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PSYB10 Midterm Study Notes (Fall 2012)

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (CHAPTER 1) Definition of social psychology - The scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by the real or imagined presence of others ABCs of social psychology - Affect  emotions, feelings, mood - Behaviour  verbal, nonverbal - Cognition  thought, sensation, perception, processing, memory History of social psychology - Wundt o Experimental psychology - Triplett o Social facilitation  Performance is affected by presence of others - Lewin o Dyadic interactionism - World War II o Government interest in social psychology to persuade using propaganda through the study of war bond ads - Cultural events o Kitty Genovese  Bystander apathy o Jonestown mass suicide  Destructive cult METHODOLOGY (CHAPTER 2) Experimental method (hypothetico-deductive method) - To determine causal relationships - By changing only one aspect of the situation, they can test whether this aspect is the cause of the behaviour in question - The method in which researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions and ensures that these conditions are identical except for the independent variable 1. Examine past knowledge or research 2. Form a theory 3. Operationalize the theory into a hypothesis 4. Test hypothesis 5. Revise theory - Independent variable (IV) o The variable that is changed or varied to see if it has an effect on the DV - Dependent variable (DV) o The variable that is measured to see if it is influenced by the IV - Internal validity o Keeping everything the same in different conditions except the IV o Making sure that only the IV can affect the DV o Accomplished by controlling all extraneous variables and by randomly assigning people to different experimental conditions o Probability level (p-value)  A number that tells researchers how likely it is that the results occurred by chance and not because of the IV  p < 0.05 is considered significant that the results might be attributed to chance factors and not the IV - External validity o The extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other real-life situations and other people in general o Generalizability across situations  Mundane realism  The extent to which an experiment is similar to real-life situations  Difficult to achieve realism in a laboratory setting  Psychological realism  The extent to which the psychological processes triggered in an experiment are to similar psychological processes that occur in everyday life  People don’t always know what they will do until it happens  Cannot depend on people’s predictions about what they would do in a hypothetical situation  Cover story  A description of the purpose of a study given to participants that is different from its true purpose o Used to maintain psychological realism o Generalizability across people  Ensure that participants are randomly selected  Expensive to select random samples  Assume that psychologically processes are universally shared o Replication  Repeating a study with different subject populations, in different settings or by using different methods o Meta analysis  A statistical technique that averages the results of two or more studies to see if the effect of an IV is reliable Research designs - Correlational designs o Key features  Two or more DVs (no defined “predictor” and “outcome”)  No experimental manipulation  Random sampling o Statistical analysis  Correlation  Regression  Bayesian o Interpretation  Covariance  Prediction  No causation - Quasi-experimental designs o Key features  Defined IV “predictor” and DV “outcome”  IV is not manipulated  Stratified random sampling  Control group required o Experiment  Theory of mind  Kids don’t realize that each person has a separate brain and separate thoughts  Kids develop theory of mind around age 4  Age 3 group o Shown a bag of M&M with pencils inside o Says dad will think there are pencils inside  Age 5 group o Shown a bag of M&M with pencils inside o Says dad will think there are M&M inside o Statistical analysis  Correlation  Regression  ANOVA Bayesian o Interpretation  Covariance  Prediction  Differences  No causation - Experimental designs o Key features  IV is manipulated  Random assignment to condition  To minimize differences among participants as the cause of the results  The process whereby all participants have an equal chance of taking part in any condition of an experiment  The differences in participants’ personalities or backgrounds are distributed evenly across conditions  Control group required o Statistical analysis  Regression  ANOVA  Bayesian o Interpretation  IV causes DV Ethical issues in social psychology - Informed consent o Agreement to participate in an experiment o Fully aware of the nature of the experiment - Deception o Participants are mislead about the true purpose of a study - Debriefing o Post-experimental interview, especially but not limited to when deception is used o To explain the true purpose of the study and what exactly happened  Evidence that participants who had been deceived were more likely to agree with deception research than those who had not experienced deception o Attempt to alleviate any discomfort experienced  Evidence that people continue to believe the false feedback even after being told that it was fake o Serving as an educational function SOCIAL COGNITION (CHAPTER 3) Social cognition - How people think about themselves and the social world - How people select, interpret, remember, and use social information - Thinking about social objects Social objects - A physical object that has the ability to engage in social cognition Automatic thinking - Thinking that is non-conscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless - Automatic analysis of our environments based on our past experiences and knowledge of the world - Helps us understand new situations by relating them to our prior experiences through the use of schemas Cognition - Perception  Becoming aware of something through the senses o Pre-attentive processes  rapid processing of a complex scene  Rapid is less than 250 ms  Complex is a large, multi-element display of information  Something that “catches your eye” or “pops out at you”  Reflect something that is more fundamental for survival  E.g. weapons bias  When you see a table of random objects and one of them is a gun, then people quickly look at the gun first o Gaze detection  If you are walking through a crowd and if someone is starting at you, then you might stare back - Processing / Encoding o Encoding  Selecting information from the environment and storing it in memory o Attention  Selective perception  E.g. selective visual attention test  Are you able control your attention on seeing only the white shirts? o Schemas  Mental structures used to organize knowledge about the social world based on similar concepts, themes or subjects  Contain our basic knowledge and impressions that we use to organize what we know about the social world and interpret new situations  Efficient processing  Guide attention and memory  Bias against schema incongruent information  Self-fulfilling prophecy o Our expectations changes our behaviour which, in turn, causes the other person to behave consistently with our original expectations o Our expectations for a social situation actually changes the social environment to create what you expected o Your expectations shape the social environment o E.g. teachers’ expectations for students become reality  Those whom the teachers expected to do well actually improved more than the other students  Stereotypes about race and violence  Schemas are commonly referred to as stereotypes when applied to members of a social group o Automatic thinking about race and crime o Not limited to stereotypes about black people  Stereotypes can be applied rapidly and automatically when we encounter other people  E.g. Shooter task o Participants were more likely to pull the trigger when the people in the picture were black, whether or not they were holding a gun  Participants made few errors when a black person was holding a gun  Participants made the most errors when a black person was not holding a gun o Participants were more likely to make mistakes by shooting black men who were unarmed  Function of schemas  To have continuity  To relate new experiences to our past schemas  Schemas as memory guides  Persistence of schemas  Perseverance effect  The schema’s resistance to change even in light of contradictory information - Storage / Knowledge Representation o Prototype theory of categorization  Objects are classified based on similarity to a prototype  Semantic network  Related concepts are stored closely together in memory  Spreading activation  Thinking about one concept will activate, prime or make accessible a related concept and inhibit unrelated concepts - Retrieval / Application o Accessibility  The extent to which concepts are at the forefront of your mind  Accessible concepts shape social cognition  Ironic effects of thought suppression  Trying to suppress a thought makes it become hyperaccessible o Overconfidence barrier  People have too much confidence in the accuracy of their judgements o Priming  The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of another related concept Algorithms  Mechanical, step-by-step process for arriving at an answer - Slow and deliberate - Serial processing - Requires effort and cognitive resources - Highly successful - Low error rates Heuristics  Mental shortcuts - Fast and efficient - Parallel processing - Error prone - Judgemental heuristic  A mental shortcut whereby people use to make judgements quickly and efficiently o Availability heuristic  A mental shortcut whereby people base a judgement on the ease with which they can bring something to mind  Stems from the way our knowledge is organized  Relies on accessibility  Can be advantageous or disadvantageous  Refer to page 70 for examples  Physicians and diagnoses  Friends and personalities  Self and personalities (e.g. assertiveness) o Listing 6 situations versus 12 situations of past behaviour o 12 things is harder to think of than 6, so participants rated themselves as being less assertive o Representativeness heuristic  A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case  Base rate information  Information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population  Base rate bias  The tendency to underestimate the impact of base rates on accurate prediction  This happens when an individual making a probability judgment ignores available statistical data and relies on irrelevant information  This is when we ignore base rate information  People do not use the base rate information sufficiently o People pay attention to how representative the information is of the general category o Anchoring and adjustment heuristic  Anchoring  The mental shortcut whereby people make judgements using the first answer that came to them as an “anchor”  Adjustment  The bias whereby even when people learn their anchor is untrustworthy, they do not adjust sufficiently away from it  We use initial pieces of information, or anchors, to arrive at a final decision and that decision will vary depending on the anchor that we use o Simulation heuristic  A mental shortcut whereby people overestimate the probably of an event if they can imagine or simulate it in their minds  To think that events that are easy to image are more likely  Counterfactual thinking  The tendency people have to imagine some aspect of the past as what might have been  How things could have turned out different if only... and also to imagine what if? Cultural differences - Analytical thinking style  People focus on the properties of the objects without considering the surrounding context (Western cultures) - Holistic thinking style  People focus on the overall context in how the objects relate to one another (Eastern cultures) - Greater cortical activation means that the participant had to exert more attention when asked to perceive objects in a way that was not typical PERSON PERCEPTION (CHAPTER 4) Types of social information - Behaviour o Verbal behaviour o Nonverbal behaviour  Emblems  Gestures that have well-understood meaning and widely accepted within a culture  Communicates a meaning or phrase that everybody understands  Serves the purpose of language  Thin Slices  The attributional power of brief exposure to others  Accurate at detecting other people’s personality traits and unobservable demographic characteristics from very quick brief exposure  E.g. socioeconomic status (SES) in social interactions o Low SES participants spend less time grooming, doodling, manipulating objects o High SES participants are less likely to pay attention to and focus on the situation o Naive observers able to detect objective SES (parents’ income, mothers’ education) o Naive observers able to detect subjective SES (relative standing in the community)  E.g. ambiguous groups o Can you categorize a person into an ambiguous group from their face alone? o You don’t know whether or not someone belongs to the ambiguous group o The person has to tell you that they are in a group for you to know o Not a single face is rated 100% straight or 100% gay o Not a single face is obviously one way or the other o Population accuracy for ambiguous groups is 64%, which is above chance - Context o Provides additional input o Can completely change attribution - Schemas o What you expect is what you get Attribution  Explanation for an observed behaviour of a social object - Automaticity of attributions o Very automatic  We make attributions for other people’s behaviour instantaneously o Attributions are like pattern matching - Attribution theory  The way in which people explain the causes of their own and other people’s behaviour o Internal attributions  Attributing a person’s behaviour to something intrinsic to that person (personality, disposition, attitude, character)  E.g. satisfied marriages make more internal attributions for the partner’s positive behaviour and external attributions for negative behaviour o External attributions  Attributing a person’s behaviour to something about the situation in which the behaviour occurred  E.g. distressed marriages make more external attributions for the partner’s behaviour and internal attributions for negative behaviour  Does not change beliefs regarding person’s character or personality o Correspondence bias  Tendency to infer that a person’s behaviour corresponds to their internal disposition, personality, or attitude o Fundamental attribution error (FAE) also the actor/observer difference  When perceiving others  Tendency to overestimate the influence of internal causes for behaviour and underestimate external causes  When perceiving self  Tendency to overestimate the influence of external causes for own behaviour  E.g. essay writer’s attitude about Castro o In both conditions, participants assumed the content of the essay reflected the author’s true feelings  E.g. tendency to believe that when someone tells us that we are wonderful that they really mean it from inside o Even if you know they were told to say so  Cultural variability in FAE  E.g. analysis of Chinese and English language newspaper articles written about Gang Lu in the same local area o English language newspapers tend to make more internal attributions for Gang Lu’s behaviour o Chinese language newspapers tend to make more external attributions for Gang Lu’s behaviour  People everywhere probably start off at the same point with the correspondence bias o Automatically make dispositional attributions o Look to the situation o Revise and correct first impression, especially if the situation is significant o Westerners tend to skip the second step, but are capable of coming up with situational explanations, but only if they are motivated to  Explanations for FAE  Perceptual salience o Tendency to overestimate the causal role of information that grabs our attention  When perceiving others  Tendency to look at the person  Overestimate internal attribution  We notice their behaviour more than the situation  E.g. people thought that the actor they could see better had the most impact on the conversation  E.g. videotape of suspect in interrogation room o Confession is rated as voluntary if focused on the criminal only o Making him appear more guilty  When perceiving self  Tendency to look at the world and not yourself  Overestimate external attribution  We notice our situation more than our own behaviour  Two-step process of attribution o FAE occurs through the same process as anchoring & adjustment heuristic (we know we shouldn’t make pure internal attributions) 1. Make an internal attribution 2. Attempt to adjust away from internal attribution by considering situational constraints if we have the time and energy  If we are distracted, we skip step 2 and make an internal attribution  Step 2 requires thinking carefully before making an attribution o Covariation theory  Assumption that people are lay statisticians and we take into account all of these factors when interpreting other people  Systematically examine multiple instances of behaviour, occurring at different times and in different situations  Three factors of attribution  Consensus  Do other people behave in this way? o High = Behaviour is common to all people o Low = Behaviour is unique to person  Distinctiveness  Does this person behave like this with other stimuli? o High = Behaviour is unique to situation (behaves like this in particular situations) o Low = Behaviour is common to person (behaves similarly in all situations)  Consistency  Does this person behave like this over time? o High = Behaviour is common to the person (Jane is generous) o Low = Behaviour is unique to this moment in time (Jane is generous during the holidays) Consensus Distinctiveness Consistency Attribution Low Low High Internal High High High External High or Low High or Low Low Situational - Self-serving attributions o Positive outcomes for self  Tendency to explain it in terms of internal factors o Negative outcomes for self  Tendency t o explain it in terms of external factors o Defensive attributions  Explanations for behaviour that defend us from feelings of vulnerability and mortality  Unrealistic optimism  Bad things are less likely to happen to you than to other people  Good things are more likely to happen to you than other people  Just world hypothesis  Belief that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people  Gives us a sense of control over the world  Motivate us to invest in our future o Our long-term investments would be rewarded according to principles of fairness and justice  When faced with a misfortune, we convince ourselves that good things will happen down the road to even out the score  Leads to rejection and blaming of victims of negative outcomes o People get what they deserve o E.g. women and rape o E.g. women and domestic violence o False consensus effect  Assumption that more people share your beliefs, attitudes, and preferences than they actually do  E.g. cheating on test  Cheaters think 70% of people are cheating  Non-cheaters think 16% of people are cheating o Ultimate attribution error  Tendency to make internal attributions about an entire group’s disposition based on the behaviour of one outgroup member  E.g. shoving a White person by White person or Black person  White person perceived as horsing around  Black person perceived as being aggressive - Prediction o Accuracy of impressions  Very difficult to tell truth from lie o Implicit personality theories  Types of schemas used to group certain personality traits together  When we are trying to understand other people, we can use a few observations of a person as a starting point and use our schemas to create a fuller understanding of what the person is like  Schemas allow us to form impressions quickly, without having to spend weeks with people trying to figure out what they are like  E.g. a person that is kind is also generous  E.g. using condoms during sex to protect against HIV  Knowing partner versus how a stranger is dressed  This theory is not an accurate indicator of whether or not a sexual partner has HIV or AIDS SOCIAL INTERACTION Social interaction  Back-and-forth exchange of verbal and nonverbal behaviour between 2 or more people - Average time span o Non-conflict interactions = 10 minutes o Conflict interactions = 3 minutes - Methods of communication o In person o Over the phone o Online - Models of social interaction o Field theory  A person’s behaviour is a function of who they are (the person) and the situation they are in (the environment)  B = f(P,E)  B = Be
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