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Introduction to Social Psychology is interesting because it tells  you a lot about yourself. It’s a very “you” focused class. It shows how one interacts with peers and family members, and the backstory as to why. Social psych is a great class to take if you want to learn about others in a way that you would not learn about in other psychology classes. Here are some interesting concepts in Psych 221 at Penn State:

Self-Concept

The most prominent concept learned over the course of the semester is self-concept. This image of self-concept really is constructed via social surroundings. It seems odd to think of it that way, but it’s true. It’s important to learn as well, so you can realize that not everything is your fault! Psych 221 really teaches you so much about yourself. 

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Obedience and Conformity

There are two main studies for each of these concepts. They’re put together because they are taught in tandem. Obedience is always taught with the Milgram experiment. Milgram took students and had them “shock” a test study. What they didn’t know was that nobody was really being shocked and all they heard was just a recording of someone screaming. This caused them to really feel guilt as they continued to shock the study. The distress they felt still didn’t deter them from obeying to Milgram when he told them to press the shock button. Conformity is always taught with Asch’s Line Study. The person unknowingly conformed to others in the group when they chose the wrong size line on purpose. These two concepts just show how important our social stance is to our intelligence.

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy happens when making a judgement about someone, thus resulting in acting a certain way around them, and them making the judgement seem true. If someone is rude to another because they think they look rude without even talking to them, then they’re rude back to them, that’s essentially fulfilling the inaccurate idea that they have created. One believes it’s true because of how they influenced it to be.

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Diffusion of Responsibility

This concept has been known worldwide due to the unfortunate event of Kitty Genovese. Kitty was a woman on her way home from work when she was brutally abused and murdered just below her apartment window. Everybody heard it happen, but they all assumed that someone else had called the ambulance. The point of this theory is to never assume that, in a time of emergency, someone else has already contacted authorities. Take responsibility, even if you think  someone else has already done it. You can never be too safe. Do not put the responsibility on somebody else.

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These 4 concepts are taught in Psych 221. Social psychology is extremely important to learning about any type of psychology. It’s really about how people interact with others and how they interact back. Social psych is a class that no one can go wrong with taking. It’s relevant for every major!


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Beca Kelly


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