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Introducing Annina and Social Psychology

December 9, 2010


I am Annina, one of the co-founders of ChangeMachine and a second-year at the University of Chicago. My life dream is own an environmentally-friendly theme park and right now I’m learning about the business world through ChangeMachine.

Social Psychology is a huge field that I have just started to get into. Our textbook has a lot of good advice/supporting evidence for the success of ChangeMachine. The chapter titled Group Influence discusses brainstorming alone or in groups. (The best plan is to 1st do group brainstorming then solitary brainstorming) To enhance group brainstorming sessions, Vincent Brown and Paul Paulus (2002) suggest incorporating electronic brainstorming. Using computers solves the problem of waiting for your turn during group brainstorming sessions and forgetting your idea. Also, in order to fit in with the group, sometimes people will not voice disagreeable thoughts. ChangeMachine plans to create enhanced brainstorming with our online innovative communication interface. (Learn more in posts from Sean Clemmer)

Helping is at the heart of ChangeMachine. People help for several reasons. Rewards, external (like money or free flannel pants) or internal (feeling powerful, or relieving guilt) drive helping. Fun fact: people are more likely to help if they are happy. People also help because of social norms, like “to those who help us, we should return help” and “give people what they deserve.” A twist on this is the social responsibility norm, which is the belief that people should help those who need help without regard to future exchanges. This can happen as relationships progress. As people become deeper friends or lovers, they stop worrying about doing equitable favors for each other, and start doing things just because they care about the other person. ChangeMachine’s group model for completing tasks will promote deeper relationships between individual volunteers and between volunteers and the non-profit organizations they’re doing tasks for. Interestingly, when people see other people doing good, they are more likely to also help. Further, people prefer others who are similar to them, even in trivial ways. When people are placed in groups dependent on whether they overestimated or underestimated the number of dots in a group of dots, they prefer those in their own group (even though the basis of the group is so inconsequential).¬†ChangeMachine will also utilize this knowledge through the group model, which will promote liking within the groups. When people experience people they like helping on ChangeMachine, they will also help out.


Don’t forget to please vote for us in the Dell Social Innovation Competition!



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