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Midterm Study Guide

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Steve Livingston

Midterm Exam #1 Review Sheet (REVISED) Introduction to Social Psychology What is social psychology? (i.e., know the definition of the field) Textbook definition: It is a scientific study of how people think about, influence and relate to one another. Lecture definition: The scientific study of how an individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people The difference between the 2: - Individual aspect (social psychologist) and societal or group level (sociology). - thoughts (cognitions); feelings (affect or emotions) and behaviours known as the tripartite Model. - real and imagined (real person questioning your conscience, fictional character) presence. Social psychology uses the scientific method Social psychology has an individualized focus Social psychology examines both internal (thinking) and external (doing) aspects of the person Social psychology acknowledges the importance of both objective reality and subjective perceptions Broadly speaking, in what ways are we affected by other people? Our attitudes, behaviour, perception and self concept can be affected by our social surrounding. How we react to a friends insult depends on if we attribute it to hostility or a bad day. Sometimes the power of a social situation leads us to act in ways that depart from our espoused attitudes. Our cultures help define our situations. How does social psychology differ from common sense approaches to study these issues? Social psychology is considered trivial because it documents the obvious. However, it is not just common sense because we tend to exaggerate our ability to have foreseen how the event turned out after learning about its outcome. Social psychology faces two criticisms: 1) it is trivial because it documents the obvious and 2) it is dangerous because the findings could be used to manipulate people. The problem with common sense is that we invoke it after we know the facts. Experiments reveal that when people learn the outcome of an experiment, that outcome suddenly seems unsurprising. - Conformation bias leads you to see what you expect to see and discard things that you dont expect to see or dont already fit with you beliefs. So, you look for evidence to support your beliefs and in that sense, social psychology could seem like common sense. - Hindsight bias is where once you learn something then it becomes obvious to you. How does social psychology differ from sociology? Social Psychology pays attention to how the individual is affected by the group and how heshe influences the group. Also social psychology involves experiments where one variable is manipulated (independent variable) to see its effect on the other (dependent variable).Sociology on the other studies how a group of people is affected by a situation. Doesnt focus on the individual whereby social psy focuses on an avg individual.The differences between sociologists and social psychologists is that sociologists study groups where as the latter studies the average individuaSocial psychologists rely much more heavily on experiments in which they manipulate a factor, such as the presence or absence of peer influence, to see what effect it has whereas the factors sociologists study are difficult or unethical to manipulate. Personality psychologists focus on private internal functioning and on differences between individuals whereas social psychologists focus on our common humanity. 1 www.notesolution.comResearch Methods in Social Psychology What is the scientific method? What are the steps in the scientific method? Science is a method, it is not a collection of data and facts. If it was a collection of data and facts, then it would change all the time. The steps are Hypothesize, Operationalize, Measure, Evaluate, and ReviseReplicateReport Why is it necessary to replicate findings in science? To overcome experimenter bias, and see if the result was affected by the researchers personal beliefs and expectations. Also replicating findings increases the accuracy of the research. What is a theory? What is a hypothesis? What is the difference between a theory and a hypothesis? Theory: is a set of integrated principles that helps to explain and predict an observable event. Hypothesis: A testable proposition that describes the relationship if any exists between 2 events. Theories are ideas that summarize and explain facts. Theories not only summarize, they also imply testable predictions called hypotheses. A good theory: (1) Effectively summarizes a wide range of observations (2) Makes clear predictions that we can use to (a) confirm or modify the theory; (b) generate new exploration and (c) suggest practical application. Hypothesis tests the theory it is based on. Why must a scientific hypothesis be testable? Testable meaning that it can be subjected to an analysis based on evidence, where the evidence can either support or not support the hypothesis. So a hypothesis that cannot be subjected to analysis or empirical testing is not a good hypothesis as it does not summarize a theory and proves the hypothesis pointless or false. What is socially desirable responding? Why is it a concern for research using self-report measures? Socially desirable responding is where you provide answers based on the fact that whether or not they are socially acceptable i.e. fit in with the norms. It is a concern for self-report measures because this would not provide a genuine response as the image of our self would be displayed based on the fact that we are socially acceptable and nothing unique or unusual is provided. Why are operational definitions necessary? Propose operational definitions for a few social psychological variables of interest to you. Operational definition asks the question that how will the variables be measured? (or manipulated, in an experimental design) Precision is really important. Example: Self-esteem, operationalize by disassemble and reassemble a car and the speed in which they do that is a measure of self-esteem. (not true) What is observational research? Give an example. 2
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