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Chapter Summaries 1,3,4,6,7.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B
Kelly Olson

Chapter 1 Introducing Social Psychology What is social psychology? Our lives are SOCIAL they involve OTHER PEOPLE Is the scientific study of how individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by other people 4 key aspects: Influenced by other people o SOCIAL aspect of social psych is very important o Other people can influence us without having to be physically present (preparing for a job interview or a first date) o As long as someone is being affected in any way by other people including their IMAGINED presence relevant to social psych Thoughts, feelings, and behaviours o How other people affect an individuals thoughts (cognitive), feelings (affect), and behaviours o Why people act a certain way toward certain people helping, discrimination, conformity Individuals perspective o Look at the world through the actors eyes o Whatever YOU believe to be the other persons motive will determine how you behave o More important to know the individuals SUBJECTIVE perception than the settings objective features o Social construals how individuals personally interpret (construe) or perceive social situations Scientific study o Scientific evidence is necessary before a proposal is taken seriously o Collecting data to test predictions How other people affect us Other people affect how we interpret events Researchers have conducted experiments where they constructed fake emergencies and observed how people responded who did not know the situation was staged bystander intervention One important reason that these individuals fail to intervene is that they RELY on other people to interpret the event Analysis of emergency situations is a classic social psych, providing a compelling example of how we use other people to interpret our world Other people affect how we feel about ourselves Comparisons of self with other people Other people can have dramatic effects on how we feel about ourselves Social comparison process of comparing ourselves to other people to make judgements about the self Other people affect how we behave The presence of other people can elicit a very different behaviour than would have occurred if one was alone Tendency of large groups to elicit aggressive behaviour if one person starts, the rest follow because they feel as though they wont get caught being immersed in a large group anonymity Deindivduation: feeling that people are unaccountable for their actions when in a large group o Study of mobs done by Mullen results showed that as lynchers became more numerous relative to the victims, the viciousness of the lynchings increased larger mobs were associated with more aggressive lynchings people in larger mobs felt anonymous which led to a breakdown of inhibitory self-control that was normally practised BEWARE! Social psych is not just a common sense intuitions are not always right and we must conduct research to find out which ones are valid Hindsight is not always golden tendency to think that a known outcome was obvious is called the hindsight bias that can lead you astray when judging the importance and value of research findings Why study social psych? Being an informed citizen if we really want to develop an informed and reasoned approach to dealing with social problems, we need to understand why people behave the way they do and the effectiveness of different solutions Applying social psych knowledge to everyday life Understanding yourself Connections to other areas of psych Personality psychology: traits that help explain human behaviour individual differences that affect social behaviour (self-esteem) Developmental psychology: age related changed in human abilities and behaviour social development how relationship skills emerge Cognitive psychology: how the human mind works social cognition how information about people is processed and stored Clinical/counseling: psychological or mental problems that affect ones well-being loneliness, shyness and other relationship problems; depression, anxiety Sociology: how social and cultural forces influence human behaviour DIFF from social psych focuses on groups rather than individuals; measure relevant concepts rather than manipulate experiments Anthropology: the study of past and present cultures DIFF from social psych focus on cultures rather than individuals; rely on existing materials rather than conducting experiments Political science: the study of methods of governments DIFF from social psych exclusive focus on the political domain; study existing systems rather than conducting experiments Historical background of social psych Only existed for 50-60 years Social psychs roots in philosophy Plato and Aristotle who were famous philosophers made connections to human emotions, thoughts, and behaviours Social contract the idea that human societies have developed basic rules of social and moral conduct, which members of the societies implicitly agree to follow identity both social psych and philosophy have been interested in human existence and how people see themselves Social psychs early history 1 published social psych experiment in the American Journal of Psychology how performance is affected by the presence of other people. Norman Triplett curious about a pattern he noticed in bicycle racing times racing records show faster times in multi-rider competitive races than individual races against the clock Then performed an experiment where children were asked turn a crank on a fishing reel as quickly as possible alone and with other children faster when they were competing with other children social facilitation Behaviourism an approach in psych that assumes that behaviour can be explained purely in terms of stimulus-response connections established through experience and reinforcement Kurt Lewin father of modern social psych generally opposed to behaviourism and instead believed in GESAULT PSYCHOLOGY: o An approach in psych that assumes that peoples overall subjective interpretations of objects are more important than the objects physical features, and that objects are perceived in their totality, as a unit, rather than in terms of their individual features Social psych came out of the Second World War (50s and 60s) as a field that used experimental techniques to study social behaviour investigated issues such as conformity, obedience and authority, attitude change, inter-group conflict The many contexts of social psych The culture context - must understand cultural differences and know that maybe a theory or experiment in North America cannot be generalized to the whole world difficult to look at the world without a cultural bias The health context The law context our daily social behaviour is shaped and influenced by these rules and laws which is based on powerful principles of social psych High self-monitor one who is especially sensitive to external, situational cues in interpersonal settings and uses these external cues to guide behaviour Low self-monitor person who uses internal cues and personal attributes as a guide to behaviour Ways to see social psych in action: Learn about yourself Be a research participant Do your own research Dig deeper Social psych is all around you Watch TV cultural differences, persuasion in commercials, influence of American TV networks on how Canadians view the world Read the newspaper and magazines persuasion techniques used by effective writers Surf the web less restricted than other mass media, easier to find extreme examples of violence and racism Observe others in their natural environments Observe yourself Chapter 3 Social Cognition: Thinking about people Categorization process of recognizing and identifying something most basic process we use to understand and structure our world Social cognition the study of how information about people is processed and stored Generally 2 basic motives that underlie human info processing: Perceive t
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