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PSY 235 Notes Test 1

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PSY 235
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Lecture 1 (8/29) I. What is social psychology? a. Classic definition: the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people (real, implied, imagined) b. A Natural Science Perspective on Social Psychology i. Human mind is a device of natural world ii. Nature’s devices arise via evolution by natural selection 1. Biological, economics, cultural selection iii. Selection shapes devices to solve/cope with challenges iv. Natural science perspective demands adapting B/E/C perspectives to form theories and hypothesis about behavior II. Social psychology in this course: a. Humans as information processors b. Social psychology = classic description + broader/fundamental influences c. Evolution psychology d. Sociocultural e. Social cognitive III. Social psychology uses scientific method a. Theory i. Statements that connect and organize existing observations, with implications for the discovery of new knowledge b. Hypotheses i. Statements derived from theory that test implications of a theory IV. Major Theoretical Perspectives: a. Sociocultural b. Evolutionary i. A theoretical viewpoint that seeks causes of social behavior in the psychological mechanisms influencing behavior that helped our ancestors survive and reproduce ii. Beliefs, attitudes, emotions and behaviors that can be described as outputs of mechanisms that are: 1. Adaptive: operate as designed to aid in reproductive success 2. By-products: do not operate as designed and may not aid in reproductive success iii. Evolutionary psychologists test hypotheses 1. In biological responses that affect thoughts 2. In social behavior across species 3. Across cultures and historical periods iv. Adaptive Mate Preferences 1. Female reproductive success limited by offspring investment (pregnancy, lactation, etc.) 2. Male reproduction limited by access to fertile females 3. Human female mate value decreases earlier than males 4. Males should have mate preferences biased toward women closer to life stage of high fertility c. Social Learning d. Social Cognitive Lecture 2 (9/3) – The Person and The Situation I. Principles of Selection – Meta-theory a. Natural selection – process by which physical/behavioral characteristics change within a population i. Inter-generational: Biological ii. Intra/Inter-generational: Cultural/Economic b. Adaptation – a trait designed for survival and reproduction in a particular environment c. Function – what a characteristic or feature is “for” d. Darwin’s Postulates: Natural Selection i. Variants in traits exist in a population ii. Variation affects reproduction success of the variants iii. Variation is heritable (inter-generational) iv. Traits exist in a population because of their utility in facilitating the reproductive success of individuals e. Darwin’s Postulates: Cultural/Economics Systems i. Variants in beliefs, attitudes, behavior exist in a population ii. Variation affects reproductive success of the variants iii. Variation is socially transmitted (horizontally/vertically) iv. Social traits exist in a population because of their utility in facilitating the reproductive success of variants II. Proximate and Ultimate Goals (And how to achieve them) – Meta-theory a. Ultimate Goal of Life: Reproducing Information (Genes and Memes) i. Achieved by motivations for sub-goals ii. Ex: Reproductive Success 1. Sub-goals: Parenting, Survival, Sex 2. Goals ranked from ultimate to proximate (proximate ones being closer to you, or easier to attain) 3. The goal of life: Parenting/Surviving/Sex a. Sub goals: Status, Resources, Physically Fit b. Hierarchy of Goals: i. Gain Status ii. Get well-paying, highly respected job iii. Earn high grades iv. Attend class, take notes, study for exams c. Motivation and Goals i. Reaching goals requires the will (motivation) to achieve them ii. Social psychologists study individual’s will to achieve our ends III. The Person: The Will to Achieve Goals a. Persons vs. Situations in Social Psychology i. Social psychology (thoughts, feelings, behavior) influenced by person and situational inputs IV. The Person: What Causes Our Behavior? a. A person’s behavior is caused by the pursuit of their goals/objectives under their own will (motivation) i. Motivation: force that moves people toward outcomes b. We have finite time/energy/abilities (resources) that enable our motivation to achieve our desired goals c. Psychological resources necessary for motivation to complete tasks, but it can be depleted, just like any other resource d. Motivation depends on energetic resources i. Baumiester’s Chocolate-Radish Willpower Experiment 1. Experiment: Investigate the role of resource depletion on motivation to complete difficult task 2. Independent variables: Three will-depletion conditions: a. (C1) Depleted will i. Eat: radishes, not cookies b. (C2) Non-depleted will i. Eat: cookies, not radishes c. (C3) Control i. Do not eat cookies nor radishes 3. Dependent variable: Persistence on difficult puzzles 4. Lecture 3 (9/12) – Self Presentation I. Chapter 4: Self-Presentation, Status, and Power a. Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment b. Presenting Power: Derogating Others i. Derogation/humiliation of others to convey power ii. The power of the situation 1. “SPE demonstrates that the environment trumps personality” c. Qualifications to SPE: Situation of Tyranny? i. Various replications verify some aspects of original study ii. Replications: Leadership Roles are Key 1. Zimbardo’s “role” as warden 2. Institutional legitimacy a. E.g. behavior not admonished 3. BBC-TV “The Experiment” d. Generalizability and Selection Bias i. Zimbardo’s claims for generalizability demand stringent sampling criteria ii. Selection bias? 1. Male 2. Financially Oriented 3. Prison experiment volunteers a. Aggressive? b. Role players? iii. U of W. Kentucky Study 1. Volunteer personality 2. Authoritarian personality a. Endorsement of obedience to authority (particularly one’s own), and the administration of that power over subordinates b. “Bow above waist, kick below” iv. Implications 1. Law enforcement, military, corporations, etc. II. Chapter 5: Attitudes and Persuasion a. Balance Theory i. Our motive for consistency is rooted in the drive for psychological balance ii. To achieve balance, attitudes toward different targets sometimes must change iii. Cognitive system out of balance = uncomfortable tension 1. To remove this tension, we will have to change something in the system a. Change attitudes to match those with people we like b. Change attitudes to disagree with people we dislike c. Decide that we dislike people with whom we disagree d. Decide we like people with whom we agree b. Cognitive Dissonance Theory i. Describes the process of achieving balance ii. Imbalance creates an unpleasant state of psychological arousal resulting from an inconsistency within one’s important, core attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors iii. Dissonance begins with knowledge of attitude/decision that conflicts with an important part of the self iv. When important enough, this causes dissonance experiences as unpleasant “arousal” v. Dissonance I reduced by change in decision/attitude 1. Rationalization of decisions vi. Post-decisional dissonance 1. The conflict one feels about a decision that could be wrong 2. i.e. seconds after placing a bet, gamblers are more confident their horse will win vii. Functional possibilities for reducing dissonance by pursuing consistency 1. Being predictable facilitates coordination 2. Appearing hypocritical is maladaptive 3. Using past actions as markers for future ones may be adaptive viii. Avoidance of negative state likely only as the means to a functional end ix. Has been demonstrated across time and societies 1. People seek consistency in attitudes/behaviors 2. A human universal c. Science of Persuasion i. Six principles: 1. Reciprocity 2. Authority 3. Consistency 4. Consensus 5. Liking a. Similarity b. Cooperative c. Complement 6. Scarcity ii. Fundamental Principles of Human Social Organization 1. Reciprocity 2. Authority 3. Coordination iii. Reciprocity and Authority believed to be fundamental moral domains Lecture 4 (9/17) I. Chapter 6 – Introduction to Game Theory: Social Organization and Influence a. Social Influence i. A change in overt behavior caused by real/imagined pressure from others ii. Categories 1. Conformity a. Changing behavior to match the responses/actions of others (not necessarily due to pressure) b. Obedience Research: The Milgram Experiment i. Partic
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