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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Andrew Robinson

Psych*2310: Social Psychology 1 Chapter 1: What is Social Psychology Social Psychology: The scientific study of how people’s thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours are influenced by factors in the social world How we think about ourselves : how we think about ourselves  Specifically how out views of ourselves change with the environment Self-presentation: how people work to convey certain images of themselves to others.  Many strategies to presenting ourselves to others, cars, clothes, etc. How we think, feel and act in the Social World  Social perception: how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people and events in the social world o We form impressions easily and frequently o We often make mistakes when we are assessing the cause of someone else’s behaviour—usually focus too much on personal factors and not enough on situational  Fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overestimate the role of personal causes, and underestimate the role of situational causes in predicting behaviour.  Social cognition: 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 people’s attitudes and behaviours on our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviour How our Attitudes and Behaviours Shape the Social World Self-fufilling prophecy: the process by which peoples expectation about a person lead them to elicit behaviour that confirms these expectations  Leads people to confirm any beliefs they already have, hard to disprove these How Has Social Psychology Evolved over time? Behaviourism: a theory of learning that describes people’s behaviour as acquired through conditioning  Still influential in social psych—ignores that role of people’s thoughts, feelings, and attitudes and is too simplistic to explain other behaviours. Gestalt psychology: a theory that proposes objects are viewed holistic  Look at the whole object and how it appears in peoples minds rather than the specific parts of it Historical Events  Many psychologists fled from Germany because of the Nazis’—made them interested in group influence etc.  Racial segregation also played role of social psychologists in the US- served as expert witnesses on how it should be accomplished Positive Psychology: A recent branch of psychology that studies individual’s strengths and virtues Hindsight Bias: the tendency to see a given outcome as inevitable once the actual outcome is known How is Social Psychology Connected to Other Fields? Links to Fields Within Psychology Personality Psychology  Focused on the role of individual differences—explain how different people feel and behave in distinct ways  Social psychologists examine how different people react to different situations in distinct ways—focuses on aspects of personality in influencing behaviour in a situation. Clinical Psychology  Diagnosing and trwating mental health problems—focuses on understanding and treating people with psychological disorders  Social psychology examines issues relevant to it—looks at how presence of skinny people in media can influence women;s attitudes about their own body which may contribute to eating disorders. Cognitive Psychology  Examines mental processes  Social
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