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Lecture 7

PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Cognitive Revolution, Likert Scale, Behaviorism

Course Code
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

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Lecture 7 - History of Social Psychology Lecture
The "origin myth" started with the first article: "the dynamogenic factors in pacemaking and
Kurt Danziger was first person to study the history of social psychology. He states
"Methodology is not ontologically neutral." Kurt also stated that that you need to look for
more than one study to start a new field.
Studying the social but empirically, using experiments in laboratories. There was a desire for a
greater emphasis on empirical research (particularly in experimental research) compared to
other social sciences.
A vision of the social world that is amenable to studying it at the individual level using
What changed with social psychology: "...imagined, implied presence of others" instead of
typical lab tests on rats based on treats and punishment.
We can carry (cognitive) representation of individuals and of groups of individuals in our
head. They can influence us even if they are not there.
Floyd Allport was the visionary who focused in the individual (on his or her subjective
experience of the social world). This visionary departs from older social sciences like political
structures, international markets not amendable to experiments.
Social psychologists assume that your perception of the social world drives you. This view fits
culturally with North American individualistic view of the individual.
Attitudes are the most studied concept in social psychology. Positive or negative evaluation
of persons, objects or events.
For Gordon Allport, attitudes are a matter of the person (state of affaire within the person).
Properties of attitudes are strictly individual attributes.
Implies individuals are separate entity not the parts of a social collectivity.
Since attitude is acquired, thus it can be modified and is your state of readiness.
Pre-World War II was where attitudes become big business. There were large scale studies of
the effects of propaganda and of various organizational factors. Social psychology emerged as
an important field to help modify attitude to be favourable towards the war.
Measures asked individuals to pick between two worded statements.
Degrees were used not just picking a view, but measuring it with degrees (Akins to other
scientific endeavors). The farmed Likert scale developed and now provided social psychology
with a quantitative measurement on subjective views.
The Post World War II attitudes and ideologies become center stage.
How did Nazism spread?
How negative attitudes toward social groups (prejudice) influence individuals and spread?
This led suddenly to two (somewhat related) issues take on a whole different meaning:
Internal vs. External & Person vs. Situation
Internal vs. External distinguished between the observable external behaviour and its
inferred internal causes. Lapierre in 1934 toured hotels and restaurants to see "Attitudes
vs. Actions". He found out that what we think (internal) and what we do (external) are
two different thing.
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