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Chapter 1

Social Psychology - Chapter 1.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 241
Professor
Roderick C L Lindsay
Semester
Winter

Description
Social Psychology ­ Chapter 1 Humans are social beings – implications of having close friends and staying in contact with family members associated with: Health benefits – study shows protects against effects of Alzheimer, having lower blood pressure and living longer Children who are socially excluded are likely to suffer academically Social rejection is painful – produces activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (which activates when we experience physical pain) What is Social Psychology: Scientific study of how individuals think, feel and behave in a social context Scientific method: Applies scientific method of systematic observation, description and measurement to the study of human condition how individuals think, feel and behave: social psychologists investigate a wide variety of attitudes and contexts – individual attitudes, how these are affected by peers etc. sociology typically classified ppl in terms of nationality, race, socioeconomic class, and other group factors social psych focuses on the individual Social Context: Emphasizes social nature of individuals Many non-social factors are also examined to see their impact on an individual’s social behaviour Ie. If heat makes a person more aggressive Thoughts, feelings or behaviours concern other people or are influenced by other people Social context can be artificial/not present – ie. Implied presence of ppl Social Psychologist Questions and Applications Applications – judges call on social psych research to render landmark decisions, select juries, businesses use for marketing and group-dynamic research, health professionals etc. The Power of the Social Context: An example of a Social Psychology Experiment social nature of humans = so profound that we can be influenced more by rxns of others to it than by the thing itself ie. Experiment: watched a debate between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale (presidency candidates) Reagan – fired one-liners that caused laughter from audience Politicians wondered if that one liners won the debate Had students watch the debate under three conditions: 1. Saw the debate without editing 2. Saw the debate with both one-liners and ensuing audience reaction edited out 3. Saw the debate with one liners intact but the audience reaction COMPLETELY edited out (debate continued uninterrupted) condition 1 and 2 compared to see if the presence vs. absence of this pair of jokes could make a larger difference in ppl’s impressions of Reagan from the debate students judged the performance of the candidates on a scale from 0 (terrible) to 100 (excellent) students who saw entire unedited tape  did not rate Reagan much more positively than students who saw the debate without one-liners students who saw debate with one-liners but no audience reaction rated Reagan less positively their negativity could have been because when they saw no reaction, students must have unknowingly used the lack of reaction as an indication that Reagan’s attempt at wit was inept, so they saw him in a less positive light Social Psychology and Related Fields: Distinctions and Intersections Social Psych vs. Sociology Social Psychology ­ Chapter 1 Interested in many of same issues (ie. Violence, prejudice, cultural differences, marriage) Sociology  more group level focus Study relation between ppl’s behaviours and societal values (ie. Social class) Social psychology  more individual Studies relation between ppl’s behaviours and immediate variables (ie.manipulations of mood, exposure to particular models of behaviour) More likely to conduct experiments that manipulate a variable Social Psych and Clinical Psychology Clinical psychologists seek to understand and treat ppl with psychological difficulties/disorders Social psychologists move beyond disorders; focus on more typical ways in which individual thinks, feel, behave and influence each other Is some overlap though Social Psychology and Personality Psychology Personality psychologists seek to understand differences between individuals that remain relatively stable across a variety of situations Interested in cross-situational consistency; want to know if personal is friendly etc. in every situation Social psych seeks to understand how social factors affect most individuals regardless of their diff. personalities Very closely linked because two areas comment each other so well Social Psychology and Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive psych – mental processes ie. Thinking, learning, remembering and reasoning Social psych  interested in HOW ppl think, learn, remember and reason w/respect to social info and how these processes are relevant to behaviour Social Psychology and Common Sense: Although many of the concepts sound like common sense, social psychology uses the scientific method to put theories to test; answer is always more complex than common sense From Past to Present: A Brief History of Social Psychology Developed in 19 century Birth and Infancy of Social Psy
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