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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Introduction to Social Psychology

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PSYC 260
Janelle Jones

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 situation - 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 incidents Philosophy – has been a major source of insight about human nature Hypothesis – an educated guess Social Psychology Sociology Personality Psychology - Studies the psychological - Provides general laws and - Studies the characteristics process people have in theories about societies, not that make individuals common with one another individuals unique and different from that make them susceptible - Broad societal factors that one another to social influence influence events in a society - Level of analysis: - Level of analysis: looks individual in the context of toward society at large a social situation 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 THE POWER OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE 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 1. The need to be accurate – to see the world as it actually is; as seen in social cognition 2. The need to feel good about ourselves – the self-esteem approach o Self-esteem – people’s evaluations of their own self-worth; the extent to which they view themselves as good, competent, and decent *people often choo
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