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Lecture 1

PSYC 260 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Confirmation Bias

Course Code
PSYC 260
Lisa Droogendyk

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Week 1
The course
-Studies the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of individuals
-What makes people act as they do in social contacts
-Friendship, romantic attraction, emotions, helping others, hurting others, conformity, rebellion,
stereotyping, prejudice
-How social psychologists conduct research
-What social psychology is not
-Sociology: societal/group level vs individual level
-Social groups, and the patterns
-Social Psychology: What exactly triggers that behaviour and what social factors
may cause that
-Unusual patterns of behaviour, often connected with mental disorders
-Social psychologists are more interested in the average/middle of bell
Curve versus examining the extremes. Trying to understand how most
People in the group would respond (they are opposites)
1. Power of the situation: The situation has a powerful impact on behaviour (or social
context) - surprisingly powerful, and unappreciated. How people behave is often best
explained by the social situation. Unappreciated because people do not realize the
extent to which the situation effects them. Social psychologists check social contexts first
to study behaviour
2. Importance of subjective (different people interpret different things in different ways)
construal (viewpoint): The way people personally interpret a situation often influences
them more than the actual situation (the reality). What’s going on in your head versus
the situation. When we do our research, we are not interested in the situation (as
sociologists do), we are looking at how the participants are looking at the social context.
What the world looks like to our participants - looking through their eyes, provides the
best explanation to behaviour.
Hindsight Bias: Tendency to think you would have known the answer after you learned it
“I knew it all along” bias
Confirmation Bias: Tendency to search for information that confirms one's beliefs, and ignore
information that disproves it
Social Psychology
-Androcentric: male centered
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