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Chapter 1

PSYC 2310 Chapter 1 notes.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 2310
Professor
Jeffrey Yen
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 1 – Introduction to Psychology WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY? Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour are influenced by factors in the social world. Social psychologists study how people explain their own and other people’s behaviour (attributions), how people influence others (persuasion), and how people connect with each other (attraction). USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD The scientific method is a technique for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, and/or correcting previous knowledge.  This process helps us find objective answers to questions about why people think, feel, and behave as they do. HOW WE THINK ABOUT OURSELVES: Also known as self-perception.  Example: many students arrive at University feeling rather good about themselves because they were good at something and when they see how groups are divided, they may not feel quite as good about themselves. Self-presentation – how people work to convey certain images of themselves to others.  Example: the car we drive, the model of cell phone we own, etc., convey information about our habits, interests and resources. HOW WE THINK, FEEL, AND ACT INT HE SOCIAL WORLD Social perception – how people form impressions of and makes inferences about other people and events in the social world. Social cognition (type of social perception) – how we think about the social world, and in particular how we select, interpret, and use information to make judgements about the world.  Example – expensive restaurants serve better food than cheap restaurants. Social influence – the impact of other people’s attitudes and behaviours on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.  Example: advertising messages influence attitudes and behaviours. HOW OUR ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR SHAPE THE SOCIAL WORLD Self-fulfilling prophecy – the process by which people’s expectation about a person lead them to elicit behaviour that confirms these expectations. BEHAVIOURISM  It is a theory of learning that describes people’s behaviour as acquired through conditioning.  Children who watch movies where people are smoking are more likely to form positive attitudes toward smoking.  It ignores the role of people’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes and therefore is too simplistic to explain other behaviour. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY  This sub-discipline is a theory that proposes objects are viewed holistically.  In German, it means “whole form”.  Gestalt is in sharp contrast to behaviourism as it focused on how people interpret their surroundings and the cognitive processing that was involved in people’s interpretations.  Key idea – we sometimes experience more than what is supplied by our sensory perception.  Kurt Lewin – trained in the Gestalt approach and considered the founder of modern social psychology. HISTORICAL EVENTS  Muzafer Sherif – studied group influence and how introducing tasks that required cooperation between groups could reduce group conflict.  Stanley Milgram – conducted experiments demonstrating the powerful role of authority in leading to obedience  Much of the early work in social psychology focused on explaining behaviour that might be regarded as problematic.  Positive psychology – a recent branch of psychology that studies individuals’ strengths and virtues. o Roots are in humanistic psychology, which has a focus on individual potential and fulfillment. o It is not about finding what is wrong with a person, but rather aims to improve and fulfill normal people’s lives. **Bottom of page 11. THE “I KNOW IT ALL ALONG” PROBLEM  Hindsight bias – the tendency to see a given outcome as inevitable once the actual outcome is known.  “Opposites attract” is believable as well as “birds of a feather, flock together” Understanding gender differences on sexual behaviour:  Men are interested in buying sex because sex is largely a no-cost proposition for men.  For women, the potential cost of sex is high – pregnancy, childrearing, etc., so they are interested in using sex to gain other resources.  The view of sex as a resource that is “bought” by men and “sold” by women explains a number of gender differences in sexual attitudes and behaviour, including the significant gender imbalance in prostitution. EMPHASIS ON CRITICAL THINKING  Don’t just casually believe what you read or hear, but really think about the information and whether there may be alternative explanations for a phenomenon.  There is an association between wealth and happiness – do happy people make more money, or does having more money make people happier?  Happy people engage in certain behavi
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