Notes for Social Psychology
So what is social psychology?
o The scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors
are influenced by the actual or imagined presence of others.
Primary thesis of social psychology
o Human social thought and social behavior is governed heavily by the
situation in which the thoughts and behaviors occur.
Secondary these of social psych.
o The power of situational forces is far greater than people tend to think
Patty Hurst kidnapping
o Social thought and social behavior often do not fit into commonsense
Jim Jones & People’s Temple
o People’s perceptions are more important (in affecting social behavior
and thought) than are the objective features of the situation.
o Social thought and social behavior are a function of both the person
and the situation
Iraqi prisons and American soldiers: abuse
The importance of empiricism: how we study social psychology
Isn’t social psych common sense?
o Opposites attract (birds of a feather flock together)
o Out of sight, out of mind (absence makes the heart grow founder)
o Look before you leap (he who hesitates is lost)
o The social sciences turn up “no ideas or conclusions that cant be found
in [any] encyclopedia of quotations…Day after day social scientists go
out into the world. Day after day they discover that people’s behavior
is pretty much what you’d expect.”- Cullen Murphy
The hindsight bias
o The tendency to overestimate, after learning an outcome, one’s ability
to have foreseen the outcome
o Outcomes seem obvious after the fact.
o Fischoff (1975)
War between British and Gurkas in India
o Teigen (1986)
Love is stronger than fear
Fear is stronger than love
Always agreed with the statement they got
o Sports games, elections, trial outcomes, studying for tests, etc.
o Social psychology is full of counter-intuitive findings.
Claims often made in the media
o High school con