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
o Guards 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
- Seminarians as Samaritans: Being in a hurry is such a powerful situational
factor that it prevents people from helping.
o Seminarians 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.
o For 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
confront. o For example, if we think a person walking by is a terrorist, we will
respond to him as if he is a terrorist, even if he is not a terrorist.
- Gesalt Psychology: “The whole is greater than the sum of parts.” The
entire image will lead to unconscious interpretation of the object, which
individual objects in the image will not bring. For example, Kanizsa triangle.
- Prisoner’s dilemma: two criminals when arrested, either cooperate with an
alibi (don’t confess to the crime) or defect (confess to the crime, in hope of
o People defect because they will get paid 80 cents if they defect and
the other prisoner cooperates. They hope that the other prisoner
cooperates so they can get the most money possible. If both cooperate
with the alibi, they will only get 40 cents, which is less than 80 cents. If
they both defect, then none of the prisoners get anything. (see the
figure in the textbook)
- Schema: generalized knowledge of how to behave with different people in
different situations for example, schemas of good vs. corrupt politicians.
- Stereotypes: Schemas that we have for people sharing a common identity
example religion, race, gender, etc.
- Automatic processes: based on schemas/ stereotypes, etc; give rise to
implicit attitudes (unconscious) example, when presented wi