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Lecture 1

PSYB10H3 Lecture 1: Notes

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Yoel Inbar

PSYB10 Lecture 1 What is Social Psychology? Social psychology: Study of social processes and how other people affects the way we think, feel, and behave, whether real or imaginary Goal is to explain and predict behaviouremphasize on predictions rather than just descriptions in order to test theories Sample questions in social psychology research o How are people influenced by the presence of others? First social psychology research trying to explain this question Participants completed simple mechanical test such as winding a fishing line, and either completed this task alone or in the presence of others Tended to perform better with social presence o How do people explain the behaviours of others? Question if the cause was due to the social situation, the person themself, or a combination of the two We have limited information so we have to make our own conclusions about these things Attributionmaking judgments based on ambiguous information o How do people make sense of their own behaviour? When people are confronted with their behaviour and try to explain it Focusing on what kind of explanations people use Comparing Social Psychology to Other Social Science Social psychology o Focuses on how social situations can influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of a person Personality psychology o Focuses on how differences between people influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviours o Publish in the same journals, go to the same conferences, belong to the same professional societies, etc. o Also attempts to explain and predict behaviour, although the explanations are different Social psychology focuses more on social situations and how social aspects can influence behaviour Personality psychology tends to look at stable attributes of people across time and situations Sociology o Focuses on behaviour of communities and groups, not individuals Power of the Situation Even small changes can have large effects in behaviour; situations can often determine behaviour despite individual differences Nazi Germany o Social psychology would examine the situations that led up to WWII Milgrams study of obedience o Participants realized that in order to leave the experiment, they had to complete it the whole time There is a certain point at which the confederate said to stop and at which participants did not want to continue the experiment; if they went past that point, it was likely that they would continue until the end
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