PSYCH 105 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Self Esteem (Song), Milgram Experiment, Dependent And Independent Variables

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16 May 2017
Social Psych Notes
What kinds of things do we regret most?
Thigs that e’e doe
Thigs that e did’t do
But hat aout egets he e’e ouge?
o Follow up research:
We actually have stronger regrets for our actions.
But then we make amends and over tie, do’t feel so ad.
We have more short-term regret for actions, but more long term regret
for inactions.
Power of the situation
o Our behavior is often caused more by factors in our surrounding situation than
by aspects of our unique personalities.
The Milgram Experiment
o Desied as a stud of leaig
o Instructed to shock another participant for any wrong answers.
o At higher shock levels, the learner begins to scream in pain and demand that the
experiment ends.
o Later, the learner stops making any sound at all. Possibly dead?
o Experimenter just repeats- it is important to the experiment that you continue.
o The participant did not know this but, the learner never received shocks.
o Despite screams, 62.5% kept shocking the learner all the way to XXX.
o Scientists predicated that <1% would go this far.
o True across different ages, genders, races, and social classes.
o 60% of typical Americans obeyed orders from an authority figure even though
they believed those orders could result in harming another person.
Channel Factors
Channel factors= small situational factors leading to large effects on behavior by guiding
behavior in a particular direction.
o Ex. More likely to get the flu if given a campus map.
Major themes in social psychology:
- Construal
o Interpretation and inferences made about a stimulus or situation.
o Interpretation is an active process.
Interpretations are subjective, not objective.
Interpretations may misrepresent the truth.
o Construal can govern behavior.
- Automatic vs. Controlled processing
o Think about what it was like when you first learned to ride a bike.
How do you ride a bike?
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How would you explain it to a small child to help them not fall over?
o Do you need to consciously think about those things anymore?
- Social and nonsocial information may be processed two different ways.
o Automatic processing.
Automatic, involuntary, and unconscious
Often based on emotional responses.
Influences us without our awareness
Muscular feedback
o E.g. ratings of attractiveness when pushing vs. pulling your
hand on a surface.
o Controlled processing
Conscious, systematic, and deliberate.
Controlled processing can override automatic responses.
Research Methods in Social Psychology
Hypotheses: testable beliefs about the relationship between events.
Attractive people are more successful
Violent TV viewing leads to violent behavior.
Formulating hypotheses
- Hypotheses can be based on:
o Personal Observations
Personal experience, current events, and literature can provide
hypotheses to read (e.g. spotlight effect).
o Previous theories and research
Science is cumulative- generate hypotheses based on prior research (e.g.
U shaped function of arousal)
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior
- Correlation Methods: Measuring behaviors and thoughts in their natural state.
o Observational Research
Systematically observing participants in social situations.
Behaviors may be recorded and categorized
May involve additional measures to supplement the observations.
Pros- real behavior, real situations. No problem generalizing i.e., making
claims about other situations on the basis of this one study.
Cons- People ight at diffeetl he the’e eig athed. Caot
determine cause.
o Surveys
Asking participants questions through an interview or questionnaires.
Pros- Can study difficult to observe behaviors and thoughts.
Cons- Participants might be biased or untruthful.
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Especially when concerned about how others might judge you.
The ways questions are worded can bias how people answer.
o Archival Research
Analyzing social behaviors documented in publicly available records,
often historical.
News, police reports, hospital records, national polls. Google
Can be used to test theories about social behavior.
o E.G., changes in attitudes and behaviors across time.
Pros- access to large amounts of data, no difficulty generalizing.
Cons- a iteestig ehaios ae ot eoded; a’t
determine cause.
1988 study-
Sample- NFL and NHL records.
Dark uniforms
- Experimental methods: manipulating social processes varying aspects of the situation.
Characteristics of experiments
- Participants are randomly assigned to one of multiple conditions.
- The conditions differ in some way that is manipulated by the researcher.
- With random assignment, we can assume that: differences between people should be
evenly distributed across conditions.
- Therefore, these individual differences are not the cause of any difference between
- Differences between conditions are caused by the experimental manipulation.
Experimental Research
- Independent variable: the variable that is manipulated by the researcher.
- Dependent variable: the variable that is measured- often a change in behavior, feelings,
or thoughts.
- Two types of experimental research:
o Field studies
Behavior measured in the real world, but including a manipulation.
Patiipats ael ko the’e i a epeiet.
PROS- Real behavior, real situations
CONS- less control over extraneous factors; measures often limited to
observable behaviors; ethical considerations.
o Lab studies
A controlled experiment with complete control over the variables in the
PROS- more control over variables than any other method. Ability to use
invasive methods. Best method for determining causation.
CONS- Might not generalize to real life; suspicion.
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