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PSYC 3310 (21)
Chapter 1

Textbook Notes Chapter 1

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PSYC 3310
Jennifer Dobson

Prof Jennifer Dobson – Text:Applied Social Psychology Understanding andAddressing Social and Practical Problems 1 CHAPTER 1 – Defining the field of applied social psychology - Social psychology may be defined as the science that seeks to understand how people think about, feel about, relate to, and influence one another. - The essence of science involves (a) a set of research methods that in combination make up what is known as the scientific method and (b) a foundation of core values. - The scientific method is those that depend on empirical tests, that is, the use of systematic observation to evaluate propositions and ideas.An empirical test of an idea (e.g., people are happier in sunny weather) entails a research study that is (a) set up in such a way as to allow for the idea to be either refuted or supported and (b) conducted so that what is done can be readily evaluated and replicated by other researchers - Essential for scientists to adhere to in their work: o Accuracy: precise, error-free measurement and collection of information (i.e., data) o Objectivity: minimization of bias in data collection and proposition testing o Skepticism: refusing to believe findings and conclusions without rigorous verification o Open-mindedness: readiness to accept as valid evidence that may be inconsistent with one’s initial, and perhaps strongly held, beliefs or theories o Ethics: acceptance of the absolute importance of ethical behavior in conducting research - In science, including social psychology, understanding involves the accomplishment of four goals: description, prediction, determining causality, and explanation - The goal of description entails identifying and reporting the details and nature of a phenomenon, often distinguishing between the classes or types of the phenomenon and recording its frequency of occurrence - The prediction form of understanding requires knowing what factors are systematically related (i.e., correlated) to the phenomenon of interest. - Determining causality between two factors means determining that changes in one factor produce (i.e., cause) changes in the other factor. Just because two factors are related does not necessarily mean that they are causally related - The Formation of Intergroup attitudes -An attitude may be defined as “a person’s overall evaluation of persons (including oneself), objects, and issues” Thus, an intergroup attitude refers to a person’s overall evaluation of members of a group to which the person does not belong. One major area of research in the study of attitudes focuses on understanding how attitudes are formed - Children tend to take on the attitudes of important people around them (e.g., parents, teachers, peers) and that at least part of the explanation is that these people influence the development of such attitudes through the basic principles of learning such as instrumental conditioning, classical conditioning, and observation - Media is also an influential factor Prof Jennifer Dobson – Text:Applied Social Psychology Understanding andAddressing Social and Practical Problems 2 - Social psychologists also have found that people’s attitudes toward other groups may be influenced by the simple fact that they see themselves as members of a particular group - In-group/out-group bias, which means that in-group members tend to evaluate and relate to the in-group favorably and to the out-group less favorably (or unfavorably) - Superordinate goals, that is, goals that are highly appealing to both groups but that can be attained only through their cooperative ef
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