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Soc Psych 1ZO3 Midterm Review.docx

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Social Psychology
Paul Glavin

Midterm Review February0513 638 PM Social Psychologythe systemic study of the nature and causes of human social behaviourChapter 1Theoretical Perspectives Role TheoryMuch of observable social behaviour is people carrying out their roles similar to actors performing on a stage According to role theory to change a persons behaviour it is necessary to change or redefine his or her rolePropositions in Role Theory1 People spend much of their lives participating in groups and organizations2 Within these groups people occupy distinct positions3 Each of these positions entails a role which is a set of functions performed by the person for the group4 Groups formalize these expectations as norms which are rules specifying how a person should behave5 Individuals usually carry out their roles and perform according to the norms6 Group members check each individuals performance to determine whether it conforms to the groups normsImpact of RolesIn order to change a persons behaviour we must redefine his or her role A persons role does not only determine behaviour but beliefs and attitudesLimitations of Role Theory Role theory has difficulty explaining deviant behaviour or any behaviour that violates the norms defining a given roleo Deviant behaviour violates the demands of roles Role theory does not and cannot explain how role expectations originate or how they changeReinforcement TheoryCentral propositiono People are more likely to perform a behavior if it is followed by something pleasurable or by the removal of something aversiveo People will refrain from a particular behaviour if it is followed by something aversive or the removal of something pleasantConditioning In conditioning a relationship is established between emitting a response and receiving a reinforcement If a person emits a particular response and this response is then reinforced the connection between response and reinforcement is strengthenedStimulusResponse Any event that leads to an alteration or change in behaviour is called a stimulus The change in behaviour induced by a stimulus is called a response A reinforcement is any favourable outcome that results from a response Stimulus discrimination occurs when a person learns the exact conditions under which a response will be reinforced Reinforcement Theory Reinforcement theory portrays individuals as reacting to environmental stimuli rather than as initiating behaviour based on imaginative or creating thoughtLimitations Reinforcement theory cannot easily explain altruism and martyrdomCognitive Theory The mental activities cognitive processes of the individual are important determinants of social behaviour These cognitive processes include perception memory judgement problem solving and decision making An individuals cognitive processes intervene between external stimuli and behavioural responsesCognitive Structure and Schemas Cognitive structure refers to any type of organization among cognitions concepts and beliefs Social psychologists propose that individuals use on kind of cognitive structure called Schemas to explain complex information about other people groups and situations Cognitive Consistency Maintains that individuals strive to hold ideas that are consistent with one another rather than ideas that are inconsistent or incongruous If a person holds several ideas that are incongruous or inconsistent then heshe will experience internal conflictLimitations of Cognitive Theory Cognitive theory simplifies the way people process information an inherently complex phenomenon Cognitive phenomena are not directly observable they must be inferred from what people say and doSymbolic Interaction Theory Human nature and social order are products of symbolic communication among people Much like cognitive theory but with an increased emphasis on interaction between an individual and society In this perspective a persons behaviour is constructed through a give and take during his or her interaction with others The Self occupies a central place in symbolic interaction theory because social order is hypothesized to rest in part on selfcontrol Because individuals are continually engaging in role taking they see themselves from the viewpoint of others Individuals care most about the opinions of significant others people who control important rewards or occupy key positions in their groupsLimitations of Symbolic Interaction Theory Overemphasizes rational selfconscious thought and deemphasizes unconscious or emotional states The individual is depicted as a specific personality typean otherdirected person who is concerned primarily with maintaining selfrespect by meeting others standards Places too much emphasis on cooperation and neglects the importance of conflictEvolution Theory Evolutionary social psychologists extend evolutionary ideas to explain social behaviouro The predisposition toward certain behaviours is encoded in our genetic material and is passed on through reproductiono Characteristics that enable the individual to survive and pass on its genetic code will eventually occur more frequently Circular reasoningo Why did the behaviour begin in the first place Ignores the role of cultural and social factorso Choice of mates has changed historicallyResearch MethodsMethods of testing causal relationships between phenomenao If this is at this level than THIS will be at this level Variable
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