CHAP 1- THE MISSION & THE METHOD
What social psychologists do
Social psychology= scientific study of how people affect
and are affected by others Broad understanding of social factors that influence how
people think, act, feel
Brief history ABC triad: 3 dimensions of soc psych
- Norman Triplett 1897 Indiana University presence of Affect
another releases competitive instinct increases •how people feel Behavior
performance indide (about •What people do
- Max Ringelman 1880 French when group size themselves,
increases, individual performance decreases
- 1908 first “social psychology” book , Edward Ross then
McDougall and Floyd Allport 1924 Cognition
- Early 20 century two main ideas stand out: •what people
- Gordon Allport: attitides most useful and important others, issues)
concept + self
- Kurt Lewin: behaviour is a function of person + + What are the
situation influences of personal and situational factors on those ABC
- WWII great influence
- Milgram experiment about following orders by inducing First concern studied is situation. How small changes in
pain to others immediate circumstances can product changes in
- 1950-60’s Psychology divided: behaviour.
-Behaviorism: explain all of psych in terms of Social psychology embraces scientific method conduct
rewards and punishments experiments to test theories.
- Freudian psychoanalysis: interpretation of
indivuals experiences Social psychology’s place in the world
- 1970-80’s study of simple cognitive processes (eg
attribution theory) ~> social cognition Social sciences
- 1990’s evolution theory - Anthropology – study of human culture (values,
- Study of the self since 70’s beliefs, practices shared by group of people)
- Economics – study of production, distribution,
consumption of good and services - History – study of past events How do social psychologists answer their own questions
- Political sciences – study of political organizations,
institutions and governments To be a good social psychologist researcher, it is helpful to
- Sociology – study of human societies & groups that be creative.
form them Common sense can be mistaken
Scientific method involves 5 steps:
Psychology - State a problem for study
- Biological psychology – study of what happens in the - Formulate a testable hypothesis as a tentative
brain, nervous system & other aspects of body solution to the problem
- Clinical psych – focuses on abnormal behaviors & - Design a study to test the hypothesis and collect data
other forms of mental illness + how to treat them - Test the hypothesis by confronting it to the data
- Cognitive psychology – study of thought process, - Communicate the study’s result
how memory works & what people notice (soc psych
borrowed their methods) The independent variable is an observable even that causes
- Developmental psych – study of how people hange a person in an experiment to do something. It has at least
across their lives from conception to death two levels, categories, types or groups.
- Personality psych – focus on important differences
btw individuals In a between-subjects design, each participant is exposed to
only one level, the level of the independent variable.
Why people study social psychology
A design that includes more than one independent variable
- Curiosity about people - Edward E Jones : “ understanding or factor is called a factorial design.
people is an end in itself”
- Experimental philosophy - (philosophy = love of wisdom) In a factorial design, a researcher can determine the effect
difference between philosophy and psychology if the of each individual independent variable on the dependent
scientific method variable (called main effect) as well as the joint effect of
- Making the world better - Want to understand cause of more than one independent variable on the dependent
problems (injustice, violence…) and maybe try to fix them variable (called interaction)
applied researchers. Kurt Lewin : “There is nothing as
practical as good theory” The dependent variable is an observable behaior produced
- Social psychology is fun. by a person in an experiment. An operational definition classifies theoretical variables in In the correlational approach, the researcher does not try
terms of observable operations, procedures and to control variables or randomly assign participants to
measurements. groups but merely observes whether things go together.
For a theory to be scientific, it must be testable, so its A correlation is the relationship or association between two
theoretical constructs must be operationally defined. variables.
- When correlation positive, as one variable goes up,
Two essential features of an experiment are control and the other variable also goes up.
random assignment: - When a correlation is negative, as one v increases,
- By exercising experimental control, the researcher other decreases.
tries to make sure that any differences observed on - A correlation coeff can range form -1.0 (perfect
the dependent variable were caused by the negative correlation) to +1.0 (perfect positive
independent variable and not by any other factor. correlation)
- Participants in an experiment must be randomly
assigned to levels of the independent variable The main weakness of the correlation approach is it does
(assignment to group is random if everyone has not allow the researcher to conclude that changes in one
equal chance of being in each group) variable caused the change in the other variable.
A confederate is someone who helps the experimenter by How much of social psychology is true
pretending to be another participant.
Because research builds on older research, science is self-
Experiments conducted in real world rather than in a correcting.
laboratory setting are called field experiments.
Some psychological facts and principles are true for people
Experimental realism refers to whether participants get so everywhere. But there are also cultural differences, and
caught up in the procedures that they forget they are in an some of them are quite substantial and important.
experiment (important to see if applicable in real world).
Mundane realism refers to whether the settings and
research procedures physically resemble real world. CHAP 2 –Culture and nature Culture and human social self
Nature and social behaviour Culture is an information-based system in which many
people work together to help satisfy their biological and
The power of socialization to change people is real but social needs.
A culture is what a group of people have in common,
Nature is the physical world around us. including shared beliefs, meanings, and values, as well as
shared ways of doing things.
Darwin’s theory of evolution focuses on how change occurs
in nature. Both nature and culture are important in shaping
Nature selection is a process whereby genetically based
traits become more or less common in a population. Humans unlike most other creatures, base their actions on
meaning and ideas.
“Survival of the fittest” means that animals compete with
each other to survive. Nature has prepared humans to use ideas.
Reproductive success means creating offspring who will in Humans and some other animals are social. Humans are far
turn create many offspring. more cultural than any other animal.
A trait that increases an organism’s survival rate or leads to Differences between social and cultural animals include:
better reproductive success is likely to become more - Social animals work together; cultural animals also
common in a population. use extensive division of labor
- Social animals may learn things from one another;
Being social helps humans and other animals to survive and cultural animals deliberately share knowledge with
reproduce. the group.
- Social animals may help kin; cultural animals have
Larger brains evolved to enable animals to function well in broader sense of community and often help
complex social structures. strangers
- Social animals mainly use aggression to resolve
The human brain evolved to capitalize on culture. conflict; cultural animals have alternatives, including
moral principles, compromise, and the rule of law. Although cultures differ, differences are often merely An important aspect of many tradeoffs is short-term versus
matters of degree rather than opposites. long-term gain.
Important features of human social life Humans get most of what they need from other people.
The human mind is a duple mind, meaning that it has both Culture operates as a “general store” of information.
an automatic and a conscious system.
Ash’s study demonstrates that sometimes people rely more
The automatic system is especially useful for simple tasks on information from other people than on their own senses.
we perform, whereas the conscious system is useful for the
more complex tasks. If the brain is like a personal computer, then culture is like
the Internet. A computer can do a lot more when it is
The automatic system is fast and relatively effortless, connected to the Internet than when it is a stand-alone
whereas the conscious system is slow and effortful. machine.
The automatic and conscious are not independent of one What makes us human? Putting the cultural animal in
another. Sometimes they work together, sometimes against perspective
Although human beings evolved from other animals,
Living in a culture has many advantages, but it makes many humans have much larger brains than other animals,
demands. especially in proportion to body size.
Inner processes often serve interpersonal functions. That is, Big brains may have evolved to enable more complex social
the psychological traits people have enable them to connect relationships.
better with others.
Another main difference between humans and other
In general (not always) nature says go and culture says animals is culture. Culture allows humans to accumulate
stops. knowledge over time and across generations.
Nature makes us selfish; culture requires us to resist selfish Although culture is not all good, its advantages outweigh its
impulses. disadvantages. For example, culture has enabled modern
humans to more than double the life spans of our ancestors.
Most choices in life involve tradeoffs, both benefits & costs. CHAP 3 – The self Self-awareness is vital for self-regulation and adopting
What is the self
Where self-knowledge comes from
The three main parts of the self are:
- Self-knowledge or self-concept The looking-glass self refers to the idea that we learn bout
- The interpersonal self or public self ourselves from how others judge us.
- The agent or executive function
People often do not realize how their minds work.
The main purposes of the self include gaining social
acceptance and playing social roles. The overjustification effect is the tendency for intrinsic
motivation to diminish for activities that have become
Asians understand the self as interdependent (connected to associated with external rewards.
others in a web of social relations), whereas Americans lean
toward an independent self-construal (seeing as a separate, The phenomenal self or the working self-concept is the part
special or unique, self-contained unit). of self-knowledge that is currently active in the person’s
Self-awareness is attention directed at the self, and usually
involves evaluating the self. Three motivations for wanting self-knowledge are the
appraisal motive, the self-enhancement motive, and the
Private self-awareness refers to attending to one’s inner consistency motive.
states; public self-awareness means attending to how one is
perceived by others. Self-handicapping involves putting obstacles in the way of
one’s own performance, so that if one fails, the failure can
Self-awareness is often unpleasant, because people often be blamed on the obstacle, and if one succeeds, one look
compare themselves to high standards. especially competent.
Being self-aware can make people behave better.
Self and information processing
Human self-awareness is far more extensive and complex
than what is found in any other species. The self-reference effect refers to the finding that
information bearing on the self is processed more thoroughly and more deeply, and hence remembered High slef-esteem and narcissism are associated with some
better, than other information. negative qualities that pertain to relations with others, such
as prejudice and aggression.
Self-concept is likely to change to be consistent with the
public self, and with what people want to believe about Pursuing self- esteem as an end in itself can have harmful
Self-esteem, self-deception, and positive illusions Self-presentation
In many important respects, nondepressed people see the Most people are more concerned with looking good to
world in a distorted, biased fashion, whereas depressed others than with private self-esteem.
people can see reality more accurately.
Self-presentation is any bahavior that seeks to convey some
The self-serving bias leads people to claim credit for image of self or some information about the self to other
success but deny blame for failure. people, or that seeks to make an impression on others.
People with high self-esteem think they are great, but most Nearly everyone strives for a good self-presentation as a
people with low self-esteem think they are only mediocre way of obtaining social acceptance.
(rather than awful).
Self-presentation is so important to people that they
People with low self-esteem do not want to fail, are sometimes engage in risky or dangerous behaviour in order
uncertain about their self-knowledge, focus on self- to make a good impression.
protection rather than self-enhancement, and are prone to
emotional highs and lows. What makes us humans? Putting the cultural animal in
Basking in reflected glory refers to people’s tendency to
want to associate with winners. What is special about the human self begins with self-
awareness and self-concept.
High self-esteem feels good and fosters initiative, but does
not confer many advantages in an objective sense. The self is vital and distinctively human tool for gaining
social acceptance and for participating in culture.
The sociometer theory suggests that self-esteem is a
masure of how socially acceptable you think you are. CHAP 4 – Choices and actions: the self in control People may prefer to postpone hard decisions and keep
their options open as long as possible.
What you do, and what it means
The status quo bias is a preference to keep things the way
Human behaviour depends on meaning. they are rather than change.
Inne processes such as thoughts, feelings and motivations The omission bias (sometimes called the default option)
serve interpersonal functions. denotes taking whatever course of action does not require
you to do anything.
Imagining something makes it more likely to happen.
People often avoid making decisions because they fear they
Making a choice is typically a two-step process, involving will later regret their choice.
whittling many choices down to a few and then doing a
careful comparison of those few. Reactance occurs when a freedom or a choice is rem