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Lecture 1

SOCPSY 1Z03 Lecture 1: Intro to Social Psychology WEEK 1
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Department
Social Psychology
Course Code
SOCPSY 1Z03
Professor
Paul Galvin

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▯1 Introduction to Social Psychology and examination of research in social psychology May, 3rd 2017 WEEK 1 What is social psychology? • Social psychology is the ‘systematic study of the nature and causes of “human social behaviour” (Delamater et al., 2015, 3) and includes: 1. Social Behaviour • Behaviour (action) after (emotion) and cognition (thoughts) 2. Nature and Causes • What people doAND why they do it 3. Systematic study • Employs the scientific method and formal research methodologies Core concerns of social psychology There are 5 core concerns in social psychology (Delamater et al,. 2015 3-6) 1. The impact of one person on another person • Relations with others impact thoughts, behaviours, attitudes, emotions 2. The impact that a group has on its individual members • Development of norms and values, process of socialization 3. The impact of a member on a group’s activities and structure • Rules and responsibilities that develop in groups leadership power and the development of skills 4. Impact of groups on groups • Impact of group membership on individual collective identity/ how relationships develop 5. impact of social contacts on individuals and groups • Rule of socialization adjusting to Theory vs Perspective • Atheory is a set of interrelated propositions that organizes and explains a set of observed phenomena (Delamater et al,. 2015: 8) • Relates to a series of events —> how are we trying to make sense of what were learning or studying • Middle-range theories refer to “theories that identity the conditions that produce specific social behaviour” (ibid: 8) • Atheoretical perspective is broader than middle-range theories • General explanations ▯2 • Establish a common ground to examine social phenomena • Allow us to look objectively and see situations and events without judgement • Provide a :frame of reference” (look at it like a skeleton) Different perspectives in social psychology • Boutiler et al. (1980:5) distinguishes two different types or school of thought in social psychology 1. Psychological social psychology (PSP) • Main concern: Cognition, motivation, and psychological processes • Cognitive perspectives assert that a persons mental activates determine ones social behaviour • Evolutionary perspectives examines the link between social behaviour and genetics - not really used in 21st century psych Cognitive perspective:Key Concepts • Psychological social psychologies tend to adopt cognitive perspectives Cognitive processed include: • Perception • Memory • Judgment - judge, understand • Problem solve - key trait • Decision make -key trait • Cognitive theory maintains that the link between external stimuli and behaviour response is indirect • External stimuli is understood only by viewing it in the context of an entire system • We use schemas to make sense of complex information • Schemas help us • Interpret the environment efficiently • Identify what information is important for interaction and what is not • Quick recall of information and quicker processing • Having a schema in place helps us react and interpret quickly • Fill gaps in knowledge and enable us to make inferences Cognitive perspectives: Sub-theories • Dual Process Theory of Information Processing • Asserts that we process information in two ways: automatically and deliberately 1. Automatic processing fast, relies on heuristics (cognitive shortcuts) - Allows us to make rapid decisions regarding how to interact with people 2. Deliberate processing slower, effortful - Occurs when 1) person is of relevance or 2) they are inconsistent with our heuristics ▯3 Social Identity Theory • Argues that “individuals” identify with groups, organizations and cultures guide cognitive processes • Need to identify with a group in order for something to be salient (becomes more important/ relevant), true and real • We have to identify with a group Cognitive perspective: Critiques • Limitations to cognitive perspectives • Simplify cognitive processes and information processing • Observing cognitive processes in a tangible form is very difficult (in experimental more) • Are often difficult to take note of, because we cant often but our finger on or visually see Evolutionary theory • Evolutionary psychologists are interested in: • social behaviours • biological processes • Personality traits like aggression and altruism • Suggests that these traits and characteristics aid survival will occur more frequently as carriers of these characteristics reproduce Limitations • “Circular reasoning” (Kendrick, 1995: ibid:25) • Difficulty in judging explanations against competing arguments Different perspective in social psychology 2. Sociological social psychology • Main concerns: individual in society, interactions of the individual in and with others, society and structures: Relationship between individuals and social structure (i.e. structure versus agency) and meanings etc. • Symbolic Interaction focuses on symbolic communication, meaning making and interaction • Group processes explores the ways people interact in groups • Social Structure and Personality examines the relationship between positions in the social structures and values, beliefs and health Symbolic Interactionism: Herbert Blumer • There are there foundational premises 1. H
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