Psych15 midterm 1 review.docx

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Harvard University
Psychology 15
Christopher Greene

Ellen Katherine Rothschild Social Psych Midterm 1 Textbook Review Chapter 1:An Invitation to Social Psychology Characterizing Social Psychology • Social psychology is the scientific study of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of individuals in social situations The Power of the Situation • Social psychology emphasizes the influence of situations on behavior o People often find it difficult to see the role that powerful situations can play in producing their own and other’s behavior and so they are inclined to overemphasize the importance of personal dispositions in the producing behavior. The two tendencies together are called the fundamental attribution error. The Role of Construal • Social psychology also focuses on the role of construal in understanding situations. People often feel that their comprehension of situations is direct, without much mediating thought, o In fact, even the perception of the simplest objects rests on substantial inference and the complex cognitive structures that exist for carrying it out • The primary tool people use for understanding social situations, and physical stimuli for that matter, is the schema. o Schemas are stored representations of numerous repetitions of highly similar stimuli and situations. They tell us how to interpret situations and how to behave in them o Stereotypes are schemas of people of various kinds (police officers, Hispanics, yuppies). Stereotypes serve to guide interpretation and behavior, but they can often be mistaken or misapplied and they can leas to damaging actions and unjust behaviors. Automatic versus Controlled Processing • People’s construal of situations are often largely automatic and unconscious.As a consequence, people are sometimes in the dark about how they reached a particular conclusion or why they behaved in a articular way. Evolution and Human Behavior: How We are the Same • The evolutionary perspective focuses on practices and understandings that are universal and seem to be indispensable to social life, suggesting that humans are prewired to engage in those practices • Some evolutionary theorists have argued that differences between males and females may be explained by the differential parental investment required by the two sexes. They also talk about other universal characteristics that are more cognitive in nature, including language, which appears at the same stage of development in all cultures, as well as a theory of mind, which also develops early in normal people of all cultures. Culture and Human Behavior: How we are Different • Behaviors and meanings can differ dramatically across cultures. o Many of these differences involve the degree to which a society is interdependent, or collectivist, in its social relationships (having many relationships of a highly prescribed nature) versus independent, or individualistic (having fewer relationships of a looser significance. o These differences influence conceptions of the self and the nature of human relationships and even basic cognitive and perceptual processes • Gender roles and sexual mores differ enormously across cultures. Even within the West, gender and sexual practices diverge significantly. o Theorists differ in how strongly they believe this variability is arbitrary versus rooted in economic factors or some other aspect of the objective situation confronting the culture Chapter 2: The Methods of Social Psychology Why do Social Psychologists do Research (and why should you want to read about it?) • Social psychologists research teaches people how to interpret and predict the outcomes of various social experiences and helps them understand their own behavior and that of others How Do Social Psychologists Test Ideas? • Social psychologists often use participant observation, in which they place themselves in real situations to understand a social phenomenon better and to help them plan research that will test hypotheses developed in observational settings • Social psychologists go to archives of various kinds to find information that helps them understand social phenomenon. o Such records include census reports, police reports, newspaper accounts, and historical and ethnographic records • Surveys ask people questions. o Random sampling is essential for describing accurately the attitudes or behavior of people of a particular population: students at X university, the people of Y town, or the population of a country as a whole. • Correlational research describes relationships between variables – for example, between age and support for welfare reform. Correlations can vary in strength from -1 to +1. • Self-selection is a particular problem in correlational research, where the investigator is unable to choose the level of any variable for participation o Consequently, its impossible to know if something associated with one of the measured variables is causing the correlation between two variables or if one of the variables is causing the other • In experimental research, the investigator manipulates different levels of the independent variable (the variable about which the prediction is made) and measures the effect of different levels on the dependent variables Some other useful concepts for understanding research • External validity refers to how closely the experimental setup resembles real-life situations. The greater the external validity, the more possible it is to generalize from the results obtained to real life settings • Field experiments test hypotheses experimentally in real life situations as opposed to the laboratory. Field experiments automatically have external validity • Internal validity refers to whether the experimenter can be confident that it is the manipulated variable only that accounts for the results, rather than some extraneous factors such as participants failure to understand instructions • Participants in studies are normally debriefed; that is, investigators explain to them the purpose of the experiment and the likely knowledge gain • Reliability refers to the extent to which participants receive the same score when testes with a conceptually similar instrument or when tested at different times • Measurement validity refers to the degree to which some measure predicts what it is supposed to, such as the degree to which IQ test predict school grades. Basic and Applies Research • Basic research is intended to test theory • Applied research is intended to solve some real-world problem Ethical Concerns in Social Psychology • Institutional review boards are committees set up to review research procedures to make sure that participants’privacy and safety are protected • Informed consent refers to the willingness of participants to take part in a study based on information presented to them before the study begins, informing them of the procedures they will undergo and any possible risk o Informed consent is not always possible, as when an experiment involved deception, where participants are misled about the purpose of a study. Chapter 9: Social Influence Obedience to Authority • The study of obedience has been dominated by the experiments of Stanly Milgram, who documented the surprising willingness of most people to go along with seemingly harmful commands of authority • Participants in obedience experiments are caught in a conflict between opposing forces: normative social influence and moral imperatives. The balance between these forces shifts toward the former when participants tune out the learner and tune in the experimenter. • Although Milgram’s results strike nearly everyone as wildly counterintuitive, they can be rendered less surprising by considering the stepwise nature of his commands, the (mostly ineffective) attempts to terminate the experiment made by most participants, and the ability of participants to place the burden of responsibility on the experimenter, not themselves. Chapter 8: Persuasion Functions of Attitudes • Attitudes serve several functions o They serve a utilitarian function, signaling rewards and punishments o They serve an ego-defensive function, protecting people from undesirable beliefs and emotions o They serve a value-expressive function, reflecting values that people want others, especially their reference group, to acknowledge o They serve a knowledge function, organizing how people construe the social world and guiding how people attend to, store and retrieve information Persuasion and Attitude Change • Both the heuristic-systematic model of persuasion and the elaboration likelihood model of persuasion hypothesize that there are two routes of persuasion. Factors determining which route is taken include motivation, or how important the message is to the person, and ability to process the message • When using the central (systematic) route to persuasion, people attend carefully to the message, and they consider relevant evidence and underlying logic in detail. o People are especially likely to go through this route when the message is relevant to them, when they have knowledge in the domain, and when the message evokes a sense of personal responsibility. When going through the central route, people are more persuaded by high-quality messages . • In the peripheral (heuristic) route to persuasion, people attend to superficial aspects of the message o They use this route when they have little motivation or time or ability to attend to its deeper meaning. In this route, people are persuaded by source characteristics, such as attractiveness and credibility of the commentator and message characteristics, such as how many arguments there are and whether the conclusions are explicit • The elements of the persuasive process can be broken into three components: the source of the message, the content of the message, and the target of the message • Anon credible source is unlikely to induce immediate attitude change, but with time, a sleeper effect may occur, in which attitude change occurs after time has passed and the message has become dissociated from its source • Vivid communications, including images of identifiable victims, are usually more effective than matter of fact ones o fear evoking communications that provide fear reducing courses of action produce more attitude change than either non fear evoking communications or fear evoking communications that do not provide fear reducing courses of action • Message often varies in independent and interdependent societies. o Ads in independent cultures emphasize the individual and ads in interdependent societies emphasize the collective • The target, or audience, of a message also affects whether a particular message is effective and whether attitude change occurs. o Audience, or receiver, characteristics include the need for cognition (that is how deeply people like to think about issues), mood and age. The Media and Persuasion • According to the third-person effect, most people believe that other people are more likely to be influenced by the media than they are. o But in fact, the media have surprisingly weak effects on most people. This is true in the case
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