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Social Psychology.docx

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University of Ottawa
Christine Mountney

Social PsychologyFocuses in Social PsychologySocial psychology scientifically studies how we think about influence and relate to one anotherSocial Thinking 1 Does his absenteeism signify illness laziness or a stressful work atmosphere 2 Was the horror of 911 the work of crazed evil people or ordinary people corrupted by life eventsSocial thinking involves thinking about others especially when they engage in doing things that are unexpectedAttributing Behavior to Persons or to SituationsAttribution Theory Fritz Heider 1958 suggested that we have a tendency to give causal explanations for someones behavior often by crediting either the situation or the persons dispositionA teacher may wonder whether a childs hostility reflects an aggressive personality dispositional attribution or is a reaction to stress or abuse a situational attributionDispositions are enduring personality traits So if Joe is a quiet shy and introverted child he is likely to be like that in a number of situationsFundamental Attribution ErrorThe tendency to overestimate the impact of personal disposition and underestimate the impact of the situations in analyzing the behaviors of others leads to the fundamental attribution errorWe see Joe as quiet shy and introverted most of the time but with friends he is very talkative loud and extrovertedEffects of AttributionHow we explain someones behavior affects how we react to itAttitudesActionsA belief and feeling that predisposes a person to respond in a particular way to objects other people and eventsIf we believe a person is mean we may feel dislike for the person and act in an unfriendly mannerAttitudes Can Affect ActionsOur attitudes predict our behaviors imperfectly because other factors including the external situation also influence behaviorDemocratic leaders supported Bushs attack on Iraq under public pressure However they had their private reservationsActions Can Affect Attitudes
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