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PSYCH 1N03 (53)
Kim Dej (17)

Social Psychology

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McMaster University
Kim Dej

-1Lecture #22 Social Psychology (Part I) Ÿ Scientific study of how our behaviour is systematically affected by others and the behaviours of others, situations allow us to behave in similar ways Ÿ Acomplement to personality studies Ÿ Personality is how one individual differs in one situation to the next, social psychology is the situation itself and how it affects peoples behaviours Ÿ As a social species we are always in the real or imaginary presence of others Ÿ Social psychologists of the 50s and 60s occupied a unique and critical role in popularizing scientific psychology, of what makes people work and why people do what we do, one of the things they did was conduct a series of systematic studies and found a number of results that were counterintuitive, because its not all common sense, there are certain things that humans do that fly in the face of human expectations (for e.g. why people think the way they do, what influences their behaviour, etc) Ÿ Attitude is the corner stone of social psychology (like how traits are of relevance to personality) Ÿ An attitude is an evaluation of anything that can constitute a noun (person, places or things) Ÿ Of all the things that we can evaluate, ourselves are not included with respect to attitude, evaluations of ourselves is self-efficacy, self-esteem Ÿ Attitudes involve appraisals of good and bad about things other than ourselves Ÿ Many components to an attitude, key component is the effective or emotion, assignment or feeling to some person or thing in the world, positive or negative appreciation for it, and without a positive or negative feeling toward it, you don’t have an attitude towards it Ÿ Infinite range of attitude, everything you can evaluate you have an attitude towards (sky diving is dangerous) Ÿ Attitudes are thought to have beliefs about things (cognitive component), reflect certain beliefs one holds (second component) Ÿ Implications on behaviour, presumed to be some expected tendency to act in a certain way given the attitude you hold, for e.g. if you fee, that skydiving is dangerous but roller coasters are fun, you will be expected to act in a certain way regarding these topics, your likely to go on roller coaster but not sky diving Ÿ Certain tendencies given the attitudes they hold Ÿ Presumption is if you hold a certain attitude, your likely to act in a certain way, but nearly not as simple as that Ÿ Where do attitudes come from, how does one acquire it? Ÿ You start with a neutral outlook on something, then as time passes you develop an evaluation of it, you like it or you don’t Ÿ Social psychologists have developed three pathways, Ÿ The first involves direct associative learning, some of the attitudes we acquire through common sense mechanisms, you try something you like it, you have positive attitude towards it, or the opposite, the direct approach is how you directly interact with something and through your experiences you develop an evaluation towards it Ÿ Sometimes you develop attitudes indirectly, vicariously, attitudes are modelled for us by parents, friends, peer groups, through how others have interacted with those things and modelled their experiences (if you’ve never be skiing, and your parents hated it and say its dangerous, you may feel the same way), you acquire by observing people around you, and acquire their attitudes Ÿ Third pathway is by merely having something in your presence, keeping it around you for a while, overtime you tend to have a positive evaluation of things that are near you,=near exposure effect, you can have a positive evaluation of a thing by merely being exposed to something, but it has to start off as evaluative neutral Ÿ Once an attitude is acquired, you react accordingly, however, the relationship between attitudes and behaviours are poor, surprisingly little relationship between attitudes one has and their behaviours Ÿ Why are there so many attitudes about so many things if there are no behavioural consequences Ÿ Attitudes do influence behaviour but only under certain conditions Ÿ First, the attitude must be specific and relevant to the behaviour in question Ÿ There is a discrepancy between general attitude, attitudes about broad topics in specific behaviours which are almost always in reference to specific topics Ÿ So general attitudes will have poor relationship with specific behaviours, chances are much greater that your attitudes toward a specific behaviour have a greater expectancy to produce behaviour (e.g. attitude for the environment may not cause you to recycle, but attitudes towards recycling have a greater relationship with recycling) Ÿ When your measuring attitudes in your efforts to measure behaviour you need to measure the specific topic Ÿ The degree of personal reference is the second factor Ÿ E.g. all undergraduates are opposed to tuition heights, but it is more expected of first years to petition than fourth year students, because for fourth year students, its not as important because they will be graduating next year, unlike the first years (they have the same set of attitudes, their behaviour is different because it is not equally relevant) Ÿ Third condition involves accessibility of the attitude, you need to be aware of your attitude on something in order for it to influence your behaviour Ÿ e.g. the prof. encourages that students read and are on track with their notes on a weekly basis, but at the end of the semester, near exam times he increases his office hours, almost encouraging students that its okay to leave everything to the end, this shows his beliefs were strong enough because it did not full
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