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Chapter 1

PSY220H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Illusory Contours, Fundamental Attribution Error, Natural Selection

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Emily Impett

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Chapter 1: An Invitation to Psychology
- Social Psychologists study situations in which people exert influence over one
another ex. Zimbardo’s stimulated study: Guards exerted control on the
oGuards and prisoners were students who were assigned those roles.
The “guards” started treating “prisoners” badly because of their
understanding of how prisoners should be treated.
-Distal factors affecting psychology: evolutionary forces and cultures used
to explain human behaviours-> people in different cultures behave
- A person’s behaviour is affected by social situations (by actions or presence
of other people) ex. We behave differently when we are alone versus in a
party, etc.
-Seminarians as Samaritans: Being in a hurry is such a powerful situational
factor that it prevents people from helping.
oSeminarians were chosen as subjects and they were assigned to 2
groups. One group was told that they were late for their speech that
they had to conduct on Good Conduct and the other group was told
that they have a lot of time until their speech starts. When they were
walking to the location of the lecture, they saw someone in need of
help. People who were in hurry did not help but people who weren’t
-Channel factors: Situational circumstances that appear unimportant on the
surface but that can have great consequences for behaviour, facilitating or
blocking it or guiding behaviour in a particular direction.
oFor Example, students were told that they should get a particular
vaccine, some were not given a map to the closest location and others
were given a map to the closest location and the route to be taken was
also described to them. Giving a map and a route to the closest
location increased the chances of the students getting the vaccine.
-Dispositions: internal factors, such as beliefs, values, personality traits or
abilities that guide a person’s behaviour.
-Fundamental Attribution Error: failure to recognize external factors and
overemphasizing internal factors on behaviour.
-Construal: interpretation or inference about the situations or stimuli we
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