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Social Psychology

20 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA02H3
Professor
John Bassili

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Chapter 15- Social Psychology
Social Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies our social nature-how the
actual, imagined or implied presence of others influences our thoughts, feelings and
behaviours (in the words of Gordon Allport)
Social Cognition
- social cognition: the processes involved in perceiving, interpreting, and acting on social
information
Schemata and Social Cognition
- we form impressions of others: friends, family, neighbours; assign characteristics to
people
- part of social psychology is to understand how we form these impressions
- impression formation: the way in which we integrate information about anothers
traits into a coherent sense of who the person is; involves complex rules and is NOT just
the simple sum of characteristics that we use to describe people
- Schema
- schema: a mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes
information about a person, place of thing
- help us in interpreting the world
- read laundry example (pg. 473)
- Central Traits
- central traits: personality attributes that organize and influence the interpretation of
other traits
- central traits impart meaning to other known traits and suggest the presence of yet
other traits that have yet to be revealed
- example- traits such as cold or warm
- polite or blunt though made no difference in impression, hence are known as
peripheral traits
- negative effect of cold though is stronger than the positive effect of warm”; negative
information, conveyed by a negative central trait- more discrepant and salient; people
are generally thought to have positive traits; bias toward positivity in impressions of
people
- gender difference (read foolish females and males example pg. 474)
- The Primacy Effect
- primacy effect: the tendency to form impressions of people based on the first
information we receive about them (first impression)
- read party example (pg. 474)
- trait labels from behavioural descriptions may become associated with almost any
www.notesolution.com
stimulus, including inanimate ones- not always right?
- reread section (pg. 474)
The Self
- self-concept: self-identity. Ones knowledge, feelings and ideas about oneself
- self: a persons distinct individuality
- self-concept is your self-identity; how you perceive yourself and interpret events that
are relevant to defining who you are
- core of the self-concept- self-schema
- self-schema: a mental framework that represents and synthesizes information about
oneself; a cognitive structure that organizes the knowledge, feelings and ideas that
constitute the self-concept
- self-concept is dynamic; changes with experience
- each of us has many potential selves that we might become, depending on experience
- thinking of ourselves only in terms of who we are at present does not accurately reflect
how we will think of ourselves in the future or the kind of person we might become
Culture and Social Psychology
- cross-cultural psychologists: a branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture
on behaviour
- culture traditionally referred to a group of people who live together in a common
environment who share customs and religious beliefs and practices and who often
resemble each other genetically
- now, however, definition of culture varies widely
- cultures differ with respect to two major classes of variables: biological and ecological
- biological variables include factors such as diet, genetics, and endemic diseases
- ecological variables include factors such as geography, climate, political systems,
population density, religion, cultural myths and education
- behavioural differences among people of different cultures result from differences in
biological and ecological variables
- in cross-cultural research, culture is considered to be a treatment variable- something
like an independent variable but cannot be assigned by psychologist performing
experiments and hence cross-cultural comparisons are subject to the same limitations
that affect other correlational studies
- cultural psychologists strive to better understand the psychological principles that
inform cultural practice and in turn, how these practices affect various psychological
processes
- read example about North American and Japanese children and food (pg. 476)- related
to self-concept
- two interpretations (construals) of self that reflect cultural differences: independent
www.notesolution.com
and interdependent construal
- independent construal emphasizes the uniqueness of the self, its autonomy from
others, and self- reliance
- interdependent construal emphasizes the interconnectedness of people and the role
that others play in developing an individuals self-concept; what others think of the
individual or do to the individual matter- person is extremely sensitive to others and
strives to form strong social bonds with them
- clarity refers to how confident people are that they possess particular attributes, how
sharply defined they believe those attributes are and how internally and temporally
consistent they think their attributes are- read examples (pg. 476)
- high self-concept clarity more closely matches an independent construal of self than an
interdependent construal
- change & Canadian (no change?) and Japanese (change is possible?) students (failure
and success example pg. 476)
- well-being and satisfaction among western students are more strongly associated with
individual achievement and self-reflective emotions such as pride where as eastern
students have been found to be strongly associated with interpersonal behaviours and
socially engaged emotions such as friendliness
Attribution
- attribution: the process by which people infer the causes of other peoples behaviour
- schemata leads us to the correct conclusions
- Disposition versus Situation
- primary classification that we make concerning the causes of a persons behaviours is
the relative importance of situational (or external) and dispositional (or internal) factors
- external factors: people, events, and other stimuli in an individuals environment that
can affect his or her thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours; stimuli in the physical
and social environment
- internal factors: an individuals traits, needs, and intentions, which can affect his or
her thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours; persons traits, needs and intentions
- one of the tasks of socialization is to learn what behaviours are expected in various
kinds of situations; once we learn that in certain situations most people act in a specific
way, we develop schemata for how we expect people to act in those situations; following
social customs etc
- we also learn what to expect from people as individuals; we characterize people (ex.
Friendly etc)
- Kelleys Theory of Attribution
- Kelley suggested that we attribute the behaviour of other people to external
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Chapter 15- Social Psychology Social Psychology: the branch of psychology that studies our social nature-how the actual, imagined or implied presence of others influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviours (in the words of Gordon Allport) Social Cognition - social cognition: the processes involved in perceiving, interpreting, and acting on social information Schemata and Social Cognition - we form impressions of others: friends, family, neighbours; assign characteristics to people - part of social psychology is to understand how we form these impressions - impression formation: the way in which we integrate information about anothers traits into a coherent sense of who the person is; involves complex rules and is NOT just the simple sum of characteristics that we use to describe people - Schema - schema: a mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information about a person, place of thing - help us in interpreting the world - read laundry example (pg. 473) - Central Traits - central traits: personality attributes that organize and influence the interpretation of other traits - central traits impart meaning to other known traits and suggest the presence of yet other traits that have yet to be revealed - example- traits such as cold or warm - polite or blunt though made no difference in impression, hence are known as peripheral traits - negative effect of cold though is stronger than the positive effect of warm; negative information, conveyed by a negative central trait- more discrepant and salient; people are generally thought to have positive traits; bias toward positivity in impressions of people - gender difference (read foolish females and males example pg. 474) - The Primacy Effect - primacy effect: the tendency to form impressions of people based on the first information we receive about them (first impression) - read party example (pg. 474) - trait labels from behavioural descriptions may become associated with almost any www.notesolution.com stimulus, including inanimate ones- not always right? - reread section (pg. 474) The Self - self-concept: self-identity. Ones knowledge, feelings and ideas about oneself - self: a persons distinct individuality - self-concept is your self-identity; how you perceive yourself and interpret events that are relevant to defining who you are - core of the self-concept- self-schema - self-schema: a mental framework that represents and synthesizes information about oneself; a cognitive structure that organizes the knowledge, feelings and ideas that constitute the self-concept - self-concept is dynamic; changes with experience - each of us has many potential selves that we might become, depending on experience - thinking of ourselves only in terms of who we are at present does not accurately reflect how we will think of ourselves in the future or the kind of person we might become Culture and Social Psychology - cross-cultural psychologists: a branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour - culture traditionally referred to a group of people who live together in a common environment who share customs and religious beliefs and practices and who often resemble each other genetically - now, however, definition of culture varies widely - cultures differ with respect to two major classes of variables: biological and ecological - biological variables include factors such as diet, genetics, and endemic diseases - ecological variables include factors such as geography, climate, political systems, population density, religion, cultural myths and education - behavioural differences among people of different cultures result from differences in biological and ecological variables - in cross-cultural research, culture is considered to be a treatment variable- something like an independent variable but cannot be assigned by psychologist performing experiments and hence cross-cultural comparisons are subject to the same limitations that affect other correlational studies - cultural psychologists strive to better understand the psychological principles that inform cultural practice and in turn, how these practices affect various psychological processes - read example about North American and Japanese children and food (pg. 476)- related to self-concept - two interpretations (construals) of self that reflect cultural differences: independent www.notesolution.com
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