Social Psychology Review
Social Psychology-The scientific study of the way in which a persons thoughts, feelings and
behaviours are influenced by real or imagined presence of other people. It is the study of social
thinking, influences, relatedness, imaginary others.
ABCs-Affect, Behaviour, Cognition
Science-Empirical method to understanding phenomenon, adopt a set of values. 3 values are
accuracy, objectivity and scepticism.
Norman Triplett-One of the founders of social psychology and asked the question do cyclists
cycle harder when competing against others or against a clock? Cycled harder against others due
to social facilitation.
Floyd Allport-Wrote an important textbook on the interaction of individuals in their social
WWII-Increased knowledge in social psychology because people wondered what cause of
behaviour could lead people to commit such atrocities.
Gordon Allport-Studied prejudice and began the establishment of the society for the
psychological study of social issues.
Sherif-Used experimental research to test social influence.
The self-Big question is who are we? Mostly we describe ourselves in terms of our self-concept
(likes/dislikes and what we know about ourselves) and self-awareness (I and me).
-Self includes the body, social identity and as an active agent making decisions.
-Functions; Self is an interpersonal tool used to connect us to others, self makes choices, self-
regulation teaches us how to interact with others.
Self-Knowledge-Past experiences, self/social comparisons, behaviour and feedback from others
are all ways we acquire knowledge about ourselves. We are not born a blank slate but we do not
have the same sophisticated self-knowledge we will eventually have.
Perceived self-knowledge-Our self-knowledge is filtered through others and is hindered through
politeness (we rarely get the truth) and our lack of tendency to hear criticisms.
-Thus is it possible to have accurate self-knowledge? Yes in the form of autobiography writers
and people argue that self-knowledge is really the only complete form of knowledge. No because
psychoanalysts believe we cannot tap into our ideas of self and that most of our self-concept is in
our subconscious. Social psychologists believe somewhere in between.
Introspection-A way of developing self-knowledge through the process of looking inward and
examining our thoughts and feelings (Mindfulness). We are often skewed and not objective; 8%
of the time we are mindful and 92% we think about things we do or have done. The major
limitations are that people dont do it enough and that some reasons for our behaviours are
hidden in our subconscious.
Healthy self-Knowledge-Taylor and Brown believe good mental health includes several
distortions including; exaggerating positive self-evaluation, exaggerating perception of control
and having unrealistic self-optimism. Self-esteem-Sense of personal worth rooted in social feedback and direct experience of self-
efficacy. Self-esteem is stable but it can fluctuate from the base point during major life events.
-To increase self-esteem we engage in social comparison. With peers is average and accurate
self-esteem, downward comparison is comparing yourself to those less fortunate than yourself
and upward comparison is thinking that if that person can do it so can you.
-People whose self-esteem is unrealistically inflated often react to threats by putting others down.
-Bushman and Baumeister asked students to write an essay half were told it was really good
whilst others were told it was bad. They then played a computer game where punishment to the
marker was a loud noise (aggression). People with inflated self-esteem with negative feedback
were most aggressive.
Low self-esteem cycle-Low self-esteem->negative expectations/attitudes->low effort and high
Self-Awareness-State in which ones attention is focused on oneself and one is company self
with a set of standards. Increases when you are put on the spot, look into a mirror or if you do
something different to what you thought you would do. Drinking can lower self-awareness. Self-
awareness is not a bad thing because it makes what you do in line with what you want, but, it is
bad because it can be too much if you are too self-aware.
Culture-Framework for a person. Comprises of the human made part of environment as well as
social institutions in society such as norms, rules, laws etc. Culture is shared and can be changed
but takes generations. Physical environment shapes culture and culture shapes our experiences.
Independent self-Autonomous, believes in internal attributes, gives rise to self-actualization.
Interdependent self-self is connected to others, thoughts and feelings are dependent on the
perceived thoughts and feelings of others, gives rise to fulfilling and creating obligation.
Aspects of self-Public, private and collective.
Individualistic cultures-America, UK, Australia, Canada, Netherlands
Collectivistic cultures-Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, Columbia
Logic of Attribution- Behaviour = situation + dispositional factors
Attribution-Process of giving a person a property or quality that you believe belongs to or is
representative of them.
Discounting Principle-Observer should not conclude a person has a unique disposition to
behave when the person does what the situation pushes them to do.
Joan and Harris experiment-Gave uni students essays to read about Castrol, some were told
they were told to write for a particular side whereas others had no direction. Asked the uni
students what opinion did the debater who wrote the essay have? Most made attributions about
the debaters without any information. Those who had free choice were more so assumed to be
pro Castrol whereas for those with no choice it was fairly equal but with pro Castrol still more.
Correspondence Bias-Fundamental attribution error is the tendency to match a persons
behaviour to personal dispositions when the behaviour should/could be attributed to the situation.
Wanting dispositions-Correspondence bias gives us a sense of control because we assume we
have some control over the world and that it isnt just random. Helps us predict behaviour.
Misunderstanding situations-Correspondence bias creates a tendency to underestimate
situational power because often we do not know the situation or we misjudge how much of an
effect the situation has on us or others.Misperceiving Behaviour-Our expectations affect what we perceive others do. We first identify
the action and then attribute the action to something.
Rosenhan-Asked 8 normal people to admit themselves to a mental hospital with signs of
schizophrenia. Once in they stopped showing signs and were kept on average 19days and their
normal behaviour was attributed to the schizophrenic label. It was also the other patients at the
hospitals who discovered they were faking not the staff.
Failing to use information-Having and using information are not the same thing. We often
identify what the actor is doing; make automatic dispositional attributions and takes effort to
make a situational correction.
Attitudes-Beliefs towards something. Bases of attitudes are: Affect (gut feeling), Behavioural
intention and Cognition.
Tri component theory-Rosenberg and Hovland believed all 3 concepts were interrelated.
Separate entities-Fishbein. Believed each concept is a separate entity which may or may not be
interrelated with one another.
Attitude Strength-Ambivalence (less=stronger), Accessibility (more=stronger) and Subjective
experiences determine the strength of attitudes.
Coreys Study-asked students what they thought of cheating, 97% said cheating was wrong and
that they wouldnt do it. 70% of the same students when given the opportunity cheated.
Lapieres study-Travelled around USA with Chinese couple and 250 establishments served
them only 1 said no. But when he sent a survey asking whether they would serve Chinese people
only 1 said yes and 118 said no.
Correspondence Principle-Fishbein. Attitudes and behaviours have to be measured at the same
level of specificity an