PSYCH 2C03 Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Textbook Notes Psych.docx
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Topic 1: Conformity & Research Methods
Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Psychology:
What is Social Psychology?
-Social influence extends beyond behaviour - includes thoughts, feelings as well as overt acts.
Social Psychology: the scientific study of the way in which people's thoughts, feelings &
behaviours are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people.
The Power of Social Interpretation:
- Social psychology concerns how people are influenced by their interpretation, or construal, of
their social environment.
Construal: The way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world.
- To understand how people are influenced by their social world it is more important to
understand how they perceive, comprehend and interpret the social world than to understand
the objective properties of the social world itself.
The Role of Construal in Conflict Negotiations:
naive realism: the conviction all of us have that we perceive things "as they really are". We
assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do.
- social psychology is an experimentally-based science.
- As scientists our goal = to find objective answers to a wide array of important questions.
Some Alternative Ways of Understanding Social Influence:
Folk Wisdom: (or common sense) The commentary on situations such as joining cults.
Philosophy: Through history philosophy has been a major source of insight about human nature.
- part of the foundation of contemporary psychology.
Social Psychology Compared with Sociology:
- Both disciplines are concerned with the influence of social & societal factors on human
- The level of analysis:
Social Psychology = a branch of psychology, rooted in the study of individuals, emphasis on the
psychological processes going on in their hearts/minds. For the social psychologist, the level of
analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation.
Ex. people intentionally hurting each other. Social psychologist focuses on the specific
psychological processes that trigger aggression in specific situations.
Sociology = concerned with broad social factors that influence events in a society. The focus is
on topics like social class, social structure, and social institutions.
-Major difference is that Sociology rather than focusing on the psychology of the individual,
looks at society at large.