Lecture 1.docx

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Professor Stephen Killianski

Social Psychology – Lecture 1 Chapter 1 Social psychology - scientific study of feelings (affect), thoughts (cognition), and behaviors related to social situations - non conscious mental processes included in cognition - social situations can be real or imagined General social psychology research questions - How are people influenced by the presence others? - How do people make sense of social situations? (Are they serious? Kidding? Telling the truth? Lying?) - How do people explain the behaviors of others? (We need to know what other people are thinking, their intentions, and their motives are. Personality is important.) - How do people explain their own behavior and their own beliefs and feelings? Comparing Social Psychology to Other Social Research - Social Psychology - focuses on how social situations can influence the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of an individual (how most individuals will behave in most social contexts; somewhat uniformly affects individuals in that context) - Personality Psychology - focuses on how differences between individuals influence thoughts, feelings and behaviors (within the individual mind rather than social context; pays attention to individual differences) - Sociology – focuses on behavior of communities and groups, not individuals Power of the Situation - Situations can often exert greater influence on behavior than personality or past experience (can cause people to react out of character) -Example: Nazi Germany Were all Nazi soldiers and collaborators truly evil people, or were most of them normal people who were following orders? (Was it really their choice, or was it due to the structure of their society that influenced their decisions in the nazi period?) - Stanley Milgram questions in his study The Milgram “Experiment” (Demonstration) - Experimental set-up – experiment described as a “study of learning and punishment” - (Middle-aged men in New Haven Connecticut) -You are assigned the role of teacher - You read off the word pairs to the learner, then start the “test” - You are instructed to shock another participant for any wrong answers - Shock level increased for each wrong answer – shock levels ranged from 15 volts (slight shock) to 450 volts (danger: severe shock) - During the experiment, the confederate begins to scream in pain and demand that the experiment end - Later, the confederate stops making any sounds, and does not respond to you at all - If you are reluctant to continue, the experimenter, wearing a white lab coat, instructs you to continue with the exper
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