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Groups – Elements of Social Interaction (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Let’s look at Groups now.

    00:04 Groups as defined here in this contexts as a collection of any number of people at least two, who regularly interact and identify with each other sharing similar norms, values and expectations.

    00:16 That’s a very loose definition for a very broad topic of groups, right? You have your work group, you have your friend’s group, you have a whole bunch of groups.

    00:27 you can have your bridge group, you can have your tennis group.

    00:29 The point here is that you have at least two individuals that interact fairly regularly, you know each other, and you share certain norms, values and expectations related to perhaps what you’re there for.

    00:41 If it’s a working group, we’ll you’re all there to do a good job.

    00:44 You all have probably the same end goal even though you each other differ responsibilities.

    00:48 the end goal is to… I don’t know, say you work at Apple is to make great innovative smartphones.

    00:54 You know if you work at Microsoft is to make the latest greatest version of Microsoft office.

    00:59 Whatever your end goal is that the norms, values and around, how that operational group works are pretty implicit and laid out.

    01:07 So you going to have two types of groups.

    01:09 The first group is your Primary Groups.

    01:12 These are individuals who play a very important role in your life.

    01:15 They’re typically smaller. This would be like your family, your mediate super close friends.

    01:20 And I think we can all think of you within our circle of friends group.

    01:24 We, typically have a nucleus of a few that you’re really close with.

    01:27 So say you have 15 friends and you occasionally all get together and do things.

    01:31 out of those 15, there's probably 2 or 3 that you call, hang out with or text almost every day.

    01:36 So the larger broader group will get into the second.

    01:40 but the smaller group that you’re very close with would be your primary group.

    01:46 The ones that are in this smaller group, you typically tend to interact with in person.

    01:52 and a long term emotional ways.

    01:55 You have a lot of invested in this primary group.

    01:57 And it serves expressive function as well and that your emotional needs.

    02:00 In today’s society, there is a lot of global movements.

    02:04 People moving around going way to school, working in different places.

    02:07 You don’t always have access to your family. So you end up building this sort of surrogate families.

    02:12 and then you have three best friends in this odd city that you’ve move to for school for example.

    02:17 And you notice that sometimes I did know scenarios you get extremely close with the couple individuals.

    02:23 And if those of you who gone to this sort of university experience, you’ll know this and that you get really close with the couple of people saying your residence or if you live off campus.

    02:30 You almost you consider yourself a family. And you’re much more emotionally invested.

    02:35 You say things like, “Oh you’re like my sister, you’re like a brother to me.” And then, you kind of graduate and move on. And you all get your jobs.

    02:43 And you lose that connectivity because the transition from being part of your primary group and that’s situation to moving to the secondary group which we’re getting to right now because time has passed.

    02:54 But the point I’m trying to make there is, there's an emotional investment.

    02:57 and it’s emotionally fulfilling.

    02:59 So for family as pretty obvious but in the friend’s situation it can change.

    03:05 Now, secondary group is larger in size. So your broader group of friends.

    03:09 A little bit more impersonal. And you sometimes interact for short period of time.

    03:13 So another example, that might be more relative to you would be, saying an MCAT study group.

    03:20 So maybe you study a lot yourself, or what your roommate, or both you’re trying to go through this.

    03:25 That might be your primary group but then you once a week, be with your MCAT group, study group and there's 15 of you, and you quiz each other go to different things that’s a short period of time as soon as your MCAT is done you probably not going to hang out with this group anymore.

    03:41 You have achieved your purpose, it’s done, it’s a lot less impersonal as supposed to your primary group.

    03:46 you know a lot of deep things about your family or very very close friends.

    03:49 The second point we have here is that it serves an instrumental function or pragmatic needs.

    03:56 In English, we’re saying that, there's an obvious clear need here.

    04:00 In this example of the MCAT study group, it’s you have the MCAT to study for. It’s a clear purpose.

    04:06 If you’re an Arts and Crafts group that makes hand knit baskets every month, same thing, the goal is to work together to make baskets but then it kind of stays at that so your kind of keep them at arm’s length.

    04:19 Now, another different thing that we can consider is level of inclusions.

    04:26 So a subcategory groups is based on inclusions: The first being In-group.

    04:30 This is a group that an individual belongs to and believes to be an integral part of their identity.

    04:35 It could be something like girl guides, or boy scouts, or being part of a grade or being part of a closet schools or university.

    04:47 So now, this is a group that you belong to. It could be anything.

    04:50 It could be that “Hey, I’m a city dweller. My group is my condo friends.

    04:55 And we’re really tight. We hang out all the time.” And you guys all share a common piece of what’s now your identity.

    05:03 Versus an Out-group. This is a group that an individual, does not belong to.

    05:08 And does not really resonate with.

    05:09 So say for example, back at city dweller example, you might have some friends or know people who live out in the rural areas.

    05:16 And you don’t really belong to that rural group, even though you know the individual.

    05:21 And you don’t really agree what sort of some of their beliefs, and what they used to make their identity.

    05:28 and you’ll know this because as you speak you’ll say, “You know we got the good here living in the city.

    05:34 And we have access to all these amenities.

    05:38 And we are part of the cultural revolution here right now.

    05:41 As opposed to all those guys who live in the city, they have the drive All the way into the city to go get groceries and they have nothing to do at night.

    05:51 So you are saying that “We, the in- group that’s us, and that aligns with my identity versus the out-group, them, they I don’t really align with their identity.

    06:02 Okay, so another kind of interesting thing and kind of already eluded to this is that we tend to have more favorable impressions of our in-group.

    06:10 and we do this because that actually makes us feel good.

    06:12 It bolsters our self-identity, our self-esteem.

    06:14 And we think back to again to the city versus rural example.

    06:19 You know you think that if you know people who also live in the city or your talking to people about the city, you have a much more positive stands about it.

    06:27 So those in the in-group all think, “Yeah the city is the greatest.” and you actually feed off on each other”.

    06:32 So if you’re on a group of city folk having dinner and they all talk about how “Oh my God, did you guys to the new Art Exhibit down the street?” “Oh my God, we’re so lucky isn’t that amazing?” And you start talking and you boast to each other it makes you feel good.

    06:46 “You know what, living in the city is great, I am great.

    06:48 I’m making a good decision by being here.” And then if you flip it, and if you look at an individual who’s in the rural area, there's sitting with their rural buddies on the porch of their 40-acre lot.

    07:00 And talking about how amazing it is to live out in the country saying, “You know what, look at it here. Look at the fresh air, look at the trees, look at all this land.

    07:07 I can run around. I can do whatever I want. I can have a huge bonfire.

    07:12 I can eat marshmallows. I can wear no pants if I want to 'cause nobody can even see me.” “We got a pretty good out here don’t we? And again, they’re talking about how amazing it is, boost their self-identity and their self-esteem.

    07:24 And that’s where I was talking about with the positive stereotypes about their group versus the out-group.

    07:29 And you can flip that based on perspectives.

    07:31 So the city folk think they’re great. They have positive stereotypes about themselves And they’re in-group versus the out-group.

    07:37 And rural have the same based on their perspective.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Groups – Elements of Social Interaction (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Social Interactions.


    Author of lecture Groups – Elements of Social Interaction (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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