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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Course Code
Elizabeth Page- Gould

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Chapter 1: Introduction To Psychology
Social influence extends beyond behaviorit includes our thoughts and feelings as well as our
overt acts
Social Psychology: the scientific study of the way in which peoples thoughts, feelings, and
behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people
The Power of Social Interpretation:
Social psychology is distinct:
oPrimarily because it is concerned not so much with the social situations in any objective
sense, but rather with how people are influenced by their interpretation, or construal, of
their social environment
oSocial psychology is an experimentally based science that tests its assumptions, guesses,
and ideas about the human social behavior empirically and systematically.
Construal: the way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world.
Some Alternative Ways of Understanding Social influence:
Folk Wisdom:
oJournalists, social critics, and novelists use folk wisdom to describe social situations,
however there is no easy way to determine which is correct
oExample: Solar Temple (mass suicidecult members killed themselves at the request of
their leader), Jonestown massacre (mass suicide—killed themselves and children at the
request of leader by drinking cyanide and kool-aid)
Tasks of the social psychologist is to make educated guesses (hypotheses)
Social psychologists perform experiments to test hypothesis about the nature of the social
Social psychologists design experiments sophisticated enough to demonstrate the specific
situations under which one or the other applies
Social Psychology Compared with Sociology:
Social Psychology is rooted in the an interest in individual human beings, with an emphasis on
the psychological processes going on in their hearts and mind
The major difference: sociology rather than focusing on the psychology of the individual,
tends toward a more macro focus—that of a society at large. Sociologists, like social
psychologists, are interested in aggressive behavior, but sociologists are more likely to be
concerned with why a particular society produces different levels and types of aggression in its
The goal of social psychology is to identify universal properties of human nature that make
everyone susceptible to social influence regardless of social class or culture
Social Psychology Compared with Personality Psychology:
Individual Differences: the aspects of peoples personalities that make them different from
other people.
Social psychologists are convinced that explaining behavior primarily in terms of personality
factors ignores a critical part of the story: the powerful role played by social influence
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