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Lecture 1 - Introductions and definitions - September 9.docx

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

September 9, 2013. Lecture 1 – Introduction Today  Intro to social psych: fundamental principles  Intro to the course: expectations, organization, etc.  Research methods Stuff  Disney world fastpass; don’t have to line up and can do things and come back at a certain time to ride  In reality they are waiting just as long as people in line, but are doing other things instead of just standing around  Changes perception of reality (kind of.. not really)  Behaviours Social Psychology: The Beginning st  Triplett, 1898 1 social psychology paper? o Athletes (swimmers, cyclists, etc.) perform better in competition with others than when practicing by themselves o Tested on children with fishing, observed on how fast they reeled in fish in the presence of others vs. alone; faster when others are watching  Ringleman, 1880s found the opposite in the workplace  Two situations thought to be in conflict with each other and contradictory; now have thoughts as to why both theories are still valid  Social psychologists  even though we cannot directly observe thoughts and feelings, they cannot be disregarded in the study of human behaviour  Impact of WWII  study of influence, prejudice, persuasion, obedience, etc. o Most important initial event to emphasise importance of social psychology Two Fundamental Axioms of Social Psychology  People construct their own reality o Stephen Colbert is….  A liberal who pretends to be a conservative pundit on his late night program “The Colbert Report” OR  A true conservative, who only pretends to be joking, and genuinely means everything he says on his show  Turns out the answer is based on political leanings; Liberals will answer the first, Conservatives the second o Who tripped who in a sports match can depend on which team you are cheering for o How fair the test was can depend on how well you did, etc.  Social influence is pervasive o Introductions  context, sense of self  How we think of ourselves depends on the particular context we’re in  How we introduce ourselves or the information we share depends on context o Importantly, other influence us even when we’re alone o Social influence is the most profound when it is least evident: when it shapes our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about the world without us realizing it  Thought experiement: Relive your day o What sort of appeal will best encourage hotel guests to reuse their towels?  Environmental?  Saves water and energy, etc.  Economic?  Saves hotel money and unnecessary costs  Social?  Everyone else is doing it, you should too  “Join your fellow guests in helping to save the environment. Almost 75% of guests who are asked to participate in our resource savings program do help… etc.”  Telling people the environmental benefits of reusing their towels helps increase participation, but not as much as when guests are told that OTHERS are also doing it Three Motivational Principles  People direct their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours toward three important goals o People strive for mastery  We like having an accurate understanding of world around us, as this helps us function effectively within it  Accurately predicting social events is important to us – it helps us obtain the rewards we want o People Seek Connectedness  We want to feel accepted and loved by individuals and groups that we care about o People value “Me and Mine”  We desire to see ourselves, and those connected to ourselves, in a positive light  We want to see our favourite sports team win and we will think them better than others, we want to see our loved ones succeed and they seem better to us than others, our pets are better than other people’s pets, etc. Three Processing Principles  Three principles operate as we gather and interpret information about the world o Conservatism  Established views are slow to change; once we believe something it is difficult and takes a lot of new information to change that belief  First impressions of people; might take a long time for that impression to change  Part of the reason for this is that established knowledge tends to perpetuate itself  E.g., Your first impression of Bob was that he was arrogant, so when he innocently asks you how you did on the test, you assume it’s because he did well and wants to gloat even though that may not be the case o Accessibility  Accessible (readily available) information has the largest impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours  Our mental resources are limited, so we can’t consider all possible information every time we make a decision or judgment  Priming o Superficiality vs. Depth  People tend to process information in one of two ways: Either with LITTLE thought and effort, or with LOTS of thought and effort  We only tend to process things deeply when something is “threatening” – for example, if it goes against something we care deeply about, attacks our self-worth, or fails to match up with our expectations  Processing superficially is the DEFAULT; we’re lazy human beings and we are not motivated to devote extra brainpower to most things Social Psychology: Isn’t it all just common sense?  Actions speak louder than words  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks  Two heads are better than one  Absence makes the heart grow fonder  Birds of a feather flock together  Look bef
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