Social Psychology PSYC*2310
Text: Social Psychology, Sanderson & Safdar
- Every man is a part of the main, no man is an island.
- We are interconnected beings that depend on our connections for survival.
- Social psychology seeks to understand social connecttiond and hoe they influence and
are influenced by what we think, feel and do
Thoughts influencesSOCIAL WORLD & influences thoughts
Feelings influences SOCIAL WORLD &influences feelings
Behaviours influences SOCIAL WORLD &influences behaviours
- Social psych also studies how we explain others & our own behaviours. Behaviours are
“Social psychology is an attempt to understand how the thoughts feelings and behaviours of
individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human
- Single perspectives are anecdotal (subjective or unreliable) and limited.
- Social psychology uses scientific inquiry, meaning it:
1. Collects accurate, error free information
2. Is objective, and bias-free
3. Is empirically collected (collected by using the senses ex. Observation)
4. Gathers information following the scientific method, a systematic procedure
- Scientific method: technique for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge,
and correcting previous knowledge
- Hypothesis: a (educated guess) testable prediction about conditions under which an
event will occur. This helps us to find objective answers.
Fun facts from studies:
- Bronze medal winners are happier than silver medal winners - Adolescents of a high income family report more anxiety, and higher rates of depression
and substance abuse than adolescents from lower income families.
- Men are more interested in casual sex than women. Men have a very low risk factor
when having sex, because unlike women, they do not run the risk of pregnancy or death
by giving birth. Therefore, biologically, women are less interested in casual sex because
of the high risk potential situations.
3 Focuses of Social Psych
1. How we think about ourselves
2. How we think, feel and act in the social world
3. How attitudes and behaviours shape the social world
HOW WE THINK ABOUT OURSELVES: SELF PERCEPTION
- Self-perception: the way we think of ourselves. Its influenced by our socio-cultural
Ex. Youre voted “best dressed award” “I like my style”
- Self-presentation: the way we present our self-perception to others
Ex. “I like my style” wears certain clothes, buys cars to convey this belief
HOW WE THINK, FEEL & ACT IN THE SOCIAL WORLD
- Social perception: how we and others form impressions and make inferences about
others and events. It is how we make up our minds with ideas, and this is done easily
- Social cognition: a type of social perception: how we think about the social world, and
how we select and use information to pass judgement and make decisions.
- Heuristics: rules of thumb
- Social influence: impact of others attitudes and behaviours on our thoughts, feelings,
Ex. Advertising, very direct.
- Social psychology also analyzes perceptions, because we act based on what we believe
Ex. Not asking questions in class “they will think I’m stupid”
- Perceptions affect us whether they are accurate or not
HOW OUR ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUS SHAPE THE SOCIAL WORLD
- Self-fulfilling Prophecy: occur when our expectations about a person lead them to act in
ways that confirm our beliefs Ex. “He is so mean” act rudely to him because you expect rudeness “why is she so
rude” he acts mean because of her rudeness her belief is confirmed “I was right”
EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
- Rooted in North American and European society
- Began in the 20 century, with the 1 ever text book written by Floyd Allport (1924)
that focused on:
2. Gestalt psychology: human mind and behaviour as a whole, and not composed of
3. Historical events Ex. Holocaust and nazi behaviour (What made them do it?)
- 20th century behaviourism: only based on measurable data to remain scientific
- Thoughts and feelings were considered immeasurable, so the impact of positive and
negative events on behaviour was studied. This is the essence of behaviourism.
- Behaviourism: is a learning theory that describes peoples behaviour as accuired through
Rewarded behaviour continues
Punished behaviour ends conditioning
GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY: WHOLE FORM (GERMAN)
- Contrasting behaviourism, gestalt psychology emphasizes how things are constructed in
our minds, and not just how things appear to influence people.
- Focus: interpretations, cognitive processes
- Kurt Lewin: founder of modern social psych, he focused on:
1. role of social perception
2. group dynamics
3. contributing factors to stereotypes and prejudice
- Muzafer Sherif: Turkish, phD in psych, studied group influence, group coperations’
reduction on intergroup conflict
- Stanley Milgram: social psychologist of the 1960s , he studied authority and pbedience
after experiencing Nazi Germany. - Psychologists emergence around war time created focus on negative behaviours. Now
increasingly more focus is on positive behaviours.
- Positive psychology 1998: focuses on other’s strengths and virtues. its rooted in
humanistic psychology that focuses on individual potential and fulfillment. Researchers
examine traits that are associated with like satisfaction and predictors of healthy human
functioning. Interventions are then designed to improve well-being.
SOCIAL PSYCH, COMMON SENSE?
- Common sense is variable, depending on context, location etc.
- Hindsight bias: tendency to see given outco