PSYC 215 Chapter all lecture notes: Social Psychology
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-The scientific study of the feelings, thoughts and behaviors of individuals in social situations.
-Human psychology is similar in many ways to that of other animals (similar parts and similar
-We learn things and are subject to motivational pressures and it shapes our behaviors and
-Humans think in interesting ways with abstract thought and deep thinking.
-Humans are social (thinking of social interactions: relationships, friendships, family
members and the general public atmosphere).
-Our social interactions shape the way we think about things. We learn through others,
through their actions, through culture, through pressures and other beliefs, thoughts and other
individuals’ perceptions that shape our own.
Chapter 2: Methods
Research in Social Psychology
-Emotional Contagion: the tendency to converge emotionally with another, “catch” someone
How would you study a phenomenon like emotional contagion?
-Surveys but not practical
-Operational definition: definition of a variable in terms of a process used in your research
(ex: measurement scale 1-10)
-Correlational research: positive, negative, no correlation (-1 to 1)
Can we catch moods from our close friends with whom we communicate a lot?
-Research generally shows the correlation between friendship between closeness and mood
similarity is moderately positive. Can we conclude that friendship closeness leads to or
“causes” mood similarity? No. What’s wrong with concluding that? Correlation does not
-Reverse causation: mood similarity causes friendship closeness (enjoy being with
individuals who’s moods matches our own)
-Third variable problem: something else ‘z’ that determines ‘x’ variable and ‘y’ variable.
-Manipulate one (or more) independent variables, and observe the outcome on the dependent
-Independent variable dependent variable
-Independent variable: typically, comparing an “experimental condition” to a “control
condition” that is identical except for one feature of interest (being observed vs. not
observed/ persuasive message vs. neutral message)
Assigning participants to conditions
-Avoid self selection problem: allowing participants to somehow determine which condition
they are in (do not know if the stimulus had any effect at all because each participant knows
the condition they are given)
-Random assignment: any person has an equal probability of being in any condition (the
-Manipulate a variable in a real-world (field) setting.
-Dependent variable: mood; operationally defined as a percentage of words a person posts
during a week that are positive or negative emotion words (counted by a software program).
-Independent variable: exposure to emotional content, operationalized by manipulating the
person’s “News Feed” for the week.
Doherty (1998): how does emotional contagion happen?
-Hypothesis: in part by influencing selective attention toward emotion-consistent information
-Participants were told it was a study of “cultural differences in aesthetic judgments”
-To avoid demand characteristics: cues in the study that might tell the participant how to
-The study used deception, where the true purpose of the study was concealed. They conceal
the purpose and hypothesis of the study and may lead the participants into thinking that the
study is about something else entirely as to not jeopardize the results.
-Debriefing: researcher sits down with the participants and explains the true study to the
participants and see if there was any demand characteristics present.
September 9 th
-Looking to others for knowledge about a situation or topic when they do not know how to
react or respond to the situation they witnessed or the topic they are faced with.
-“one great blooming, buzzing confusion” – William James
-i.e. infant opens its eyes for the first time and being confused and uncertain by all of its
newly discovered surroundings
-Our ability to focus attention even in a complex stimulus situation
-We do not notice certain events that go on when we are focused on a particular situation
(filtering out certain types of information within a complex stimulus situation’
-Construal : people’s interpretation and inference about the stimuli or situations
-Our construal of social reality is a powerful determinant of our experience and behavior
Types of Social Knowledge
Declarative Knowledge: “knowing that”
-knowledge about types of people and social situations
Procedural Knowledge: “knowing how”
-rules, skills, and habits for thinking and acting
Schema: “a knowledge structure consisting of any organized body of stored information”
-Also referred to as knowledge structures or concepts
-Role concepts & stereotypes (social roles: police officer, professor, gender roles/ personality
types: extravert, neurotic)
-Significant other concepts (mom, uncle bob)
-Self-Schemas (self identity)
-About situations and events: (scripts event schemas)
-Relational schema (one person criticizing another or supporting another)
Associative Network Model of Schemas
-Network of nodes and links
-If a link is repeatedly observed, the link gains in strength
We go beyond the information available by filling in gaps based on our schemas. One of the
functions of schemas that may sometimes create inaccuracy
-Involves both the way we act and our ways of thinking
-What you do with your declarative knowledge
•“ “ same as declarative
•ex: trait inference
•IF - THEN thinking
•IF someone smiles at someone else THEN conclude person is friendly
•Becomes efficient with practice - like any skill or habit (the more you do the more
•The same behaviour can be construed as good or bad depending on the way your looking
at it and your personal judgement
•Evaluating persuasive messages
•Causal attribution (who’s fault/ his or her)
•Strategies for goal pursuit