Social Influence-We are all influenced and we influence others
Types of social influence
o Direct Attempts: advertising
o Having imagined presence such as social norms/cultural values
o Our behaviour influenced by cues in environment (temp, lighting)
Social Psychology is unique in its emphasis on personal interpretations. Subjective rather than objective
Main Motives and Underlying Construal’s
Need to feel good (self-esteem approach)
Need to be accurate (social cognitive approach)
There are also others: Biological drives, social motives, need for control, ensuring survival)
Social Psychologists use scientific method to assess their research questions
Scientific method is a way of knowing and getting information through the measurement of variables
Other ways of knowing: Experience, intuition, authority
Experience- Gaining knowledge by direct observation or personal sensory experience. An easy, direct way
to answer questions (Energy drink, help me concentrate more on my studies). The problems: confounded,
(there is usually more than 1 explanation)
Intuition-Accepting ideas as valid because they feel right (gut instinct). Problems: We have biases in our
intuition (thinking the “easy way” decisions based on the first thing that comes to mind). Thinking what we
want “beliefs bias” the type of evidence we focus on.
Authority-Accepting things because it comes from a respected source. (rules parents taught us, textbooks).
Problems: Authority figures also have to get their experience from somewhere and if they use persoanlity
experience (intuition) they are subject to same problems as experience and intuition. They could have
expertise in one thing but not another.
Scientific Method of knowing-A way to get info through measurement of variables. Addresses the
problems of the other ways of knowing. Develop a hypothesis from research question using scientific
reasoning. Hypotheses must be able to be testes through empirical observations that are systematic and
structured and limit potential for bias
Variables-Building blocks of scientific method, can be measured or manipulated. Concrete (height, weight)
vs abstract variables (happiness). The subject of focus for most psychology studies involves abstract
Operational definitions have to ground abstract constructs by specifying them for your study, create a
working definition (How will researchers define passionate love in study?)
Research question- hypotheses
Research Question-How is violence in video games associated with aggressive behaviour?
Hypotheses-Tentative answer to research question. Greater violence in video games leads to increased
Ways to measure external manifestations of abstract variables (constructs): Self report, behavioural,
Self-Report-Asked about attitudes and behaviours in questionnaire (ratings/open-ended). Benefit:
inexpensive, quick and easy, direct. Drawbacks: biases in reporting
Behavioural- Observable behaviour measures of constructs (amount of times smiling in lab=measure of
attraction) Benefit: Participants may be less reactive. Drawbacks: Too simple, observers can be subject to
interpretation. Behaviour may be temporary.
Physiological-Physiological functioning of body’s nervous and endocrine system (heart rate). Benefit:
Objective (accurate, reliable) Drawbacks: expensive or unavailable equipment. Creates unnatural setting.
In conclusion researchers typically use more than 1 way to represent a variable, to be more confident.
To limit the potential for bias researchers removes themselves from testing and empirlcal observations.
Assistants are not aware of hypotheses. Specify variables in advance.
Three general research strategies: Descriptive, correlational, experimental
Descriptive- To Describe through systematic observations. Don’t manipulate variables. Benefit: Good for
initial stages of research in an understudied area . Drawbacks: Not specifying relationship between
variables. Correlational- Assess association between variables, no manipulation (# of people in room and the link
with reported aggressive feelings) Benefits: Can study difficult to observe behaviours (behind closed doors).
Can study behaviours which would be unethical to manipulate. Drawback: Correlation doesn’t always equal
Correlation Coefficient (r)- Common way to assess the degrees of association. Provides a metric for
calculation the degree of association between 2 variables. Ranges from -1 to 1.
Positive correlation-Increase in 1 variable associated with increase in the other variable. (Greater
proximity to someone, greater change you will be friends)
Negative Correlation- Increase in one variable makes the other variable decrease. (More people present to
someone where emergency is happening, less likely they will get help)
Experimental Research Strategy: Assess cause and effect relationships between variables which
controlling for extraneous variables. 3 key features of an experimental (Manipulation of independent
variable; measurement of dependent variable; control of extraneous variables)
Independent Variable-What type of video games played. Manipulated by researcher, hypothesized cause,
Dependent Variable-(Aggression). Measured by researcher. Effect of the cause. Control for extraneous
variables (time, location). Isolate independent and dependent variables and control.
In some experiments, different groups of people represent different levels of independent variable.
(Between-subjects) (1/2 violent video games, ½ non-violent)
In others, same groups of people experience all levels of the independent variable over time (within-
subjects) (All people play violent video games, one 1 day; 1 on another day)
Minority of studies use only 1 independent variable. Too simple, may not yield all answers. Rather than
assessing each independent variable separately, typically they use factorial designs
Manipulation of 2+ independent variables. Most basic, factorial design is a two-factor design NOT limited to
two levels in each independent variable.
Quality of experiments: Researchers must take precautions, must make sure study is valid.
Internal Validity- Truth of research claim. No alternative explanation for the relationship between 2
variables (Could be that more aggressive people are in violent video game condition vs. non-violent video
game condition). To have high internal validity: Control for extraneous variables (Size of room time of day).
Common way to deal with individual differences is with random assignment. (Each person has equal
probability of being assigned to any condition
High External Validity- Aim to make it like everyday life. Mundane realism (Extent to which experiment is
similar to real life)
Psychological realism-Extent to which psychological processes triggered in an experiment are similar to
psychological processes in everyday life. Facilitated by aim to test prediction with different peoples cover
study and cultures. Studies should be replicated across different populations.
Replication-Repetition of a study perhaps with a different population o