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Chapter 1

PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: O. J. Simpson, Order Of The Solar Temple, Hazing

Course Code
PSYC 215
Michael Sullivan

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What is social psychology?
Social psychology = scientific study of daily life
Examples of human behaviour
- Canadians assisting in Haiti after earthquake
o Neil Bauman travelled to Haiti to build shelters stressful but willing to pay price
o Why leave to help? Why donate?
- Hazing in university
o Jean-Francois Caudron subject to hazing as rookie
o Why happy to be part of team that inflicted pain and embarrassment?
- 1980s Quebec introduced to Order of Solar Temple cult
o only redemption from sins was death by fire
o 53 memebrs dies in mass murder-suicide, at least 74 total
o how can people kill selves and children?
Heart of SP = social influence influenced by other people
- attempts at direct social influence form major part of social psychology
- extends beyond behvious thoughts, feelings, overt acts
- a e iflueed erel  soeoe’s presee
- each of us is immersed in a social and cultural context
o social psychologists inteterested in studying HOW and WHY thoughts, feelings,
behaviours are shaped by entire social enviro
Soial psholog = sietifi stud of a i hih people’s thoughts, feeligs, ehaiours
are influenced by real or imagined presence of other people
- concerned more with how people are influenced by their interpretation/CONSTRUAL of
their social enviro more important to understand how they perceive, comprehend
and interpret social world than it is to understand objective properties of social world
o e. Deisio i urder ase does’t rest o eidee ut ho jur ostrues
OJ Simpson not guilty even though DNA
2nd degree murder conviction Mark Edward Grant unsolved 26 years
foud DNA, laer argued ee at loatio does’t ea killed ad
evidence contaminated but jury still convicted
o Lee Ross aïe realis = the oitio all of us hae that e pereie thigs
as the reall are, assue other reasoale people see things the same way
that we do
Both Israelis and Palestanians understand that other side perceives issues
differeetl et oth resist oproise, fearig that their iased
opponent will benefit more
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Experiment took peace proposals created by Israelis and labelled as
Israeli or Palestinian and Israelis liked proposals attributed to Israel more
Hope once both sides realize phenonmenon reasonable compromise
more likely
- experiment-based science presents many challenges
Social psychology, science, common sense
SPs address many same questions philosophers addres but attempt to look at more
- 1663 Dutch phiopsopher Spinoza propose that is love someone formerly hated, love
greater than if hate had not preceded need answers to empirical questions
Beginning examples why behave the way they did?
- Ca’t sipl ask the
- Jounalists, social critics, novelists have many things to say but = folk wisdom or common
o Speculations on Solar Teple ostl iorret ut hat’s ost strikig is
member s tended to be highly respected members of society even mayor
- Folk wisdom says birds of feather flock together, also tells us opposites attract but
which is correct?
- Because common sense frequently turns out to be wrong/oversimplified, people tend
not to learn from previous incidents not 1st/last mass suicide
o Uganda children burned in chapel
o Texas 400+ children seized by Child Protetcive Services whose parents followed
Mormon sect of Warren Jeffs who thought had to marry young virgins, parents
handed over kids in BC
- With cults people often blame victims, accusing of stupidity or mental illness
Task SP to make educated guesses hypotheses about specific situtions under which one
outcome would occur experiments to test
SP compared with sociology
- Both concerned with influence social and societal factors on human behaviour
- SP is branch of psyc rooted in study individuals with emphasis on process in hearts and
o Level of analysis = individual in context of a social situation
- Sociology more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a society
o Focus social class, social structure, social institutions
o Major difference = looks towards society at large
- What trying to explain
o Goal SP identify universal properties human nature that make everyone
susceptible to social influence, regardless social class or culture
But is young science
SP compared with personality psychology
- PP generally focus attention individual differees = aspets people’ persoalities that
make them different from other people ex. All conformist so joined cult
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