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PSYC 2120
Kerry Kawakami

Chp 1 • What is social psychology? • Scientific study of the way in which peoples thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of others • Construal- way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world • E.g. attempts of persuasion- youre at a bar you don’t want to drink anymore but your friend insists on another drink cause everyone else is doing it • We are still influenced even when we are not in the physical presence of others • e.g. we carry our parents, teachers, friends around with us b/c we make decisions that would make them proud • If we want to understand how people are influenced by their social world then we first need to understand how they perceive, comprehend and interpret it • Role of construal- • Ross's research- took peace proposals from israeli negotiators and labeled it as "palestinian proposal" and asked to judge it. Israelis liked palestinian proposal to Israel better than Israeli proposals attributed (relate to a particular cause )to palestinian. • Murder trial- even if the jury has all the evidence about a case, it depends on how the jury construes( interpret) the evidence • O.J simpson trial- evidence concerning DNA and hair/fibre samples were presented, the jury decided that Simpson was NOT guilty • social psychology is experimentally based science • As scientists- we test our assumptions, guesses and ideas from human social behavior empirically and systematically • we don’t rely of folk wisdom, common sense or opinions and insights of philosophers, novelists, political pundits or our grandmothers • Folk wisdom ( common sense)- journalists, social critics and novelists • Turns out to be wrong, it is oversimplified and situations are underestimated • e.g. the solar temple tragedy - first mass suicide- canada • Cult members kill themselves and their children at the request of their leader • Philosophy- • Social psychologists make educated guesses OR hypothesis • Social psychologists perform experiments to test hypotheses about the nature of the social world • They perform well-controlled experiments that tease out situations that result in one or another outcome • Social psychology compared with sociology • Similarity- Both disciplines are concerned with the influence of social and societal factors on human behavior • Difference- level of analysis • Social psych- study of individuals w/ an emphasis on the psychological processes going on in their hearts and minds • Social psychologists level of analysis is the individual context of a social situation • e.g. to understand why ppl intentionally hurt each other a social psychologist would focus on the specific psychological processes that trigger aggression in specific situations • e.g to what extent is aggression preceded by a state of frustration ? • Sociology- concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a society- social class, structure and insitutions • e.g. with in canada, why is the murder rate higher in some social classes than in others? • Cross-cultural research - sharpens theories by demonstrating their universality or discovery of additional variables- more accurate predictions of social behavior • Social psychology compared to personality psychology • Personality psychologists focus on individual differences when trying to explain social behavior • Individual differences- aspects of people's personalities that make them different from other people • E.g. why did the people in the solar temple cult kill their children - they were 'conformist types' or weak-willed OR maybe psychotic • Powerful role is played by social influence in any situation, on anything anyone does b/c we are surrounded by people- real or imagined • We judge people on how they act and react in the present moment- it is easy to judge without having any knowledge about their situation- personality vs influence of the situation • Social psych shares with sociology = situational and societal influences on behavior but focuses more on the psychological makeup on individuals that presents them exposed to social influence • Social psych shares with personality = emphasis on the psych of individual, focus on what makes ppl diff from one another, psychological processes shared by most ppl that make them exposed to social influence • The power of social influence • Fundamental attribution error- tendency to overestimate the extent to which ppls behavior stems from internal, dispositional factors to underestimate the role of situational factors • e.g. All of us tend to explain ppls behavi
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