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Chapter 1

PSYC 2310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Muzafer Sherif, Kurt Lewin, How We Think


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2310
Professor
Jeffrey Yen
Chapter
1

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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
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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
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