PSYC 260 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Gestalt Psychology, Social Cognition

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Published on 20 Nov 2012
PSYC 260 – Fall 2012
Book Notes: Chapter 1 – The Introduction to Social Psychology
Social Psychology – the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people
Construal – way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world
- How people are influenced by their interpretation of their social environment
- A subjective way of seeing the world, as opposed to objectively seeing it
-Naïve realism – we assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do
Folk Wisdom – common sense
- Because of this phenomenon, people tend to oversimplify and underestimate the power of the
- Popular sayings such as “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Out of sight, out of mind”
contradict each other
- Frequently turns out to be wrong or oversimplified, and people tend not to learn from previous
Philosophy – has been a major source of insight about human nature
Hypothesis – an educated guess
Social Psychology Sociology Personality Psychology
- Studies the psychological
process people have in
common with one another
that make them susceptible
to social influence
- Level of analysis:
individual in the context of
a social situation
- Provides general laws and
theories about societies, not
- Broad societal factors that
influence events in a society
- Level of analysis: looks
toward society at large
- Studies the characteristics
that make individuals
unique and different from
one another
Fundamental Error Attribution – the tendency to overestimate the extent to which people’s behavior
stems for internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of situational factors
When we underestimate the power of social security, we experience a feeling of false security
- Writing off people as “crazy” so the rest of us “normal” people believe that bad things couldn’t
happen to us
Gestalt Psychology – a school of psychology stressing the importance of studying the subjective way in
which an object appears in people’s minds, rather than the objective physical attributes of the object
- Gestalt – “the whole”; the whole is different from the sum of its parts
Two Primary Motives
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