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PSYA02H3 (961)
Chapter 15

Final Exam Notes - Chapter 15.docx

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Steve Joordens

CHAPTER 15 – SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Social psychology: branch of psychology that studies our social nature – how the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviours SOCIAL COGNITION: the processes involved in perceiving, interpreting, and acting on social information Schemata and Social Cognition Major task of social psychology is to understand how we first form impressions of others To answer how perceptions thoughts and motives of one person become known to other persons they study: impression formation: the way in which we integrate information about another’s traits into a coherent sense of who the person is Schema Schema: mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information about a person place or thing Central Traits Central traits: personality attributes that organize and influence the interpretation of other traits Central traits impart meaning to other known traits and suggest the presence of other traits that have yet to be revealed Asch’s tests of this focused on the warm/cold trait dimension Those told the person is warm had a more positive view of the person than the others who were told the person was cold. Polite/Blunt did not result in a difference as above and as such are peripheral traits, not central The negative effect of the cold trait is stronger than the positive effect of the warm trait because there is bias towards positivity in impressions of people The Primacy Effect Primacy effect: the tendency to form impressions of people based on the first information we receive about them Webster, Richter and Kruglanski found this was more pronounced for people mentally fatigued than those relatively alert Brown and Bassili – found that when you first encounter someone, for example a firefighter, who talks about their heroic rescue, you associate bravery with them in the future, and if you’re eating a banana at the time, you associate banana with bravery The Self Self concept: self-identity. One’s knowledge, feelings, and ideas about oneself Self: a person’s distinct individuality At the core of self-concept is self-schema: a mental framework that represents and synthesizes information about oneself; a cognitive structure that organizes the knowledge, feelings, and ideas that constitute the self-concept Self concept is dynamic – Markus and Nurius: suggest we should think ourselves as working self-concepts that change through experience Culture and Social Psychology Cross-culture psychology: a branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behaviour If results of a study are replicated through different cultures we can be more confident what has been discovered applies broadly to our species Many cultural psychologists believe basic psychological processes may be universal but that the processes are informed by culture Markus and Kitayama – conceptualized two construals of the self that reflect cultural differences: independent construal and interdependent construal Independent construal are more likely to persist on a task after success while interdependent less likely for those who are difficult to change attempt for more success, those malleable want to improve their deficiencies Well-being in eastern students found to be strongly associated with interpersonal attributes such as friendliness Well-being in western students more strongly associated with individual achievement/success and self reflective emotions such as pride Attribution Attribution: the process by which people infer the causes of other people’s behaviour Disposition versus Situation According to attribution theorists, primary classification we make concerning causes of people’s actions is the relative importance of situational (external) and dispositional (internal) factors External factors: people, events, and other stimuli in an individual’s environment that can affect his or her thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours Internal Factors: an individual’s traits, needs, and intentions, which can affect his or her thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviours Kelley’s Theory of Attribution Kelley suggested we attribute the behaviour of other people to external or internal causes on the basis of three types of information: consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency Consensual behaviour: behaviour that is shared by many people; behaviour that is similar from one person to the next. To the extent that people engage in the same behaviour, their behaviour is consensual Distinctiveness: the extent to which a person behaves differently towards different people, events or other stimuli Consistency: the extent to which a person’s behaviour is consistent across time toward another person, an event, or a stimulus Attributional Biases The Fundamental Attribution Error Fundamental attribution error: the tendency to overestimate the significance of internal factors and underestimate the significance of external factors in explaining other people’s behaviours Jones and Harris – told people to read essays supposedly written by other students, some pro Fidel Castro, some against, and on top of that, half were told the position was assigned, the other half was told it was chosen by the author. Either way, after reading when asked they attributed the view of the essay to be the view of the author Victim-blaming is another example, because people tend to subscribe to a: belief in a just world: the belief that people get what they deserve in life, a fundamental attribution error Actor-observer effect: the tendency to attribute one’s own behaviour to external factors but other’s behaviours to internal factors Jones and Nisbett – reason why we commit this: when we view ourselves, our focus is more clear on the world since we see it clearly, but when viewing others, their behaviours are more dominant Also, since we have more info about our own behaviour we are more likely to see inconsistencies Self-serving bias: the tendency to attribute our accomplishments and successes to internal causes and our failures and mistakes to external causes False Consensus False consensus: the tendency of a person to perceive his or her own response as representative of a general consensus Attribution, Heuristics, and Social Cognition The Representativeness Heuristic Representativeness Heuristic: a general rule for decision making by which people classify a person, place, or thing into the category to which it appears to be the most similar Base-rate fallacy: the failure to consider the likelihood that a person, place, or thing is a member of a particular category on the basis of mathematical probabilities The Availability Heuristic Availability heuristic: a general rule for decision making by which a person judges the likelihood or importance of an even by the ease with which examples of that event come to mind Tversky and Kahneman – demonstrated this by asking people whether there are more English words that start with k than those with the third letter being k, most said there are more words starting with k, when in fact there’s twice as many with the third letter being k This is because thinking of words that start with a letter is easier than thinking of words with the letter in another position Personal encounters tend to have an especially strong effect on our decision making Example – choosing a university based on a Maclean’s guide, then hearing from an acquaintance that it is horrible there. Although, Maclean’s surveys the opinions of many, you are more likely to believe the personal encounter because it is much more available and memorable Social Cognition and Neuroscience Seeks the neurophysiological substrates for social psychological concepts and theories Mirror neurons were found in inferior prefrontal cortex of monkeys by Italien researchers – has prompted models of social cognition Specific mirror neurons fire when the individual performs a task and when they observe another performing a similar action ATTITUDES AND THEIR FORMATION Attitude: an evaluation of persons, places, and things Formation of Attitudes Attitudes have three general components: affect (kinds of feelings a topic arouses), cognition (set of beliefs about a topic) and behaviour (tendency to act in a particular way with respect to a topic) Affective Components of Attitudes Like other emotional reactions, feelings are strongly influenced by direct or vicarious classical conditioning Direct classical conditioning: straightforward, a first encounter with someone being negative, followed by several other negative encounters with them will make your attitude of them negative Vicarious Classical Conditioning: people are skilled at detecting even subtle signs of fear and hatred and other negative emotional states, because of this, children often perceive their parent’s judgements even though they are unspoken. We have a strong tendency to acquire classically conditioned behaviours when we observe them being elicited in other people by the conditional stimulus Mere exposure effect: the formation of a positive attitude toward a person, place, or thing based solely on repeated exposure to that person, place or thing Behavioural Components of Attitudes People do not always behave as their expressed attitudes LaPiere – drove across US with a Chinese couple, and stopped at more than 250 restaurants and lodging places, only refused service once. After, he wrote the places asking if they would serve Chinese people, 92% said no The relation between attitudes and behaviours is influenced by several factors Degree of Specificity If you measure only general attitude toward a topic, you will be less likely to predict their behaviour Example – Weigel, Vernon and Tognacci measured people’s attitudes toward a pure environment, and to sierra night club (supports environmental causes), the attitudes to the first was poor indicator to whether they would volunteer for some people may support environment but hate organized clubs Motivational Relevance Expressing attitude takes less effort than demonstrating Example – Sivacek and Crano demonstrated by asking students to volunteer their time to help campaign against raising the drinking age from 18 to 20. All students were against the law, but only younger students who would be affected volunteered Accessibility This variable is whether the attitude is activated in the context where behavioural consistency is an issue Important quality of accessibility is how quickly it comes to mind when activated Example – Bassili found that each one-second delay in an interviewee’s response to a pre-election question about who they would vote for translated into an 8% mismatch with who they actually will vote for Constraints on Behaviour Existing circumstances prevent behaviours our attitudes would show Example – Guy has very positive attitude to a young woman and when asked, shows a positive attitude towards kissing her, but he doesn’t ever do so for she is not interested in him Attitude Change and Persuasion The message itself and the messenger persuade us to change our attitudes More likely to develop favorable attitud
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