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PSYCH 253 (36)
Chapter 1

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Steve Spencer

Chapter 1 Introducing Social PsychologySocial psychology is a science that studies the influences of our situations with special attention to how we view and affect one another It is the scientific study of how people think about influence and relate to one anotherSocial psychology is the scientific study of Social thinking Social influence Social relationsHow we perceiveCulture and biologyHelping ourselves and othersWhat we believePressures to conformAggressionJudgments we makePersuasionAttraction and intimacy Our attitudesGroups of peoplePrejudice Some examples of social psychology questionsHow much of our social world is just in our headseg hostility Would you be cruel if orderedeg Nazi able to slaughter 6 million JewsTo help others Or to help yourselfeg returning money or taking for yourself Social psychologists study attitudes and beliefs conformity and independence love and hate Major Themes in Social Psychology 1 We construct our social realityWe humans have an irresistible urge to explain behaviour to attribute it to some cause and therefore to make it seem orderly predictable and controllable2 Our social intuitions are often powerful but sometimes perilous Our intuitions shape our fears impressions and relationships Thinking memory and attitudes all operate on two levelsone conscious and deliberate the other unconscious and automatic Dual ProcessingOur social intuitions are noteworthy for both their power and their perils3 Social influences shape our behaviour Your culture helps define your situation your standards regarding promptness frankness and clothing vary with your culture Our behaviour is shaped by external forces 4 Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape behaviour Internal forces also matter Our inner attitudes affect our behaviour eg our political attitudes influence our voting behavioursPersonality dispositions also affect behaviourfacing the same situation different people may react differently5 Social behaviour is biologically rootedWe are sensitive and responsive to our social context Social neuroscientists point is to understand social behaviour we must consider both undertheskin biological and betweenskins social influences6 Relating to others is a basic needKip Williams and his colleagues have shown that feeling left out can have dramatic effects on how people feel about themselves In this view relating to others is a basic need that shapes all of our social actions
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