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PSYA02H3 (932)
John Bassili (149)
Chapter 15


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University of Toronto Scarborough
John Bassili

CHAPTER 15: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Social psychology the branch of psychology that studies our social nature how the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other influences out thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The most important people in our lives shape our emotions, thoughts, and personalities. Social Cognition Social cognition the processes involved in perceiving, interpreting, and acting on social information. Schemata and Social Cognition All of use form impressions of others, virtually everyone we meet as well as many we have not met and only through casual observation or the reports of others. A major task of social psychology is to understand how we form these impressions. Impression formation the way in which we integrate information about anothers traits into a coherent sense of who the person is. As noted by Solomon Asch more than half a century ago, our impression of others are formed by more complex rules than just a simple sum of the characteristics that we use to describe people. www.notesolution.com Schema: Schema a mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information about a person, place, or things. Schemata aid us in interpreting the world. Ex: the first time you visited a professor in his or her office, the schema that you have of your professor guided your interactions with him or her. Central Traits: Asch proposed that certain traits, called central traits, organize and influence our understanding of other traits a person possesses to a greater extent than do other traits. Central traits impart meaning to other known traits and suggest the presence of yet others traits that have yet to be revealed. Asch experiment: he provided all participants with a list of traits that were said to describe someone. Some participants were told that the person was also warm and others were told that the person was also cold. Overall, those who heard the word warm, formed positive impressions about the character of the imaginary person than those who heard the trait cold. The negative influence of the cold trait is stronger than the positive influence of the warm trait. Gender differences have also been found. The Primacy Effect: Primacy effect the tendency to form impressions of people based on the www.notesolution.com first information we receive about them. To some extent, the primacy effect reflects greater attention to trait information presented early than to that presented late. Webster, Richter, and Kruglanski found that the primacy effect was more pronounced for participants who were mentally fatigued than for those who were relatively alert. We develop these lists ourselves, how? A: as we observe what a person does and says, we purposefully think about what those behaviours reveal about his or her personal qualities. Brown and Bassili suggested that people may generate trait-like labels from observing a persons behavior. These labels then become automatically associated in memory with whatever stimulus happens to have been around at the same time. B and B showed that trait labels from behavioural descriptions may become associated with almost any stimulus, including inanimate ones. The Self Self-concept self-identity, ones knowledge, feelings, and ideas about oneself. The self is a persons distinct individuality. Your self-concept, then, is your self-identity how you perceive yourself and interpret events that are relevant to defining who you are. At the core of the self-concept is the 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. The self-concept is dynamic it changes with experience. www.notesolution.com Ex: people who had not yet recovered from the traumatic event predicted that they would be unhappy and lonely. While people in the recovered group predicted just the opposite: happy, self-confident, and having many friends. Thinking of ourselves only in terms of who we are at the present does not accurately reflect how we will think of ourselves in the future or the kind of person we might become. Culture and Social Psychology: Cross-cultural psychology a branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on behavior. The term culture traditionally referred to a group of people who live together in a common environment, who share customs and religious beliefs and practices, and who often resemble each other genetically. Now, definitions of culture vary widely. Within a broadly defined culture, we can identify subcultures based on ethnicity, age, political beliefs, and other characteristics by which people define themselves. Cultures differ with respect to 2 major classes of variables: biological and ecological. Biological variables include such factors as diet, genetics, and endemic diseases. Ecological variables include such factors as geography, climate, political systems, population density, religion, cultural myths, and education. Behavioural differences among people of different cultures result from differences in biological and ecological variables. In cross-cultural research, culture is considered to be a treatment variable something like an independent variable. But cultures, like people, differ in many ways, and people are born into their cultures. www.notesolution.com
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