PS270 Social Psychology
Lesson 1: Intro to Social Psych
Social Psychology: The scientific study of how think about, influence, and relate to one
Scientific Process: The systematic approach to studying the any facets of human social
behavior which rely on rigorous research methodologies.
Social Behavior and Thought: The way in which our social nature as human beings af-
fects the way in which we think and behave. How does the social world affect our
thoughts and actions?
Fundamental Attribution Error: When behavior is explained as a representation of the
kind of person one is.
Six Major Themes in Social Psychology
1) We construct our own social reality.
Social reality if not objective, we interact with out social environment and shape
our reality by what we think about ourselves and how we react to other people.
2) Our social intuitions are powerful, but sometimes perilous.
Our lives are empowered by the subterranean intuitive thinking and occasional-
ly imperiled due to predictable error.
3) Social influences shape our behavior.
4) Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape behavior
Our inner attitudes affect our behavior.
5) Social behavior is biologically rooted.
6) Relating to others is a basic need. Our relationship with others can be an important source of stress and pain as
well as joy and comfort.
Sociology Social Psychology Personality Psychology
Provides informa- Studies the psychological process- Studies the characteristics that
tion and theories es people have in common that make people unique and different
about societies, not make them susceptible to social from one another
individuals influence. How the individual and
his or her social environment in-
Social Representations: Socially shared beliefs. Widely held ideas and values, including
our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Help us make sense of the world.
1) Correlational Research Method
Asks what the relation is between variables x and y? Allows researchers to
identify whether the changes in one variable are associated with changes in the
Limitation of correlational research: It does not yield information on cause and
2) Experimental Research Method
Asks does variable x cause variable y? Allows researchers to determine casual
influence of one variable over the other.
Limitations of experimental research: Some variables cannot be manipulated,
(Cannot manipulate ones gender or socio=economic status. Cant have a group
of people start smoking cigarettes just for the experiment, because they would
behave in a way that they wouldnt in the real world)
Internal Validity: Conducting research in a laboratory setting allows researchers to con-
trol for many variable that could otherwise influence the results.
External Validity: The extent to which our studys results can be applied to other settings,
groups of people, and places. (Generalizing) Hindsight Bias: the tendency to exaggerate after learning an outcome, ones ability to
have foreseen how something turned out
Naturalistic Fallacy: the error of defining what is good in terms of what is observable
Mundane Realism: degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday sit-
Experimental Realism: degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its partici-
Lesson 2: The Self in A Social World
Self Schemas: Beliefs about the self that organize and guide processing of self-relevant
Self-Concept: Who you think you are, (All of our thoughts, and our beliefs about our-
Social Complexity: Linville, 1987. Wether people think about themselves as having many
distinct identities. (High complexity if: many identies, little overlap across identities)
Personal Identity: Those attributes that we see as defining who we are and making us
Social Identity: Those characteristics that link us to other people including social groups
that we belong to and our social roles, which refer to our relationships to other people.
Self-Efficacy: Peoples judgements of their capabilities to organize and execute courses
of action required to attain designated types of performances. It is not the skills one pos-
sess, rather their judgement of what they can do with the skills they do have. Provide
the basis for our well being (how motivated we are to accomplish tasks). Influenced by
many things, like prior experience, level of optimism, self-esteem, perceived self-control. Self-Esteem: A persons overall evaluation of sense or self-worth. One of the most fre-
quently used instruments for measuring global self-esteem is the Rosenberg Self-Es-
teem Scale (SES). The SES is designed to assess the degree to which people are gen-
erally satisfied with their lives and consider themselves worthy people.
Implicit Self Esteem- strength of associations between the self and good, solution for
the willing and able problem- not controllable
Social Comparison: Evaluating ones abilities and opinions by comparing oneself to oth-
ers. (ex. Me vs. society)
Temporal Comparison: comparison between how the self is viewed in the past or how
the self is expected to be viewed in the future (past & present)
Limits of Introspect: people usually THINK they know why they acted the way they did,
readily offer explanations (not necessarily accurate) [ex. Mariers problem solving study,
panty hoe, power saw)
*Guided by plausible, salient, and easy to articulate
Schacter 2 factor model
not always clear why arousal
need to look to external cues to infer which emotion we are experiencing
2) Predicting our behavior
- your predictions for yourself often dont beat chance, and other predictions
about you or base rate (how often it happens in general) often as a better predictor
Schematic: Means we have developed belief about ourselves or a generalization, in a
particular domain for a particular attribute.
Rumination: An involuntary, neurotic form of self-focus associated with threat or uncer-