PSYC215 Chapter 1 Notes
Social Psychology: The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.
Social Neuroscience: An integration of biological and social perspectives that explores the neural and
psychological bases of social and emotional behaviours.
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 Representation: Socially shared beliefs. Widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions
and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world.
Naturalistic Fallacy: The error of defining what is good in terms of what is observable. For example:
What’s typical is normal; what’s normal is good.
Hindsight Bias: The tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen
how something turned out. Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.
Theory: An integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events.
Hypothesis: A testable proposition that describes a relationship that may exist between events.
Field Research: Research done in natural, real-life settings outside the laboratory.
Correlational Research: The study of the naturally occurring relationships among variables.
Experimental Research: Studies that seek clues to cause-effect relationships by manipulating one or
more factors (independent variables) while controlling others (holding them constant).
Random Sample: Survey procedure in which every person in the population being studied has an equal
chance of inclusion.
Independent Variable: The experimental factor that a researcher manipulates.
Dependent Variable: The variable being measured, so called because it may depend on manipulations
of the independent variable.
Random Assignment: The process of assigning participants to the conditions of an experiment such that
all persons have the same chance of being in a given condition. (Note the distinction between random
assignment in experiments and random sampling in surveys. Random assignment helps us infer cause
and effect. Random sampling helps us generalize to a population.)
Mundane Realism: Degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations.
Experimental Realism: Degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participants.
Demand Characteristics: Cues in an experiment that tell the participant what behaviour is expected.
Informed Consent: An ethical principle requiring that research participants be told enough to enable
them to choose whether they wish to participate.
Jean-Paul Sartre said that humans are “first of all beings in a situation… cannot be distinguished
from our situations, for they form us and decide our possibilities.”
Social psychology is also a science that studies the influences of our situations, with special
attention to how we view and affect one another. Compared to sociology, social psychology focuses more on individuals with methods that more
often use experimentation.
Compared to personality psychology, social psychology focuses less on differences among
individuals, and more on how individuals, in general, view and affect one another.
Social psychology studies our thinking, influence, and relationships by asking various questions.
Social behaviour varies not just with objective situation, but with how we construe it as social
beliefs can be self-fulfilling. (Happy couples may take a negative comment as a result of
something external like having a bad day, while unhappy couples will attribute same remark to a
mean disposition as hostile)
Biology (natural selection and adaptation), sociology (social structure and organization), music
(rhythm, melody, and harmony) are major themes encompassed by social psychology
Kurt Lewin captured a statement describing social psychology as a broad level of fundamental
principles: “Behaviour is a function of the person and the situation.”
“Great ideas we ought never forget”:
o Humans construct our social reality. We tend to want to explain behaviours and