Notes for Social Psychology.docx

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Social Psychology
SOP 3004
Steve Charman

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 it is  Patty Hurst kidnapping o Social thought and social behavior often do not fit into commonsense theories  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
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