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First Midterm Review

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Melany Banks

Introducing Social Psychology 10/5/2012 5:37:00 AM What is Social Psychology  It is a science that studies the influence of our situations, with special attention to how we view and affect one another o How people think about, influence, and relate to one another Social psychology is the scientific study of  Social thinking o How we perceive ourselves and others o What we believe o Judgments we make o Our attitudes  Social Influecne o Culture and biology o Pressures to conform o Persuasion o Groups of people  Social Relations o Helping o Aggression o Attraction and intimacy o Prejudice How much of our social world is just in our heads  Social behaviour varies not just with the objective situation, but how we construe it.  Social beliefs can be self fulfilling Summing up: Social psychology is an environmental science; revels how social environment influences behaviour Major themes in social psychology  Social Thinking o We construct our social reality  We have a urge to explain behaviour, to attribute it to come cause, and therefore, to make it seem orderly, predictable and controllable.  When someones behaviour is consistent we attribute it to their personality o Our social intuitions are often powerful but sometimes perilous  Our intuitions shape our fears, impressions, and relationships  Studies of automatic processing, implicit memory, heuristics, spontaneous train inference, instant emotions and nonverbal communication unveil our intuitive capacities.  Thinking, memory, and attitudes all operate on two levels  Conscious and deliberate  Unconscious and automatic  Social influences o Social influences shape our behaviour  We long to connect, to belong, and to be well thought of  We respond to our immediate contexts.  Sometimes the power of a social situation leads us to act in ways that don’t correspond to our regular attitudes  culture helps define your situation; your standards regarding promptness, frankness, and clothing vary with culture o Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape behaviour  Internal forces also matter  Inner attitudes affect our behaviour  Personality dispositions also affect behaviour. Facing the same situation, people may react differently  Social relations o Social behaviour is biologically rooted  Evolutionary psychologists remind us, our inherited human nature predisposes us to behave in ways that helped our ancestors survive and reproduce  If every psychological event is simultaneously a biological event, then we can also examine the neurobiology that underlies social behaviour  Social neuroscience An integration of biological and social perspectives that explores the neural and psychological bases of social and emotional behaviours  Social neuroscientists; to understand behaviour, we must consider both under-the-skin and between-skins influences.  As bio-psycho-social organisms, we reflect the interplay of our biological, psychological and social influences o Relating to others is a basic need  Our relationships with others can be an important source of stress and pain as well as joy and comfort  According to Mark Leary and Roy Baumeister, our relationships with others form the basis of our self esteem  They argue that our self-esteem is nothing more than a reading of how accepted we feel by others.  Kip Williams has shown that feeling left out can have dramatic effects on how people feel about themselves  Applying social psychology o Social psychology’s principles are applicable in everyday life  Social psychology is all about life – your life: your beliefs, your attitudes, your relationships  Has the potential to illuminate your life, to make visible the subtle forces that guide your thinking and acting  Scholars are also applying social psychological insights to other disciplines  Principles of social thinking, social influence, and social relations have implications for human health and well- being. Summing up: The central themes of social psychology concern the following:  How we construe our social worlds  How our social intuitions guide and sometimes deceive us  How our social behaviour is shaped by other people, by our attitudes and personality, and by our biology  How social psychology’s principles apply to our everyday lives and to various other fields of study Social Psychology and Human Values  Obvious ways in which values enter social psychology o 1940s- Prejudice o 1950s- Conformity o 1960s- interest in aggression o 1970s- Feminist movement o 1980s- Psychological aspects of the arms race o 1990s- how people respond to cultural diversity o Social psychology reflects social history o Values differ across time and across cultures o Values also influence the types of people attracted to the various disciplines o Values enter the picture as the object of social-psychological analysis  Not-so-obvious ways in which values enter social psychology o The subjective aspects of science  Culture  The enduring behaviours, ideas, attitudes, traditions, products, and institutions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next  Social Representations Socially shared beliefs; widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world o The hidden values in psychological concepts  Defining the good life – values influence our idea of the best way to live our lives. Abraham Maslow – was known for his sensitive descriptions of “Self-actualized” people.  Professional advice - advice from a psychologist reflects their personal values. Science can help us discern how better to achieve our goals, once we have settled on them; but science does not and cannot answer questions of ultimate moral obligation, of purpose and direction, and of life’s meaning  Forming Concepts – Hidden values even steep into psychologys research-based concepts. Labels describe the same set of responses (high self-esteem / Defensive) – can be the same thing  Labelling – Valued judgments are often hidden within our social-psychological language  Ex. Whether we label a quiet child “bashful” or “cautious”, as “holding back” or as “an observer”  Naturalistic Fallicy – the error of defining what is good in terms of what is observable: for example, whats typical is normal; what’s normal is good. Description of “what is” to “what ought to be.” Summing up:  Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in obvious ways, such as their choice of research topics and the types of people who are attracted to various fields of study  Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in subtler ways, such as heir hidden assumptions when forming concepts, choosing labels, and giving advice  This penetration of values into science is not a reason to fault social psychology or any other science. That human thinking is seldom dispassionate is precisely why we need systematic observation and experimentation if we are to check our cherished ideas against reality. I knew it all along  We constantly observe people thinking about, influencing, and relating to one another.  Social psychology faces two contradictory criticisms o That it is trivial because it documents the obvious o That it is dangerous because its findings could be used to manipulate people  Social psychology seems like common sense, one problem with common sense is that we invoke it after we know the facts, events are far more “obvious” and predictable in hindsight than beforehand.  In everyday life we do not expect something to happen until it does  Hindsight bias  The tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, ones ability to have foreseen how something turned out. Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon  We often deceive ourselves into thinking that we know and knew more than we do and did. This is why we need science – to help us sift reality from illusion and genuine predictions from easy hindsight Summing up:  Social psychology is criticized for being trivial because it documents things that see, obvious  Experiments, however, reveal that outcomes are more “obvious” after the facts are known  This hindsight bias often makes people overconfident about the validity of their judgments and predictions RESEARCH METHODS Forming and testing hypothesis  Theory integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events  Hypothesis  a testable proposition that describes a relationship that may exist between events o Help test theory that they are based on o Predictions give direction to research o The predictive feature of good theories can also make them practical  A good theory accomplishes the following: o Effectively summarizes many observations o Makes clear predictions that we can use to  Confirm or modify the theory  Generate new exploration and  Suggest practical applications Correlational Research: Detecting natural associations  Can take place in the lab or in the field. It can be correlational or experimental o Correlational research – the study of the naturally occurring relationships among variables o Experimental research – studies that seek clues to cause- effect relationships by manipulating one or more factors while controlling others  Correlation vs Causation o The status-longevity question illustrates the most irresistible thinking error made by both amateur and professional social psychologists  When two factors like status and health go together, it is terribly tempting to conclude that one is causing the other o Correlational research allows us to predict, but it cannot tell us whether changing one variable will cause changes in another o Time-lagged correlations  reveal the sequence of events  Survey Research o Random Sample  every person in the population being studied has an equal chance of inclusion o Four potentially biasing influences:  Unrepresentative samples  Samples that do not properly represent the population under study  Order of the questions  Response bias and social desirability  Sometimes people don’t want to admit their true actions and beliefs either to the experimenter or sometimes even themselves  Social desirability  Wording of the questions  Subtle changes in the tone of a question can have large effects on answers  Ex. One poll found that people favoured cutting “foreign aid” yet opposed cutting funding “to help hungry people in other nations.”  Experimental research: Searching for cause and effect o Control: Manipulating variables  Independent variables  Dependent variables  Experiments that suggest possible cause-effect explinations of correlational findings  Correlational and experimental studies of prejudice against the obese  Obesity correlated with marital status and income.  Correlational and experimental studies of TV violence viewing  Children that watch many violent television programs tend to be more aggressive than those who watch few o Random assignment: the great equalizer  Definition of random assignment  Random assignment helps us infer cause and effect  Random sampling helps us generalize to a population o Ethics of experimentation  Mundane realism  degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations  Elliot Aronson, Marilyn Brewer, and Merrill Carlsmith  Experimental realism degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participants  Achieving this sometimes requires deceiving people with a plausible cover story  Want to minimize demand characteristics  cues in an experiment that tell the participant what behaviour is expected.  Although, you must tell potential participants enough about the experiment to enable their informal consent  Be truthful  Protect people from harm and significant discomfort 10/5/2012 5:37:00 AM Self Concept: Who am I?  Your sense of self o Self-concept  how a person answers the question “who am I” o The medial prefrontal cortex, a neuron path located in the cleft between your brain hemispheres just behind your eyes, seemingly helps stitch together your sense of self.  Becomes more active when you think of yourself o Self-schemas  beliefs about self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information  Possible selves o Images of what we dream or dread of becoming in the future  Hazel Markus o Development of social self  Our social identity  The comparisons we make with others  Our successes and failures  How other people judge us  The surrounding culture  Social Identity o The “we” aspect of our self-concept. The part of our answer that comes from our group memberships o Social comparisons  Evaluating your abilities and opinions by comparing yourself to others o Success and failure  Self-concept is also fed by our daily experiences  To succeed is to feel more competent o Other people’s Judgments  People think well of us we tend to think well of ourselves  Looking-glass-self  Charles Cooley  described our use of how we think others perceive us as a mirror for perceiving ourselves  Self-inflation  overestimating others’ appraisal, inflating our self-image  Self and Culture o Individualism  concept of giving priority to one’s own goals over group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications o Collectivism  giving priority to the goals of one’s groups and defining one’s identity accordingly  Most cultures native to Asia, Africa, and Central and South America place greater value on this  In these cultures they nurture what Kitayman and Markus call:  Interdependent self-> Constructing ones identity in relation to others o Culture and Cognition  Asians think more holistically than Americans do  Perceiving and thinking about objects and people in a relationship to one another and to their environment  Interdependent people have a greater sense of belonging. They have not one self but many (ex self-with-parents, self-with-friends, self-at-work) o Culture and self-esteem  Self-concept is malleable rather than stable  Self-Knowledge o Predicting behaviour  Others are more likely to correctly predict your behaviour than yourself  Planning fallacy  The tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task o Predicting feelings  “affective forecasting” reveals that people have greatest difficulty predicting the intensity and the duration of their future emotions  Impact Bias  overestimating the enduring impact of emotion-causing events  Gilbert and Wilson  More prone to impact bias after negative events  Immune neglect  Human tendency to underestimate the speed and the strength of the psychological immune system which enables emotional recovery and resilience after bad things happen o The wisdom and illusions of self-analysis  Timothy Wilson: the mental processes that control our social behaviour are distinct from the mental processes through which we explain our behaviour. Our rational explanations may, therefore, omit the unconscious attitudes that actually guide our behaviour  Dual attitude system  differing implicit and explicit attitudes toward the same object. Verbalized explicit attitudes may change with education and persuasion; implicit attitudes change slowly, with practice that forms new habits Self-Esteem: How Am I?  Self esteem  a person’s overall self-evaluation or sense of self- worth  Self-Esteem Motivation o Tesser: reported that a “self-esteem maintenance” motive predicts a variety of interesting findings, even friction among brothers and sisters o He believed that people perceiving one of you as more capable than the other would motivate the less able one to act in ways that maintained his or her self-esteem o Leary believed that our self-esteem feelings are like a fuel gauge  Relationships enable surviving and thriving  Self-esteem gauge alerts us to threatened social rejection, motivating us to act with greater sensitivity to others’ expectations. o Greenburg: if self-esteem were only about acceptane, why do people strive to be great rather than to just be accepted  The reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work and values  To feel our lives are not in vain, we must continually pursue self-esteem by meeting the standards of our societies  The Dark Side of Self-Esteem o Low self-esteem predicts increased risk of depression, drug abuse, and some forms of delinquency o High self-esteem fosters initiative, resilience, and pleasant feelings. Yet high self-esteem can be negative as well Summing up: Self-esteem  Self-esteem is the overall sense of self-worth we use to appraise our traits and abilities. Our self-concepts are determined by multiple influences, including the roles we play, the comparisons we make, our social identities, how we perceive others appraising us, and our experiences of success and failure  Self-esteem motivation influences our cognitive processes: facing failure, high-self-esteem people sustain self-worth by perceiving other people as failing, too, and by exaggerating their superiority over others  Although high self-esteem is generally more beneficial than low, researchers have found that people high in both self-esteem and narcissism are the most aggressive. Someone with a big ego who is threatened or deflated by social rejection is potentially aggressive. The Self In Action Self-Control  Self’s capacity for action has limits: Baumeister  Our brains central executive consumes available blood sugar when engaged in self-control. This can reduce activity in brain areas responsible for detecting conflict between our actions and our goals – an important function for maintaining self-control  Self-concepts do influence our behaviour. Given challenging tasks, people who imagine themselves as hardworking and successful outperform those who imagine themselves as failures Learned Helplessness vs Self Determination  Learned helplessness  the hopelessness and resignation learned when a human or animal perceives no control over repeated bad events Summing up:  Our sense of self helps us organize our thoughts an actions  Our ability to effortfully regulate our behaviour, or willpower, works similarly to muscular strength. It can be exhausted by use in the short term, but can also be strengthened by regular exercise  Learned Helplessness often occurs when attempts to improve a situation have proven fruitless; self-determination, in contrast, s bolstered by experiences of successfully exercising control and improving one’s situation  People who believe in their own competence and effectiveness cope better and achieve more than those who have learned a helpless, pessimistic outlook Self-Serving Bias: Seeing The Self Positively Evaluating the Self  Self-serving bias  the tendency to perceive yourself favourably o Explanations for Positive and negative events  People readily accept credit when told they have succeeded  Attr
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