Sue Frantz

The social psychology of road rage

Blog Post created by Sue Frantz on Dec 18, 2018

There are a lot of social psychological concepts that can help explain road rage. This Seattle Times article (Doughton, 2018) beautifully identifies a number of these concepts. Students will see how social psychology tells us something about our everyday lives. And, hopefully, students will remember this the next time they find themselves overly angry at the behavior of strangers.

 

You can use the article in any number of ways.

  • Pull out the examples to frame your social psychology lecture
  • After students read the chapter, but before you cover the concepts in class, ask students, as a homework assignment, to identify the social psychological concepts
  • Before you cover these concepts, ask students to read the article, then, in small groups, identify the social psychological concepts
  • After your social psychology lecture, ask students to read the article, and then in small groups, identify the social psychological concepts

 

If your students are reading the article and identifying the concepts, ask students to define the concepts they find in their own words, quote sections of the article that illustrate each of those concepts, and, finally, explain how the quotes they found illustrate each of the concepts students have identified.

 

To make it easier, give students these concepts to find in the article:

  • Deindividuation
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Self-serving bias
  • Outgroup homogeneity bias

 

If you’d like students to reflect on previous content they’ve learned about in their Intro Psych course, ask them to identify examples of these concepts in the article:

  • Sympathetic nervous system arousal
  • Observational learning
  • Long-term effects of stress

 

References Doughton, S. (2018, November 2). How to keep your head from exploding in Seattle traffic. Seattle Times. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/how-to-keep-your-head-from-exploding-in-seattle-traffic

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