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Research in Social Psychology

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Marie- Lyne Laliberte

An Empirical Science ● Social Psychology is not simply common sense, but may reflect on it. ○ Hindsight Bias (which was studied by Roese & Olsen in 1996) ■ Gave different outcomes (to the same story), but both groups said the outcome was highly predictable. ● Like any science social psychology involves: ○ Description (reliable observation) ○ Explanation (development of theories that connect and organize observations) Social Psychology’s Theoretical Frameworks ● The main frameworks for social psychological research: ○ Self-esteem perspective ○ Socio-cultural perspective ○ Evolutionary perspective ○ Socio-cognitive perspective ● They are used to frame research questions Self-Esteem perspective ● Focuses on how people evaluate their own self-worth ● Looks for the cause of social behaviour within the person, and the cause is considered to be more emotional (ie. I behave that way because this is how I view myself) ○ The way we view our influences the way we view the world ○ Strong focus on justifying our past behaviour ■ we are motivated to maintain a positive picture of ourselves ■ This, in turn, influences our behaviour ○ Strong desire to maintain higher self-esteem ● Looks at inconsistency between self image and action ○ People may come up with justification for their actions ○ reflecting on their emotions may change their actions Socio-cultural Perspective ● Looks at effect from or within large social groups ○ norms within cultural groups ○ social class differences ○ nationality/ethnicity ● Focuses on inter-group behavior (social norms) and how it affects social behaviour Evolutionary Perspective (least dominant perspective in social psych) ● Looks for the cause of behaviour in our biology/genetic predispositions ○ Based on Darwin’s theory of evolution ○ Look at other species and see if it relates to human behaviour Socio-cognitive Perspective (most dominant perspective in social psych) ● Focuses on how we think about the world: ○ What we pay attention to ○ How we interpret & judge social situations ○ What we expect from a situation ○ What we retrieve from memory ● How people interpret social information is different in each individual ● Interested in how we process info ● Use a talk process (rational, not emotional) ○ sometimes, incorporate elements of self-esteem (lately, in the last twenty years, have looked at emotions) How we do research in Social Psychology ● Two main epistemologies (Studies where knowledge comes from) ○ Rationalism (assumes th
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