PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Clinical Psychology, Behaviorism, Evolutionary Psychology

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14 Dec 2015
Social Psychology
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Chapter 1
1. Social psychology is the scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in a
social context.
It is a scientific study
It works with a great variety of attitudes and contexts, rather than exclusively to
particular domains
Focuses on the psychology of the individual
The social context: it concerns other people or is influenced by other people.
2. Social psychologists study a large variety of fascinating questions about people and their
social worlds. The scope and relevance of these questions to so many important aspects
of our lives make social psychology applicable to many careers and interests.
3. In one experiment that illustrates how thinking about other can influence our own self-
perceptions, female undergraduates who were made aware of cultural norms regarding
thinness experienced a decrease in their overall body satisfaction ratings and reported
being more concerned with the opinions of others.
4. Social psychology is related to a number of different areas of study
Social psychology VS Sociology: social psychology concentrates in studying the
individual whereas sociology concentrates in group behavior
Social psychology VS Clinical psychology: clinical psychologists studies
disorders and difficulties; whereas social psychologists concentrate in the ways
individuals behave.
Social psychology VS personality psychology: personality psychology seeks to
understand differences between individuals that remain relatively stable across a
variety of situations, whereas social psychology seeks to understand
Social psychology VS cognitive psychology: cognitive psychologists study
mental processes; social psychologists are more interested in how these processes
come to affect social behavior.
5. Many social psychological theories and findings appear to be like common sense. One
problem with common sense, however, is that it may offer conflicting explanations and
provide no way to test which one is correct. Another problem is that common sense is
often oversimplified and therefore misleading.
Brief History of Social Psychology
1. The Birth and Infancy of Social Psychology (1880’s-1920s):
Norman Triplett: first research article in social psychology. (Cyclists race faster in
company of others, rather than against the clock)
Max Ringelmann (People have a worse performance in simple tasks when they
are in company of others)
William McDougall, Edward Ross, and Floyd Allport (the interaction of
individuals in social context) established social psychology as a scientific
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