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PSYC 2310
Saba Safdar

Social PsychologyChapter 1 What is social psychology Is about understanding our social connections to each otherhow they influence and are influenced by what we think feel and do The scientific study of how peoples thoughts feelings and behaviour are influenced by factors in the social world social psychologists study how people explain their own and other peoples behaviour attributions how people influence others persuasion and how people connect with each other attraction Gordon W Allport 1954 defined social psych as an attempt to understand and explain how the thought feelings and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual imagined or implied presence of other human beings There are many ways to try to understand and to present any phenomenom through artistic perspective a documentary approach folk wisdom or a scientific inquiryo Social psych explains phenomenon by using scientific inquiry This includes a commitment to collecting accurate and errorfree information a commitment to objectivity and collecting data that are free of bias a commitment to verifying information empirically Social psychologists follow the scientific method research method for investigating phenomena acquiring new knowledge and evaluating and integrating previous knowledgeo Form a hypothesis educated guess about the relationship between events and then examine the accuracyScientific method a technique for investigating phenomena acquiring new knowledge andor correcting previous knowledge Hypothesis a testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur Social psychology a scientific study of the way in which a persons thoughts feelings and behaviours are influenced by the real imagined or implied presence of others Selfperception how we think about ourselves Our views of ourselves depend on our sociocultural environment Selfpresentation how people work to convey certain images of themselves to others Social perception how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people and events in the social world Social cognition a type of social perception that describes how we think about the social world and in particular how we select interpret and use information to make judgements about the world Social influence the impact of other peoples attitudes and behaviours on our thoughts feelings and behaviouro Can be direct eg advertising messages or subtleo Peoples thoughts feelings and behaviour are influenced not only by what other people think or do but also by what they imagine other people think or do social psychology also examines the impact of events including thoughtscognitive events on our attitudes and behaviours Selffulfilling prophecythe process by which peoples expectations about a person lead them to elicit behaviour that confirms these expectations Historyo First social psychology textbook was written by Floyd Allport 1924o Early research in social psychology was influenced by 3 major factors behaviourism Gestalt psychology and historical eventso Social psychology is deeply rooted in the intellectual and cultural environment of North America and to a lesser extent European societies Behaviourisma theory of learning that describes peoples behaviour as acquired through conditioningo Describes peoples behaviour as being determined in a very straightforward wayo Behaviour that was followed by a reward would continuea process referred to as conditioningo Behaviour followed by punishment would not Shown in work with animals eg BF Skinner trained pigeons to turn in a circle nod and play pianoo The behaviourist approach explains some behaviour but ignores the role of peoples thoughts feelings and attitudestherefore it is too simplistic to explain other behaviour Gestalt Psychologya theory that proposes objects are viewed holisticallyo Influence of peoples perceptions of objects and events in the world not simply their objective appearanceo Means whole formo Emphasized the importance of looking at the whole object and how it appeared in peoples minds as opposed to looking at specific objective parts of the objecto Focuses on how people interpret their surroundings and the cognitive processing that is involved in peoples interpretationso Key idea is that we sometimes experience more than what is supplied by our sensory perceptionif we see a series of images in quick succession we perceive a moving image not a series of static oneso Kurt Lewin the founder of modern social psychologywas trained in the Gestalt approach Jewish in German Army in WWIo Had a keen sense of the importance of perception in determining attitudes and behaviourhe offered one of the earliest theories in cognitive social psychologyo Research focused on the role of social perception in influencing peoples behaviour the nature of group dynamics and the factors contributing to stereotypic and prejudice Historical eventso Influenced other young socialpsychologistso Muzafer Sherifoutspoken opposition to Nazi movement during WWII led to his imprisionment in a Turkish prisonReleased following complaints from American collegueso Carried out studies on group influencein particular on how introducing tasks that required cooperation between groups cold reduce group conflicto Stanley Milgramconducted series of experiments demonstrating the powerful role of authority in leading obedience Nazi Germanyo Has been used to explain many realworld events including mistreatment of prisoners during times of waro Much of the early work in social psychology focused on explaining behaviour that might be regarded as problematic such as aggression stereotyping and prejudice and misplaced obedience to authorityo Has also focused on positive behaviour such as altruism attraction and leadership
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