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Elizabeth Page- Gould

PSYB10 Notes Chapter 1: Intro to Social Psychology -the task of the social psychologist is to try and understand and predict human behaviour What is Social Psychology? -at the heart of social psychology is social influence -social influence extends beyond behaviour to include our thoughts and feelings and takes on may forms other than deliberate attempts at persuasion -social psychologists are interested in studying how and why our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are shaped by the entire social envir The Power of Social Interpretation -social psychology is distinct primarily b/c it is concerned with how ppl are influences by their interpretations or construal of their social envir -it is more important to understand how they perceive, comprehend and interpret their social world -s.psyc is an experimentally based science that tests empirically and systematically Some Alternate Ways of Understanding Social Influence Folk Wisdom -journalists, social critics and novelists commentaries are referred to as folk wisdom or common sense -on prob - diff folk wisdoms disagree with one another, and there is no easy way of determining which is correct -these speculations underestimate the power of the situation -b/c so called common sense frequently turns out to be wrong or oversimplified, ppl tend not to learn from previous incidents -pg 8: described a bunch of cult mass suicides -> Ugandan move for the restoration of the ten commandments of god; yearning for zion mormon sect (warren jeffs) -in these instances, most ppl blamed the victims saying they were weak, had a mental illness etc -one of the tasks of social psychologists is to make educated guesses and to design experiments that demonstrate the specific situation under which one folk tale or the other applies Social Psychology Compared with Sociology -s.psycs focus on social behaviour is shared by sociology but there is a diff in the level of analysis -s.psyc is rooted in an interest in indiv human beings, with an emphasis on psychological processes -for the social psychologist, the level of analysis is the individual in the context of the social situation -sociology is more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a given society -the major diff is this: sociology, rather than focusing on the psychology of the indiv, tends toward a more macro focus -the goal of social psyc is to identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or culture Social Psychology Compared with Personality Psychology -personality psychologists focus their attn on individual diff - the aspects of an indivs personality that make him or her diff from other indivs -social psyc are convinced that explaining behaviour primarily in terms of personality factors ignores a critical part of the story, the powerful role played by social influence -Table 1.1 Pg 11 -social psyc is in b/w sociology and psychology -it shares with soc an interest in situational and societal influences on behaviour but focuses more on the psychological makeup of indivs that renders them susceptible to social infuence -it shares with personality psyc an emphasis on the psychology of the indiv but rather than focusing on what makes ppl diff,it looks at what psychological processes are shared that make them susceptible to social influence The Power of SOcial Influence -there is a big barrier for social psyc: the inclination that we all have to explain ppls behaviour in terms of their personality -this is the fundamental attribution error: the tendency to explain ppls behaviour in terms of personality traits, thereby underestimating the power of social influence Understanding the Power of Social Influence www.notesolution.com PSYB10 Notes -when we underestimate the power of social influence we experience false security -we tend to oversimplify complex situations which decreases our understanding and leads us to blame the victim -Lee Ross and Steven Samuels (1993) chose a group of students who were considered by their RA as cooperative or competitive ; half of these students were told that they were to play a game called the wall street game, the other half, the community game. -when it was called the wall street game, only 1/3 of the ppl responded cooperatively and when it was called the community game, 2/3rds cooperated regardless of whether the group had been labelled as cooperative or competitive by their RA -the name of the game conveyed strong social norms The Subjectivity of the Social Situation -one strategy to specify the objective properties of the situation is behaviourism: to understand human behaviour, one need only consider the reinforcing properties of the envir -watson and skinner --> all behaviour could be explained by examining rewards and punishment -this approach is proven inadequate for a complete understanding of the world -this emphasis on construal has its roots in gestalt psyc: theory that holds that we should study the subjective way in which an object appears in ppls minds rather than the way in which the objective physical attributes of the object combine -formulated in Germany by Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Kohler and Max Wertheimer -their student, kurt Lewin is considered the father of social psyc -Lewin applied gestalt principles beyond the perception of objects to social perception Where Construals Come From: Basic Human Motives -2 motives are of primary importance: the need to be accurate and the need to feel good about ourselves -Leon Festinger realized that it is when these two motives tug an indiv in opposite directions that we can gain our most valuable insights The Self Esteem Approach: The Need to Feel Good About OUrselves -self esteem: to see the self as good, competent and decent Justifying Past Behaviour -it is v difficult to own up to major deficiencies in ourselves, even when the cost is seeing the world inaccurately -the consequence is that it decreases the probability that the indiv will learn from experience Suffering and Self Justification -to avoid feeling like a fool, we will try to justify our decisions to undergo certain things such as hazing -study: the more unpleasant the procedure the participants underwent to get into a group, the more they liked the group *humans are motivated to maintain a positive picture of themselves, by justifying past behaviour *this may lead them to do things that at first glance may be suprising The Social Cognition Approach: The Need to be Accurate -one of the hallmarks of being human is our ability to reason Social Cognition - how ppl think about themselves and the social world; how ppl select, interpret, remember and use social info -researchers begin with the assumption that ppl try to view the world as accurately as possible -we frequently run into problems b/c we almost never know all the facts Expectations about the Social World -sometimes our expectations get in the way of our accurate perception of it -Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) - self fulfilling prophecy in elementary schools Other Motives: Ensuring our Survival and Coping with Mortality -biological drives can be powerful motives, ie fear, love, favours etc Ensuring our Survival -central tenet to evo psyc which attempts to explain social behaviour in terms of genetic factors that evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection -generally interpreted to mean that human behaviour is driven by bio alone, but current evo theorists say that bio is responsive to the envir Terror Management Theory -the awareness that one day we will die produces fear and ppl will go to great lengths to reduce this fear www.notesolution.com PSYB10 Notes -reminding ppl of their mortality sets in motion coping responses which often involve boosting ones self esteem -study: when interviewed outside a funeral home about attitudes toward local charities, ppl expressed more positive attitudes and when asked to donate, donated more -schimel found that when ppls world views are threatened, thoughts of death are also more accessible -participants highly invested in canadian culture who read a website that attacked canadian values reported more death related threats than when they read one that attacked australian values -conc: cultural world views shield us from thoughts of death Social Psychology and Social Problems -s.psyc can be defined as the scientific study of social influence, and social influence can best be understood by focusing on the major roots of human behaviour -one reason for studying what they study is to contribute to the solution of social problems -reduction of prejudice, hostility, increase altruism and generosity, educate ppl to practise safer sex, develop effective negotiation strategies , help ppl adjust to life changes etc -Canadas warning msgs on cigarette packages are more effective but a similar fear inducing approach to aids does not produce the desired effect -when ppl have been exposed to frightening msgs, instead of engaging in rational prob solving behaviour, most tend to reduce that fear by engaging in denial -the process of denial stems from the desire to maintain self esteem Chapter 2: Methodology Social Psychology: An Empirical Science -hindsight bias: when ppl exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that is occurred -Rose and Olson (1996): they asked students to read a story about WWI both with different endings and no matter what group the students in, all believed that the outcome of their version was obvious Formulating Hypothesis and Theories: -theory: an organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phen
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