authors demonstrate that the behaviors people assume are influenced by the nature of their social categorization. The evidence in the article supports my conviction that smaller groups have a stronger social facilitation effect on people than larger groups. Self-assessment allows me to realize that I participate more in smaller groups than in larger groups. I also learn more from members of smaller groups than from those of larger groups. In addition, feedback on my performance in smaller work teams influences me more than feedback on my performance in larger cross-functional teams. Therefore, my social behavior and self-evaluation are congruent with the postulates of the frog-pond effect.

Alicke et al. (2010) present research findings, discussions, and conclusions that are in line with the propositions of the attribution theory. Alicke et al. (2010) indicate in their article that people often seek explanations for their actions, performance, or behavior from the social world. I agree with the researchers because I tend to explain my behavior in the context of the influences of people closest to me. For example, the feedback I receive from friends that I trust impacts more on my self-evaluation than feedback from people who are not close acquaintances. I now believe that my self-evaluation depends on the nature and context of my social experiences. The article is logical and straightforward, which makes it a reliable source of information for understanding relationships between various concepts in social psychology, such as receiving feedback, motivation of behavior, and social relationships.





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Alicke, M. D., Zell, E., & Bloom, D. L. (2010). Mere categorization and the frog-pond effect. Psychological Science, 21(2), 174-177.

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