PSYB10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Warren Jeffs, Victim Blaming, Construals

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13 Nov 2012
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PSYB10 FALL2012 | CHAPTER 1 | INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
WHAT IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY?
The heart of social psychology is the phenomenon of social influence
o Influences by people
e.g. persuasion to change one's behavior like advertisement
Social psychology is more than direct social influence
o Social influences extends beyond behavior--- includes thought, feelings and our overt acts
we can be influenced without the physical presences of people
e.g. wanting others to be proud of us
Social psychology - study of the way in which people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the
real or imagined presence of other people
THE POWER OF SOCIAL INTERPRETATION
Social psychology is distinct from other disciplines
o understands how people are influenced by their construal - the way in which people perceive,
comprehend, and interpret the social world
o construal is important, has wide ramifications:
e.g. using DNA test to convince the jury that the suspect is guilty -> construal process produce
different outcomes
E.g. ross lee's reasearch on Israeli and Palestinian negotiators (p.6)
A construal called "naïve realism"- knowing that both side perceives an issue differently,
and think that their perception is objective while other side's bias
Social psychology is an experimental based science
o Use systematic experiments rather than using common sense
o Scientists' goals are too answer questions e.g. what cause two people to love each other?
SOME ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL INFLUENCE
Question: why people behave the way they did? Answer: ask that person
o Problem: people are not always aware of the origins of their own responses
1. Folk wisdom
o Commentary of journalists, social critics and novelists refer to as fold wisdom/common sense
o Usually underestimate, oversimplify a situation -> turn out to be wrong
o Problem with relying entirely on such source: disagree with one another, and there is no easy way of
determining which of them is correct
o e.g. folk wisdom on factors that influence how much we like other people
Simplest example we come up with: "we like people with same backgrounds and interest" or "
opposites (with different backgrounds and interest )attract " BUT WHOSE RIGHT??
o Not reliable because people tend to not learn from previous incidents
e.g. followers of warren Jeffs - the person who married young virgin girls (sent by
parents=followers) and claimed that he had orders from god to do that -> he was arrested for
sexual assault
People then blame: usually blame victims first for their stupidity
Blaming: no understanding the complexity of situation that cause the event
2. Philosophy
o Even Great thinkers can find themselves in disagreement with one another : sometimes philosopher A
is right, in other situations B is right, so whose right??
o Social psychologist look at these questions scientifically, to find out : when a logic works and when it
does not work
Hypothesis - make educated guesses about specific situations under which one outcome or other
would occur
Then test it out by using sophisticated experiements
o Major reason of conflicting philosophical positions : the world is complicated, small dif make dif
effects
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY COMPAPRED WITH SOCIOLOGY
Share disciplines: concerned with influence of social and societal factors on human behavior
Difference:
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